One will examine juvenile salmon predation. The other will study the formation of tsunamis. Both are aimed at advancing their fields.
California State University, Chico selected its annual Lantis Research Chairs recipients last week from of a pool of 28 outstanding faculty applications.
Mandy Banet, from the Department of Biological Sciences, and Sergei Fomin, from the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, were awarded Lantis Endowed University Chairs. They will both receive $40,000 to advance their research through student-centered learning projects.
“Professors Banet and Fomin are exemplars of leading-edge research happening at Chico State,” said University President Gayle Hutchinson. “I am delighted to recognize their efforts, which are integral in positioning Chico State to make a difference not only statewide but globally, as well.”
The award is named after David Lantis, a former faculty member in the University’s Department of Geography and Planning who believed that private giving enriches the University’s teaching and learning environment. With a $5,000 gift in 1988 and subsequent gifts the following years, Lantis and his wife, Helen, established the David W. Lantis Scholarship Fund for the Department of Geography and Planning. And with his passing in 2000 and Helen’s in 2004, $2.1 million from their estate have gone to fund two faculty chairs at CSU, Chico. It is one of the largest endowments the University awards.
Banet and a handful of undergraduate and graduate students are currently part of a multi-year, multi-agency project studying side channels for juvenile salmon in the Sacramento River. The Lantis funds will support similar work addressing more specific questions, such as what species prey on juvenile salmon, do man-made structures like water diversion facilities influence predation rates, and does predation risk vary depending on season or water flow?
The project’s major goal is to help environmental managers make scientifically sound management decisions, and Banet is most excited about the opportunities that approximately 100 students will be afforded.
“It will help support an exceptional graduate student who would not be able to attend graduate school without it,” she said. “And I can’t wait to share this new technology in fisheries research with the undergraduates my field courses.”
With the help of a handful of undergraduate students, Fomin’s research will focus on tsunami modeling, within two major projects: “Mathematical Modeling of Contaminant Transport in Complex Media” and “Mathematical Modeling of Tsunami Wave Dynamics.” Building on his past research, Fomin and his team of students will utilize the Lantis funds to continue his research, and to travel to conferences to present the results and to visit Tohoku University in Japan to further collaboration within both projects.
The Lantis University Chairs Selection Committee included President Hutchinson and Provost Debra Larson, and was chaired by Interim Dean of Graduate Studies Sharon Barrios and Interim Dean of Undergraduate Education Kate McCarthy.
Past recipients of the Lantis University Chair are David Colson, Michelle Neyman Morris, Stephen Lewis, Greg Kallio, Tracy Butts, Kate Transchel, Lori Beth Way, Byron Wolfe, Rachel Teasdale, Georgia Fox, Michael Ennis, Susan Roll, Eric Bartelink, and Donald Miller.