Sleek, fuel—efficient Super Eagle is No. 1 in state

Sleek, fuel—efficient Super Eagle is No. 1 in state

The Golden Eagle team stands next to their top-ranked vehicle.

Supermileage team members (l-r) Tina Yu, Marilyn Phen, Sam Samayoa, Jeff Michaels, Frank Almeida, Sergio Mendoza, Brian Choi, Chaumont Pham-Le, and Neil Lau pose with their fuel-efficient vehicle.

Achieving 1,092 miles per gallon, Cal State L.A.’s student-built supermileage vehicle, Super Eagle, placed third in the recent Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage national competition in Marshall, Michigan.

The Super Eagle — one of only two California vehicles to make the finals — outperformed 42 college entries in the competition, including those from UCLA, Pennsylvania State University and other institutions from throughout the U.S., Canada, India and Bahrain. The last time the University placed in the competition was in 2003-04 when the team achieved first place in the nation and second in the world with 1,615-miles-per-gallon vehicle. For more about the competition, read the University’s news release.


A new wave in sustainability research

A team of five Cal State L.A. faculty members are trekking across new ground, establishing a multidisciplinary center of science and technology research focused on energy and sustainability.

Portrait of Frank Gomez.
Frank Gomez
Portrait of Crist Khachikian.
Crist Khachikian

Portrait of Feimeng Zhou.
Feimeng Zhou
Portrait of Darrell Guillaume.
Darrell Guillaume

Portrait of Trinh Pham.
Trinh Pham

The Center for Energy and Sustainability (CEaS), funded with a five-year $5 million Centers for Research Experience in Science and Technology grant from the National Science Foundation, was awarded to the University and Civil Engineering Professor Crist Khachikian in August. Khachikian will work alongside fellow faculty, Frank Gomez and Feimeng Zhou, of chemistry, and Darrell Guillaume and Trinh Pham, of mechanical engineering, to research and address the three cornerstones of energy sustainability: diversity in energy sources, efficiency in energy use, and long-term sustainability.

“I saw this as an excellent opportunity to bring together faculty from a range of disciplines to collaborate,” Khachikian said. “There is a lot of interest in the area of alternative energy, technology and sustainability… and I think that this is going to be a very lucrative area for our students.”

CEaS-CREST is the second NSF-funded research center on campus. The CEA-CREST, focused on environmental sciences, was started under Biological Sciences Professor Carlos Robles in 1999.


Awards and Accolades

CSULA students take top honors (again!)

Fourteen graduate students from Cal State L.A. were selected as Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholars during the system-wide competition for the 2009-10 academic year. Two hundred and fifty-eight students from the 23 CSU campuses applied for the award and 70 students were selected. Cal State L.A.’s 14-student contingent represents, for the second consecutive year in a row, the largest group of students from any of the CSU campuses to be selected for the award.

Sally Casanova Scholars receive $3,000, which they can use for travel expense to visit doctoral-granting institutions, to attend professional conferences, and to pay application fees and the Graduate Records Exam. Since 1998, more than 130 students from Cal State L.A. have been recognized as Sally Casanova scholars. 

Access and Excellence

The University was recently listed as No. 29 in Diverse: Issues in Higher Education’s “Top 100”national list of colleges and universities that conferred the most bachelor’s degrees to minority students in 2007-08, based on data from the U.S. Department of Education.

In a separate listing by disciplines, the University ranked No. 1 nationally in awarding bachelor’s degrees in public administration and social service to Hispanic students. The University was also a top-ranking institution in awarding bachelor’s degrees in public administration and social service to Asian American and minority students.

Nursing student earns $10,000 CSU award

Portrait of Araciel Juarez.

Cal State L.A. nursing student Araciel Juarez was selected as the Trustee Ali C. Razi Scholar for 2009. The scholarship, created by Trustee Emeritus of the CSU Board of Trustees Ali C. Razi, recognizes the top scoring recipient of the William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement.

As the recipient of this most prestigious honor, Juarez received a $10,000 scholarship. Congratulations!

In nominating Juarez for the CSU Trustees’ honor, Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser wrote: “As you review Ms. Juarez’s background, a portrait emerges of a young woman intently focused on serving the health-care needs of others, particularly those of children whose lives are traumatized by poverty. To this steadfast commitment is coupled a clearly demonstrated aptitude for excellent academic achievement.

“Her ability to maintain this high level of earnestness and educational excellence is even more remarkable when consideration is given to the intense family challenges she has faced, including becoming a mother at 15,” wrote Rosser. “I am confident that her continuing academic success will lead her to help positively redirect the lives of many others and, in so doing, help transform her community.”

Innovation, education go hand-in-hand

The University was one of 10 two- and four-year colleges and universities in the United States to receive a highly competitive 2009 Hewlett-Packard (HP) Innovations in Education grant. The grant is designed to address the need for more students to pursue and complete high-quality, high-tech undergraduate degree programs in engineering, computer science, information systems and information technology.

The HP Innovations in Education award package includes HP technology, cash, and professional services valued at more than $260,000. For more on the reward, read the University’s news release.


Budget cuts create a new, challenging reality

The diminished condition of the state’s economy has created several hard realities for the CSU and for Cal State L.A. Over the next two fiscal years, the University is facing about a 10 percent cut in its overall budget and preparing for a 9.5 percent decrease in enrollment — equivalent to nearly 2,000 students. These drastic and historic cuts are a direct result of the state’s precipitous drop in revenues and funding for higher education.

To cope with these cuts, the CSU Trustees enacted student-fee increases (student fees are still the lowest of comparable institutions). They also furloughed most CSU employees for two days a month (not all unions accepted furloughs). Announcements of upcoming closure days can be found on the University’s homepage

Even in these difficult times, the University is committed to serving as many students as possible, while preserving this institution’s values and resources. As President James M. Rosser said in his address to faculty this fall: “These are tough, very tough times… But we will not walk away from our legacy of access and diversity, with excellence. The commitment to these things will not only endure, it will be enhanced.”



  • A Survivor’s Tale - Feb. 24 Leon Leyson ’58, saved during the Holocaust by German businessman Oskar Schindler (Schindler’s List), will be visiting campus to share his experiences in a free program open to students and members of the community. Leyson will discuss his journey from being a 10-year-old Holocaust survivor to being a treasured Los Angeles teacher for 39 years.

    His visit is sponsored through the Jewish American Experiences component of the University’s American Communities Program, which is dedicated to the interdisciplinary exploration of individual and communal identities in American society.

  • Latino Heritage Series Celebrating and sharing the rich customs of the Latino community are three special events:

  • Salsa Concert - Nov. 21 Larry Harlow returns to the Luckman Theatre after his successful 2008 inaugural concert with the University’s Afro-Latin Ensemble. Enjoy the rhythms of salsa music as Harlow, a Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, plays alongside Cal State L.A. students and other renowned guest artists. Tickets: (323) 343-6600.

  • Mariachi Competition - Feb. 20 High school and college mariachi bands will perform in one of the area’s first competitions. Mariachi, although played throughout Mexico and the American Southwest, does not yet have a consistent judging method. The goal of the event is to both build appreciation for mariachi and help establish a gold standard for judging such performances. Call: (323) 343-4060

  • Reel Rasquache Film Festival - May 2010 Now in its seventh year, this event, which was the first forum in the West Coast to focus exclusively on the U.S. Latino experience in filmmaking, continues to grow in popularity. The three-day festival features screenings in all formats and genres, including webisodes, multimedia/spoken-word performances and live music. Festival honorees have included Luis Valdez (2009), Franc. Reyes (2008), Wilmer Valderrama (2007) and Lupita Tovar (2006).

    For more information on any of these events, please call (323) 343-3075.