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Chico State

Science and Environment

The sun sets behind an academic building.

Four Faculty Selected for Professional Achievement Honors

Spanning disciplines and diverse research specialities, four faculty model teacher-scholar achievement on campus.

Emily Fleming chats with a student in a biology lab.

Biological Sciences Professor Immerses Students into Study of Rust-Producing Bacteria

Whether spending a year as a visiting scientist at one of the top microbiology programs in the world or publishing a paper in one of the globe’s leading microbiology journals, Emily Fleming is emerging as a scholar of note.

Giovanni Paz-Silva looks up at the ceiling inside Chico State's planetarium, using a laser pointer to identify a star.

Physics Major Finds Inner Strength to Aim for the Stars  

Since transferring to Chico State, first-generation student Giovanni Paz-Silva has dedicated himself to excellence in and out the classroom, emerging as a leader in the physics program.

Photo of Kaniel Cassady set against a pink and green background.

Alumnus in STEM Develops Life-Changing Medicines “To Improve Lives”

Scientist Kaniel Cassady discovered his knack for research conducting experiments in Big Chico Creek and now works as part of a global team developing medicines.

A split photo: one with a person smiling and smelling wine and a the other with a person smiling while holding up a freshly harvested radish.

Crash Course: General Ed Ag Classes Bear Fruit for Life 

Chico State students don’t have to know how to milk a cow or work with cover crops to benefit from the ag department. Instead, they learn how to grow their own vegetables and pair wine with their meals, earning GE credits and having fun along the way.

Distinguished Alumna Kimberly Bacigalupo

Distinguished Alumna and Sierra Nevada Brewery Quality Manager Kimberly Bacigalupo

Chemistry alumna Kimberly Bacigalupo is diversifying the brewing industry from the inside out.

A geothermal lake sits in the mountains

Biology Faculty’s Research Sets Foundation for Future Findings of Life’s Evolution

Biological Sciences faculty Gordon Wolfe's research on organisms that thrive in extreme conditions is getting new life.

Smoke rises from burnt clumps of deergrass adjacent to a walkway on the Chico State campus.

Mechoopda Tribe and Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve Partner to Conduct Cultural Burn on Chico State Campus

This collaboration makes the Mechoopda the first tribe to utilize new legislation to carry out a burn on a campus within the California State University System.

Jaime Raigoza stands at a Commencement ceremony

Three-Year, $2.5 Million DOE Grant Puts Chico State at Leading Edge of Teaching Quantum Computing

In efforts to promote the field of quantum information science and technology, Department of Computer Science Associate Professor Jaime Raigoza and other scientists have been awarded a three-year, $2.5 million grant from the DOE.

Portrait of Monica So

Department of Energy Grant Funds Research by Chico State and Others to Develop New Battery Tech

Chico State faculty are working to develop new battery technology through the support of a three-year, $2.25 million grant from the US Department of Energy.

An up-close portrait of Liane Thompson.

Celebrated Journalist and Producer Writes a Chapter with Groundbreaking AI Tech

Alumna Liane Thompson cofounded an award-winning environmental tech firm that is combatting climate change and making waterways more resilient.

A photo of a total solar eclipse, where the sun is completely blocked out by the moon.

How Witnessing a Solar Eclipse Can Help Prevent Global Disaster

Senior Danielle Casillas traveled to Western Australia on a NASA-funded trip to the site of a total solar eclipse, looking for clues to the "biggest mystery in the solar system."

A printing machine puts an Earth Day logo on a reusable bag

International Organization AASHE Once Again Honors Chico State for Excellence in Sustainability

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recognized Chico State for its environmental practices, honoring it as one of the top performers in its Master’s Institutions category.

Crash Course: The Good Life Vs. The End of the World

Two GE courses offered by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts evoke very different ideas: one of existential dread and the other enlightenment and happiness. Yet both encourage students to ask some of life’s age-old questions.

A sign for a museum exhibit that says, "Bombus! A Natural History of Bumble Bees"

Gateway Science Museum Presents a Pair of New Exhibits

From vital pollinators to nature’s most hilarious moments, the Gateway Science Museum features a pair of new exhibits to satisfy the curious and the light-hearted.

Chico State’s CRARS Awarded Nearly $6 Million to Address Climate Priorities

Chico State’s Center for Regenerative Agriculture and Resilient Systems has received a California Climate Action Seed and Matching Grant totaling approximately $6 million to support state climate priorities.

Kendall Hall with spring flowers in the foreground

California State University Honored with Innovation Award for Faculty Learning Community Led by Chico State Professor

Geography and Planning professor Mark Stemen has been honored by a national organization for his tireless work to bring sustainability to more than just science classes.

Joseph James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe (right) speaks as and Arthur Garcia, Cultural Resource Manager and Tribal Elder of the Wintu Tribe, looks on. The Kapusta 1B project, a new Sacramento River side channel approximately ½ mile long (2,365 feet) created for salmanoid spawning habitat is behind them.

New Channel Teeming With Fish Thanks to Impressive Teamwork

The Kapusta Open Space Side Channel is teeming with tiny fish thanks to a massive team effort spearheaded by Chico State Enterprises and managed by the North State Planning and Development Collective.

Professor Garrett Liles holds samples of soil in each hand. He is standing at a table inside the soil sampling area of the regenerative agriculture lab.

Inside the ‘RAD-Lab’: Looking to the Ground for Solutions

The Regenerative Agriculture Demonstration (RAD) Lab began as an idea in grad school, and is now full service lab analyzing soil and carbon health.

Claire Kooi wears a lab coat and smiles as she leans on a counter in a lab

Earth and Environmental Sciences Grad Student Driven by Social Issues

Graduate student Claire-Marie Kooi loves studying the Earth because "everything impacts something else." Kooi is making quite an impact as well in her work at UC Berkeley, and in the field of environmental justice.

Raquel Krach sits on a rock wall with trees and shrubs in the background.

Grad Student Farmer Grows Case for Marrying Agriculture With the Natural World

With her master’s thesis—a collaborative effort to study the effects of agroecology on her almond farm—Chico State graduate student Raquel Krach confirmed what the birds have been telling her. It’s working!

Zion Brigham on a bridge over Big Chico Creek with lush greenery behind him.

Life of Hard Work Pays Off for Agricultural Business Major

Zion Brigham says coming to Chico State: “felt like going from a black and white TV to full color.” He graduates in May with an agricultural business degree and a clear vision for what’s ahead.

Irene Duran poses in high visibility safety gear and a hard hat on Iselin Dock in Woods Hole.

From Northern California to Ocean Engineer

Gridley native Irene Duran (Mechatronic Engineering, '20), moved to Cape Cod after graduating with one mission: an engineering job.

Hands hold down a piece of fossilized bone.

Students, Faculty Embrace New Fossils from Ever-Growing ‘Miocene Zoo’ Site

Chico State continues to lead the way in making scientific determinations from the findings at a Northern California site.

Professor Jesse Engebretson is standing on a rock overlooking a valley of trees. He is addressing a group of students during a field trip.

New Study Explores Drivers of Homelessness and Impact on Public Lands

Jesse Engebretson’s research aims to uncover ways state and federal governments can better serve unhoused communities who are increasingly pushed out of urban areas.

Distinguished alum, CEO, and scientist, Thomas Butler

Distinguished Alum, Scientist, and CEO Thomas Butler

Thomas Butler found his passion in a Chico State lab. Today, he's the CEO of a company creating medicines designed to attack cancer and diabetes.

Two museum visitors interact with a new museum exhibit

Gateway Science Museum Exhibit Takes Visitors on a Water Drop’s Extreme Journey

The Gateway Science Museum's newest exhibit, "Water's Extreme Journey," explores the water cycle, while water cycle works, while asking critical questions about the choices we make in our everyday lives.

A drone shot of a canyon and creek

Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve Partners with CalTrout, Mechoopda for Native Fish Passage Restoration Project in Bidwell Park

The University's Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve is partnering with agencies, such as CalTrout and the Mechoopda Indian Tribe, on a native fish passage restoration project in Bidwell Park.

Expanding Collaborations in Latin America: Dean of College of Agriculture Visits Chile

College of Agriculture Dean Patricia Stock visited several academic and research institutions to exchange knowledge about the myriad challenges agriculture is facing in Mediterranean climate regions—like those in California and Chile.

Ben Chang stands on rocks and smiles because he likes it so much

Wildland Management Master’s Student Driven to Preserve Natural Spaces

Alum and current wildlands management master’s student Ben Chang is dedicating his life to battling climate change and mentoring the next generation of environmental stewards.

Low-lying clouds hover over a green valley amid a sunrise in Sri Lanka

‘Beauty in the Chaos’: Fulbright Scholar’s Focus on Gemstone Trade in Sri Lanka

Anthropology faculty Brian Brazeal navigated the global pandemic and political unrest as he went to Sri Lanka to document the country's gemstone trade as part of his Fulbright Scholar Award.

Professor Mark Stemen poses for a photo with Chico State President Gayle Hutchin as they hold the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) Campus Sustainability Achievement Award.

Chico State Professor Helps Reshape How CSUs Teach About Climate Change

Chico State Professor Mark Stemen's Faculty Learning Community earns coveted sustainability award for helping CSUs integrate climate change topics in classrooms.

A college faculty and his students pose and smile standing in a lush green field.

Fulbright Experience Helps Agriculture Faculty Deepen Roots Across the World

Whether it was teaching his students, learning from colleagues, or endearing himself to local food vendors, College of Agriculture faculty Lee Altier's Fulbright experience in Turkey was a memorable one.

Cole Schmitt, a white cisgender male student, is perched on a log in the creek that runs through Chico State campus.

Biology Student Among First to Research Fish’s Unusual Schooling Pattern

Cole Schmitt has been working with the National Systemics Laboratory and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, studying the vertical schooling behavior of the cutlassfish.

A valley oak tree spreads its branches as the sunlight filters through

The Princeton Review Honors Chico State as One of its Green Colleges

The Princeton Review recently listed Chico State on its 2023 Guide to Green Colleges.

A college student drives a tractor beneath a sign that says Chico State University Farm

Chico State University Farm Celebrates 60th Anniversary on November 5

As Chico State's University Farm marks its 60th anniversary, it will host a free event to the public to celebrate its impact of serving the North State on Saturday, November 5.

Kids look on as a pumpkin drops to the ground in physics display

Messy Science: Pumpkin Drop Set for Halloween Day

Put on by the Society of Physics Students the 33rd Chico State Pumpkin Drop demonstrates physics to elementary students in a creative and explosive way.

Farhan Rehman and Esteban Teran adjust the lasers that work to cool the atoms.

Ultracold Atom Lab Attempting to Cross ‘Unreachable’ Threshold

With the ultra-high vacuum chamber up and running, the University's ultracold atom chamber is ready to cool atoms to near absolute zero so they display their true quantum nature.

Nicholas Esparza looks through the high vacuum chamber in the ultracold lab.

Student Researchers Share Insight into Summer Projects

CSC² has supported nearly 300 students in undergraduate research projects across the three colleges.

A grid of diamond-shaped images shows students engaging in various kinds of research, from looking through a vaccum chamber to attaching wildlife cams to trees to working with mushrooms, to looking through a container filled with zebrafish.

Multimillion-Dollar Grants Provide Undergraduate Research Opportunities to Underserved Students in STEM

Since 2016, the Chico STEM Connections Collaborative has provided academic and other support services to historically underserved students in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and agriculture.