microchipStudents at six Mendocino County high schools are learning how to make homemade Geiger counters and mud-powered batteries thanks to a group from Sonoma State University and a $3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The project, Learning By Making: STEM Success for Mendocino County, will help prepare 460 students for college with cutting-edge science, technology, engineering and math experiments. "This is when the rubber really hits the road, because now we're rolling it out to schools," says SSU physics and astronomy department chair Lynn Cominsky, who designed the experiments.

housingIn 1961, Sonoma State College had 274 enrolled students taking classes in leased buildings in the yet-to-be-incorporated city of Rohnert Park. Now, on August 25 the 269-acre Sonoma State University welcomes 9,400 students, including 1,900 freshmen, as its largest student body and freshman class in the university's 54-year history.

The university welcomes 20 new tenure track faculty this year, who were introduced at Convocation yesterday, as well as three visiting professor faculty.

ruben arminanaSonoma State University President Ruben Armiñana announced today his decision to retire at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. The announcement was made during the annual university convocation on campus. Armiñana is the longest seated president in the CSU system, and will have served 24 years by his retirement.

lizthach.pngSonoma State University wine business professor Liz Thach, MW, is this year's recipient of the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce Excellence in Education award.

"It's a tremendous honor to be recognized by peers, colleagues, and associates," said Thach. "I spent years as an executive at Fortune 500 companies and there's no greater validation than doing right by my students. They put forward a high level of effort and excellence each day, and I share this award with them."

focus on photography flyer, image of burning cactusPrivate collections have for centuries played an essential role in the history of art, yet many such collections remain out of view of the general public. Sonoma State University is fortunate that Sonoma County residents Fay Gallus and Dr. Richard Sweet, whose collection is the subject of "Focus on Photography: Selections from the Gallus Sweet Collection," have generously agreed to share 59 photographs with the University Art Gallery and its visitors. The exhibit runs September 3 through October 25.

lamp students in thailandHow was your summer? Well, for two Sonoma State University math students and math professor Martha Shott, it was international. They spent the summer, or six weeks of it, at least, in Thailand with the the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program.

Shott worked with eight students, including SSU math majors Travis Hayes and Ericka Chavez, in a faculty mentor capacity while students studied with faculty at Chiang Mai University, situated in Northern Thailand in Chiang Mai, a city of 150,000.

claudia luke and group in ecuadorian rain forestClaudia Luke, director of the Center for Environmental Inquiry at Sonoma State University returned last month from Ecuador, where she spent a few days working with the Ecuadorian government giving recommendations on how to integrate national park land into a public university.

The land in question is a wide swath stretching from the Andes to the Amazon Basin. Luke was part of a group of international experts who spent a day in the rain forest and spoke with native people on the edge of the forest as part of their research.

vineyards Residents in five wine-producing areas in the North Bay view the wine industry in highly positive terms, according to a new study by Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute.

The preliminary results come from a study designed to examine Californians' perceptions of the wine industry and its impact on quality of life. The survey was conducted as part of ongoing research to establish baseline data that informs industry, communities and future policy decisions in the state of California.

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