Publications and achievements submitted by our faculty, staff, and students. 


Faculty Zawisza Grabinski, Rosemary Sherriff, Jeff Kane Other Campus Unit

Alum Zav Grabinski (MS, 2015) and Professors Rosemary Sherriff and Jeff Kane published “Controls of reburn severity vary with fire interval in the Klamath Mountains, California, USA” in the journal Ecosphere. A unique component of the study was evaluation of different scales of analysis within the ecoregion. In the context of recent increases in fire activity, results underscore a self-reinforcing pattern of fire severity related to the Klamath Mountains biophysical setting, but also highlight the importance of spatial and temporal scale of evaluation and interactions of vegetation, time since fire, and weather on reburn severity.

Faculty Gregory M. Pitch (student) and Robert W. Zoellner (faculty member) Chemistry

Gregory M. Pitch (student) and Robert W. Zoellner (faculty member) have published an article detailing their computational chemistry research results. The article is “Bonding modes in bis(benzene)beryllium(0): A density functional and Moller-Plesset computational investigation”, and will be published in 2018 in the journal “Inorganica Chimica Acta”, volume 470, pages 68-73.

Faculty Jasper Oshun, Margaret Lang Geology

Geoscientists Without Borders funded a two year $100k project to complete a sustainable water project in the highlands of Perú. Jasper Oshun and Margaret Lang will lead a small group of students to Perú next summer to map the geology, explore surface runoff patterns and learn novel shallow geophysical techniques to determine the extent of the aquifer. These data will be used to design a water reservoir and agricultural canal system. They will return in the summer of 2019 to support the community in the construction phase. The canal will allow for year round agriculture, directly benefitting over 120 families.

Student Lara Jansen Environmental Science & Management

Lara Jansen, NR graduate student working with Dr. Alison O’Dowd, presented her research at the California Chapter of the Society for Freshwater Science meeting in Davis, CA on Oct 25, 2017. The title of her talk was “Integration of Western Science and Indigenous Science to Inform Management of the Upper Eel River.” Lara’s co-presenter was Leke Hutchins, a UC Berkeley undergraduate who participated in HSU’s Rroulou’sik REU program last summer.

Student Jason Jackson, Alyssa Suarez, Antoinette Shirley, Ely Boone, Matthew Marshall, Amanda Martinez, Anna Colegrove-Powell Other Campus Unit

INRSEP advisor Lonyx Landry accompanied 8 students in the INRSEP program to the American Indian Science and Engineering Society(AISES) National Conference in Denver last week. These students presented posters on their summer research, many sponsored by the HSU Rroulou’sik REU program supporting Native American students in Science (Directed by Wildlife professor Matt Johnson).

Faculty Bori Mazzag and Kamila Larripa Mathematics

Bori Mazzag and Kamila Larripa secured funding through NSF INCLUDES WATCH US/ University of Nebraska to support undergraduate women in mathematics. The funds will help prepare HSU students for the annual Mathematical Contest in Modeling.

Faculty Jeff Dunk Environmental Science & Management

Jeff Dunk coauthored a paper entitled “First-year dispersal of Golden Eagles from natal areas in the southwestern United States and implications for second-year settling” in a special issue (dedicated to Golden Eagle studies) of the Journal of Raptor Research.

The paper can be found at:

Faculty Jianmin Zhong Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences Professor Jianmin Zhong has published a manuscript on the journal of “Ticks and tick-borne diseases.” Although the status of the manuscript is still in press, the online copy has been published.

The article is now published online at:

Student Mikayla Kia Environmental Science & Management

Environmental Science & Management Student Mikayla Kia was awarded a $1,500 MapWorks Scholarship for her achievements using the MapWorks program. For more about the program, and Mikayla’s achievements, follow this link.

Faculty William F. Wood Chemistry

On August 26th, William Wood, HSU Chemical Ecologist, gave a lecture to the Humboldt County Mensa Organization’s lunch meeting: titled “Skunk Solutions.” This talk covered Wood’s research on 4 species of North American skunk species, how to clean animals sprayed by skunks, the history of skunk spray research, and his anecdotal experiences with skunks.

Student Meredith Garrett Environmental Science & Management

Environmental Science and Management senior Meredith Garrett was chosen to serve as an intern for U.S. Congresswoman Nanette Barragan this past summer in Washington, D.C. through the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s highly competitive Congressional Internship Program. For more information about (and to apply to) this program, visit this link …

Faculty Melanie Michalak Geology

Melanie Michalak was awarded a American Chemical Society- Petroleum Research Fund grant toward her proposed research, “Reconstructing Neogene Paleogeography and Forearc Basin Evolution of Southern Cascadia using Detrital Mineral Geochronology.” The grant of $55,000 is awarded over a two year period and will support original research by PI Michalak, a MSc student and a team of undergraduates. Their work in the coastal deposits along the north coast seeks to characterize paleogeography and forearc development over the past several million years using quantitative dating techniques.

Faculty Brandon Browne, Raul Becerra Geology

Dr. Brandon Browne, Associate Professor of Geology, and four undergraduate thesis students, including Raul Becerra (‘16), recently published their study titled “Quaternary basaltic volcanism in the Golden Trout Volcanic Field, southern Sierra Nevada, California” in the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. The study uses results from geologic mapping and geochemical analyses of rocks and minerals to interpret the eruption styles and geologic evolution of the volcanic field – the only one of its age in the High Sierra.

Student Irene Vasquez Environmental Science & Management

Graduate student Irene Vasquez was chosen as a Switzer Environmental Fellow for the 2017-18 academic year. The national fellowships are highly competitive. Each year, 20 promising environmental leaders are awarded $15,000 each to complete master’s and doctoral degrees in New England and California to advance their skills and develop their expertise to address critical environmental challenges.Vasquez’s research seeks to implement a management regime for restoring plants important for cultural preservation in Yosemite National Park. More details are available here.

Faculty William F. Wood Chemistry

Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, William Wood, was a co-author of an article on medicinal aspects of matsutake mushrooms (Tricholoma magnivelare). Wood identified and synthesized a new compound from mycelium of this mushroom, which was used in the current study – “Effects of matsutake mushroom scent compounds on tyrosinase and murine B16-F10 melanoma cells.” It was published in Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications.

Student Yaad Rana, Josh Martinez, Toni Castillo, Karen Duarte, Peter Duin, Fernando Flores, Tanya Garcia, Jacob Hurd, Jackson Ingram, Amanda ‘the Destroyer’ Lagasca, Tony Mitchell III, David Rivera, Raymond Rios, Kelly Rodman, and Eunice Romero Environmental Resources Engineering

Humboldt State University’s Environmental Resources Engineering students retain their trophy for the American Society of Civil Engineers Mid-Pacific Water Treatment Competition (MidPac), for the second year in a row, and fourth time overall, leading HSU to have the most wins in this competition. In addition, HSU took Second Place Overall in MidPac, even though the environmental engineering students did not complete in the Concrete Canoe, Steel Bridge or Geowall competitions! Tongji University (Shanghai, China) was awarded first place overall due to their first place finishes in the other competitions that HSU did not compete in. The HSU team formed a great sense of camaraderie with the Tongji team, as they supported and cheered each other on throughout the three day conference.

MidPac was hosted by Chico State this year, and was attended by most of the UCs and CSUs in California, along with other international competitors. The competition was extremely close this year, with the ERE’s toughest competitors being Tongji (China), Laval (Canada), University of the Pacific, UC Berkeley and UC Davis.

Midpac consists of four main competitions: Concrete Canoe, Water Treatment, Geowall, and Steel Bridge. There are also three report competitions: Transportation, Ethics, and Water Research, each offering a cash prize. Each competition victory earns the winning school conference points, which are summed at the end and used to declare overall Mid-Pac winners.

HSU has historically competed only in the wastewater treatment competition. This year, HSU also competed in the water research paper category and mini-games. For water treatment competition, the team dedicated an enormous amount of effort into each of the scored categories to earn First Place in Water Treatment:
Construction (Second Place)
Poster Presentation (Tie for First Place)
Powerpoint Presentation (First Place)
Design Report (First Place)
Water Quality (First place).

For the Water Research Report competition, ERE student Peter Duin received a unanimous first place finish in both design report and oral presentation. HSU also won the Scavenger Hunt.

ERE students Yaad Rana and Josh Martinez co-chaired the preparation for Mid-Pac. Other participants were Toni Castillo, Karen Duarte, Peter Duin, Fernando Flores, Tanya Garcia, Jacob Hurd, Jackson Ingram, Amanda ‘the Destroyer’ Lagasca, Tony Mitchell III, David Rivera, Raymond Rios, Kelly Rodman, and Eunice Romero. The students are especially grateful the guidance and feedback from Professors Brad Finney and Margaret Lang.

Student Brent Henry, Andrew Mueller, Kaelie Pena, and Mariah Aguilar Forestry & Wildland Resources

The Forestry and Wildland Resources Department celebrated its students during the annual Awards Banquet on April 18. This year, the department awarded over $68,000 in scholarships to 56 deserving students. Many scholarships were established by alumnae or in honor of alumnae; the Forestry Pathfinders scholarship was created by the founding forestry class at Humboldt State; and the Gayleen Smith scholarship was created in honor of the “office mom” for the department from 2005 through 2013.

The department also honored outstanding students: Brent Henry (Academic Excellence award in Forestry), Andrew Mueller (Professional Promise award in Forestry), Kaelie Pena (Rangeland Resource Outstanding Student), and Mariah Aguilar (Rangeland Resource Outstanding Student). And the students voted to award three separate honors: to Maurine Nicholson (Administrative Support Coordinator) and George Pease (Stockroom Manager) in recognition of their contributions to the department, and to Dr. Pascal Berrill for Outstanding Faculty member.

Faculty Dr. Kerri Hickenbottom and Dr. Leslie Miller-Robbie Environmental Resources Engineering

Assistant professor Kerri Hickenbottom and visiting professor Leslie Miller-Robbie co-authored an article on a techno-economic assessment of a closed-loop osmotic heat engine published in the Journal of Membrane Science.
Full article:

Student Gabriela Martinez, Jeremy Johnson, Charlotte Olsen, Catie Ledesma, Katie Fasbender, Troy Maloney, Caleb Hill, Alden Bradley, Erik Knutsen, Karlie Elliott, Kylie Reich, and Mario Sanchez Mathematics

The Math Department had twelve students in four teams compete in the International Mathematical Contest in Modeling this January. Teams are challenged to analyze an open applied problem and to propose a solution using mathematical modeling over an intense four-day competition. All four of our teams were recognized by the judges as either Honorable Mention or Successful Participant for their papers.

The students were advised by Dr. Kamila Larripa (Math) and are listed below.

Gabriela Martinez
Jeremy Johnson
Charlotte Olsen

Catie Ledesma
Katie Fasbender
Troy Maloney

Caleb Hill
Alden Bradley
Erik Knutsen

Karlie Elliott
Kylie Reich
Mario Sanchez

Student Yaad Rana, Marcela Jimenez, and Joshua Martinez Environmental Resources Engineering

For the last 16 years, student teams from the HSU Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE) department have participated in a four day long math modeling competition. The competition consists of the Mathematical Modeling Contest (MCM) and Interdisciplinary Contest in Modeling (ICM) sponsored by the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP). Competing against nearly 17,000 teams from thousands of universities, each team produced a report summarizing their solution to one of six possible problems.

This year, a record six ERE student teams entered in the competition that began on Thursday evening, January 19 and ended on Monday evening, January 23. Four of the six ERE teams were awarded the score of Honorable Mention, with fewer than 12% of the other teams scoring higher, and approximately 50% of the other teams scoring lower. One team received a ranking of Meritorious Winners, with fewer than 1% of the teams scoring higher. Finally, the team of Yaad Rana, Marcela Jimenez, and Joshua Martinez received the highest ranking possible, Outstanding Winner. This team also received the Rachel Carson award and the Sigma Scholarship award which provides a $3,000 prize to each team member.