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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Eric Gonzalez


Faculty Mentor: Christal Sohl

Eric Gonzalez was appointed as a MARC scholar in August 2015. His major is chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry, and he is conducting research in the Molecular Mechanisms of Disease Laboratory under the direction of  Dr. Christal Sohl. His current research involves exploring the mechanistic consequences of mutations in isocitrate dehydrogenase that are implicated in gliomas and leukemias. Eric has participated in the Pre-MARC Science Enrichment Program, UT Southwestern Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, and the UCSF Summer Research Training Program. He co-founded the student organization Chemistry Without Borders which aims to increase access to hands-on science activities among underserved communities and currently acts as president. In the future, Eric aims to earn a Ph.D. in chemical biology and run a lab of his own, where he will mentor, teach and conduct research.

PROJECT TITLE: Molecular Mechanisms of Isocitrate Dehydrogenase Mutations


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.


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Alexandra Mallory

Aerospace Engineering

Faculty Mentor: Satchi Venkataraman

Alexandra Mallory was appointed as a MARC scholar in June 2015. Her major is aerospace engineering specializing in aerospace structures. Her current project is automating finite element analysis models of bolted joint composites in ABAQUSTM. She is conducting this project in Dr. Satchi Venkataraman’s Aerospace Structures Lab. Upon graduation, Alexandra plans to pursue a doctorate degree in aerospace structures. In the future, she would like to work at NASA or as a researcher at a private company.

PROJECT TITLE: Automatic Analysis of Composite Test Specimens in ABAQUS


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Jeremea Songco


Faculty Mentor: 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 Dr. Claire Murphy at the Lifespan Human Senses Lab. 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


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Grant Varnau


Faculty Mentor: William Tong

Grant Varnau was appointed a MARC scholar in September 2015. His major is physics with a minor in interdisciplinary studies. He spent the summer of 2016 working at Vanderbilt University characterizing and fabricating VO2 single crystals to study the dynamic evolution of the mM and R phases. Currently he works with Dr. William Tong of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department on TATP and RDX explosives detection utilizing non-linear optical methods. Grant plans to pursue his Ph.D. in physics, emphasizing ultrafast and nonlinear optics. He hopes to pursue a career in research through national laboratories or academia.

PROJECT TITLE: Multi-photon Nonlinear Laser Methods for Sensitive Detection of Chem/Bio Agents