Head shot of Rifqi Affan

Rifqi Affan


Faculty Mentor: Ksenija Marinkovic

Rifqi Affan was appointed as a MARC scholar in September 2016. His major is psychology, and he is conducting research under the direction of Dr. Ksenija Marinkovic at the Spatio-Temporal Brain Imaging Lab. His current project involves an in-depth exploratory analysis of the power spectra profiles of continuous EEG signal during eyes-open or closed resting state. The ultimate aim of the current project is to investigate the neurophysiological implications of binge drinking by observing potential abnormalities in the previously mentioned EEG patterns between binge drinkers and light drinkers. Upon graduation, Rifqi plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience, with an emphasis on substance abuse and/or learning and memory. In the future, he aims to run his own lab, while teaching and mentoring students.

PROJECT TITLE: Spectral Exploration of Spontaneous Neural Oscillations in Young Adult Binge Drinkers


Head short of Elena Arroyo

Elena Arroyo


Faculty Mentor: Arlette Baljon

Elena Arroyo was appointed as a MARC scholar in September 2016. Her major is physics. She is currently conducting research in the Computational Polymer and Biological Physics Lab under the direction of Dr. Arlette Baljon. She is currently investigating why phage hunt for bacteria in mucus environments. To this end she models mucus networks and phage movement within them.  This research is done in collaboration with other SDSU’s Viral Information Institute researchers. Elena has participated in the Keck Training Program and in a summer research experience at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley working with Dr. Myoung-Hwan Kim. Elena Plans to pursue her Ph.D. in biophysics.  She plans to pursue a career in research in a national laboratory.

PROJECT TITLE: Phage Movement in Mucus


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Daniel Delgado

Environmental Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Temesgen Garoma

Daniel Delgado was appointed as a MARC scholar in June 2016. His major is environmental engineering specializing in biofuels. His current project, under the direction of Dr. Temesgen Garoma, is in the use of effluent for algal biomass cultivation, thereby reusing and further treating waste water and producing energy. Daniel plans to pursue a Ph.D. in biofuels of waste water treatment, preferably a combination of both. Ultimately, he would like to research and develop ways to increase access to clean water and energy around the world.

PROJECT TITLE: A Novel Water and Energy Saving Strategy – the Use of Primary Effluent for Algal Biomass Cultivation


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Jade Johnson


Faculty Mentor: Andrew Cooksy

Jade Johnson was appointed as a MARC scholar in September 2016. Her major is chemistry with a minor in mathematics. She spent the summer of 2016 working at University of Montana synthesizing and characterizing magnetite silica-polyamine composite nanomaterials for metal ion capture and recovery. Currently, Jade is conducting computational research under Dr. Andrew Cooksy on the isomerization of combustion-related free radical hydrocarbons. Following her undergraduate career, Jade plans to pursue her Ph.D. in chemistry. She intends to pursue a career where she can conduct and contribute to sustainable materials research.

PROJECT TITLE: Computational Analysis of Isomerization Coordinates in Combustion Related Free Radical C4H3


Head shot of Madison Kennedy

Madison Kennedy


Faculty Mentor: Christal Sohl

Madison Kennedy was appointed as a MARC scholar in September 2016. Her major is biochemistry with a minor in anthropology. She is conducting research in the Molecular Mechanisms of Disease Laboratory of Dr. Christal Sohl. Her current research involves isolating and purifying the IDH1 and IDH2 mutations which are known to be affiliated with gliomas, leukemia, and other diseases. The projects culminate with steady state and pre-steady state kinetics. This data will be a foundation to design inhibitors as well as to assess disease severity in the future. Madison has participated in the 2015 SDSU Keck program, researching shiga and cholera toxin levels in the Tijuana Estuary. In the future, Madison aims to earn a Ph.D. in pathology and assist in unlocking the many medical mysteries of cancer and disease from the lab.

PROJECT TITLE: Molecular Mechanisms of Isocitrate Dehydrogenase Mutations


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Lorelay Mendoza

Environmental Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Natalie Mladenov

Lorelay Mendoza was appointed as a MARC scholar in September 2017. Her major is environmental engineering, and she is conducting research in the Water Innovation and Reuse Laboratory under Dr. Natalie Mladenov. Her current project involves using the optical properties of organic matter as a means to enumerate bacteria in urban watersheds. This work lays a foundation that leads to providing a way to monitor the pathogenic constituents of water in real time. After completing her undergraduate degree, Lorelay intends to pursue her Ph.D. in an engineering field that addresses and solves the challenges humans face with current global climate conditions and an increasing population.

PROJECT TITLE: Fluorescence Monitoring and Bacterial Enumeration in Water Bodies


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Anita Alexandra Sanchez

Environmental Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Natalie Mladenov

Anita Sanchez was appointed as a MARC scholar in September 2017. She is studying environmental engineering, and is performing research in the Water Innovation and Reuse Laboratory with guidance from Dr. Natalie Mladenov. Her project focuses on membrane ultrafiltration, which is a technique used in certain water industries to create reusable water for non-potable purposes. By conducting proper analysis on the organic matter components found in her synthetic wastewater source, she can develop ways to improve the membrane’s performance. Her research lays the groundwork for water industries to take a greater approach to understanding the changes in dissolved organic matter components. Due to Anita’s passion for research, she plans to continue with her education by pursuing her Ph.D. in environmental engineering. With the skills and knowledge that she attains, she hopes to focus her career in academia so that she may share with others her approach to addressing the global challenges around creating sustainable water and reliable resources.

PROJECT TITLE: Analysis of Organic Matter Components Responsible for Ultrafiltration Membrane Fouling


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Jeremea Songco


Faculty Mentor: Lisa Kath and  Claire Murphy

Jeremea “Mea” Songco was appointed as a MARC scholar in July 2016. Her major is psychology with a minor in English, fine arts. She is currently conducting research under Lisa Kath and  Dr. Claire Murphy at the POWER and Lifespan Human Senses Labs. After completing her undergraduate career, she plans on pursing a doctoral degree in experimental or clinical psychology, exploring the role culture plays in the relationship between the brain and human behavior.

PROJECT TITLE: Gender Differences in Relation to E4 Allele and Olfactory Event-Related Potentials



Nicole Tomassi

Applied Mathematics

Faculty Mentor: Antoni Luque

Nicole Tomassi was appointed as a MARC scholar in June 2017. Her major in applied mathematics with a minor in business management and hoping to pursue an additional computer science or learning design and technology minor. She is working in the Luque lab, part of the Viral Information Institute under Dr. Antoni Luque. Her current project involves working with phages and how ecological forces impact the infection rate of phages upon bacteria. Phages are a promising biomedical platform and can potentially change modern medicine in the future. Nicole hopes to continue her education into a mathematics doctoral program and sees herself as a scholar for life – researching and teaching at a university in the future.

PROJECT TITLE: Modeling Phage Survival in Limiting Bacterial Growth Conditions


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Sara Torres Robles


Faculty Mentor: Tom Huxford

Sara Torres Robles was appointed as a MARC scholar in June 2017. Her major is biochemistry with a minor in Chinese. She is currently conducting research in the Structural Biochemistry Laboratory of Dr. Tom Huxford. Her current research project involves studying the protein interactions of UNC45 and Hsp83, which may have importance in the assembly of myosin thick filaments, and therefore, muscle function. Sara also participated in the 2015 Kyoto University Amgen Scholars Program, where she spent the summer in Kyoto, Japan studying the effects of macromolecular crowding on the nucleocytoplasmic transport of proteins. In the future, Sara aims to earn a Ph.D. in structural biology, studying how life works at the molecular level. After her Ph.D., she wants to become a research professor, focusing on scientific problems in women’s health and neglected tropical diseases.

PROJECT TITLE: Probing UNC45: Hsp83 Protein Interactions through Hydrogen-Deuterium Exchange Mass Spectrometry Analysis