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Research Mentor News, May 2019

Your Feedback Is Needed: Participate in the HERI Survey

By now, you and many of your students have received an invitation to participate in a survey administered by the Coordination and Evaluation Center and the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) at UCLA. We ask for your support in responding to the survey and spreading the word so we can improve mentoring programs and strategies at CSULB and nationwide.
Faculty members who complete the survey will receive a $25.00 Amazon gift certificate. Please click here to participate. This link is for the faculty survey only. Students have been sent a student-only link, as well.
Your (and your students’) feedback will help CSULB better meet the needs of its students and faculty. So please help us out and complete the survey as soon as you can.

BUILD Trainees Are Making Waves

BUILD trainees – past and present – are experiencing success in their research career because of the program and your mentorship. Here is a list of recent BUILD trainees’ accomplishments.

National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships

  • Rhea-Comfort Akuah Addo, 2015 Scholar Cohort, currently attending University of California San Diego, mentored by Dr. Kelly Young
  • Jordan Ngo, 2016 Associate Cohort, currently attending California State University-Long Beach, mentored by Dr. Deepali Bhandari
  • Patricia S. Pittman, 2015 Associates Cohort & 2016 Scholar Cohort, currently attending Ohio State University, mentored by Dr. Isabella Lanza

CSULB Outstanding Graduates

  • Jairo Maldanado, 2015 Associates Cohort & 2016 Scholar Cohort, mentored by Dr. Panadda Marayong
  • Jordan Ngo, 2016 Associate Cohort, mentored by Dr. Deepali Bhandari
  • Wilma Figueroa, 2016 Associate Cohort & 2017 Scholar Cohort, mentored by Drs. Niloo Bavarian and Selena Nguyen-Rodriguez

NOTE: The following list of summer internships is incomplete for some BUILD trainees are still waiting to hear back from the programs to which they applied.

Summer Internships

  • Adan Arizmendi, California State University, Fullerton (Overseas Location: Fundacion Instituto Leloir in Argentina), mentored by Dr. Jason Schwans
  • Brady Carbajal, University of California Irvine, mentored by Dr. Evan Schick
  • Sydney Carpentier, University of New Mexico, mentored by Dr. William Pedersen
  • Lizbeth Castillo Monterrosa, University of Texas, El Paso, mentored by Dr. Caitlin Fouratt
  • Alexis Castro, University of California Irvine, mentored by Dr. Yada Treesukosol
  • Julissa Duran, University of Southern California, mentored by Dr. Gino Galvez
  • Alyssa Gimenez, University of California Irvine, mentored by Dr. Douglas Pace
  • Adriana Hernandez Vasquez, University of Pennsylvania, mentored by Dr. Robert Schug
  • Solena Hessel, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, mentored by Dr. Long Wang
  • Madison Kane, Purdue, mentored by Dr. Perla Ayala
  • Cammie Lam, Harvard, mentored by Dr. Niloofar Bavarian
  • Ruben Luevano, Princeton, mentored by Dr. Ted Yu
  • Brendan Ly, Stanford, mentored by Dr. Vas Narayanasawami
  • Hannah Rattu Mandias, University of California Berkeley, mentored by Dr. Brian Livingston
  • Maya Martinez, University of California Irvine, mentored by Dr. Praveen Shankar
  • Jeffrey Nguyen, University of California San Francisco, mentored by Dr. Perla Ayala
  • Tracy Nguyen, Michigan State University, mentored by Dr. Erlyana Erlyana
  • Trenton Nguyen, University of California Irvine, mentored by Dr. Fangyan Tian
  • Norah Nyangau, Chapman University, mentored by Dr. Vennila Krishnan
  • Derek Phillips, University of Southern California, mentored by Dr. Michael Harris
  • Maxine Robinette, Yale, mentored by Dr. Gabriella Hancock
  • Joel Sandoval, University of Southern California, mentored by Dr. Amber Johnson
  • Diego Velarde, University of Southern California, mentored by Dr. Lijuan Li
  • Megan Walsh, University of California Irvine, mentored by Dr. Nancy Hall
  • Lillian Wang, Keck Graduate Institute, mentored by Dr. Judy Brusslan

In addition, many graduating BUILD trainees have been accepted into graduate programs. A list will be included in next month’s newsletter.


…And So Are BUILD Faculty and Mentors!

The CSULB Honors Program MVP (Most Valuable Professor) award honors outstanding professors for their excellence in teaching and mentorship of students at CSULB. Recipients, which come from numerous colleges on campus, will be recognized at a special banquet. BUILD would like to recognize three of our own who will be named MVP this year:

  • Dr. Panadda (Nim) Marayong, College of Engineering
  • Dr. Niloofar Bavarian, College of Health and Human Services
  • Dr. Deepali Bhandari, College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Deadline this Month!
Mentor Supply and Appreciation Funds for BUILD Year 5

Please contact Marie Reed for instructions on spending your “Mentor Supply Funds” and “Mentor Appreciation Funds” for Year 5.

Please keep the following in mind:

  1. You have until May 31, 2019, to spend out ALL of your remaining supply funds.  These funds cannot be carried over.
  2. You are required to complete the ATI/E&IT checklist and have it approved by the Purchasing Department PRIOR to the purchase of electronics and software. You can download a PDF of the form here. The completed form should be sent directly to for approval.
  3. Please refer to your mentor newsletters for announcements, updates, and purchasing guidelines.


Faculty Mixer Was a Spud-tastic Success

On Wednesday, April 10, 30 mentors, graduate mentors, and staff enjoyed a complimentary lunch at the Spring 2019 BUILD Mentor Mixer. In addition to good conversation, they enjoyed a BUILD your own baked potato bar with an a-peeling array of toppings.

BUILD Commencement Tomorrow

The 2017 Cohort of BUILD Scholars and 2018 Cohort of Fellows are completing their training this year and we will be celebrating their accomplishment this Friday, May 3, at the annual BUILD Commencement. If your mentee is a Year 2 Scholar or Fellow, we look forward to seeing you at the event, taking place at the USU Ballroom beginning at 6 p.m. Be sure to stop by the photo booth and get your picture taken with your mentee! We’re sure that they will appreciate including you in their photos of the event, to keep as memories for years to come.

images from teh 2918 BUILD commencement celebration

SURGE Updates

The Summer Undergraduate Research Gateway to Excellence (SURGE) and SURGE 2 will begin on Tuesday, June 4. SURGE for new Scholars will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 am to noon, and SURGE 2 for Year 2 Scholars and Fellows will be held on Tuesdays from 9:30 am to 11:30 am.

Both will run for eight weeks and will culminate in the Summer Symposium on Friday, July 26, 2019, where participants will present their research to friends, family and BUILD faculty and staff. Please mark your calendar for this event. Location and time will be announced at a later date.

Mentor Spotlight – April 2019 – Dr. Houng-Wei Tsai

Mentor Spotlight – April 2019 – Dr. Houng-Wei Tsai

The Mentor Spotlight for April was Associate Professor Dr. Houng-Wei Tsai from the Department of Biological Sciences and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

His research interest is brain sexual differentiation. “Our research interest focuses on understanding the molecular and neural mechanisms underlying sexual dimorphism in brain structure and function,” he says. “Our lab has employed a wide variety of molecular biology tools and techniques to identify and profile a list of genes differentially expressed in the developing cortex and hippocampus between male and female mice.”

You can learn more about him and his research on the spotlight page on the BUILD website and his profile in the BUILD Mentor Database.

GMs of the month – April

Graduate Mentors (GMs) are an important part of the CSULB BUILD program, providing near-peer support to our trainees. The GMs for March were Alissa Vandenbelt, Clarissa Gonzalez and André Colacio. You can learn more about them here.

CSULB BUILD in Pictures – Psych Day 2019 & Spring Fling Events

CSULB BUILD’s Facebook and Instagram accounts are filled with pictures of our Associates, Scholars, and Fellows. Each month we’ll highlight a collection here.

Psych Day 2019

  • Psych Day 2019 – On Wednesday, April 17, 2019, the Psychology Student Association and Psi Chi Honor Society held their annual Psych Day where students presented their current or recently completed research. Several BUILD trainees – past and present – shared their research during the event.
  • Spring Fling – On Friday, April 19, more than 10 BUILD trainees gathered in the Bowling Alley on the first floor of the USU for some camaraderie, relaxation and games.

Acknowledging BUILD in Your Presentations/Publications

Please remember to acknowledge the funding from National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers UL1GM118979, TL4GM118980, and RL5GM118978 on work supported by BUILD, including support from BUILD student trainees, mentor appreciation fund, BUILD research and equipment grants. When you review your mentees’ posters, also check to make sure they have included the correct grand numbers. For a sample acknowledgment statement, NIH resources and policy, please visit the “Acknowledging BUILD in Your Publications” page on our website. It can be found under Mentors > Current Mentors.

Be Prepared

If you'd like to know what is coming up in the BUILD Learning Community for your mentee, download the current syllabus. This will give you a heads up on what events your mentee is required to attend and therefore will not be available to work in your lab at that time. This page will be updated each semester with the new syllabi.

Communicating with BUILD

We invite your news about your BUILD Trainee and any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions about BUILD. If you have any of these, in relation to being a BUILD Research Mentor, please contact us at If you have any concerns about your BUILD Trainee, please contact the Student Training Core Director at

Be sure to keep an eye out for the June newsletter.