Beach Forensics wins 2020 Cross-Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Championship Annual Awards

Although the 2020 Cross-Examination Debate Association (CEDA) National Championship tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19, the organization decided to proceed with their annual awards virtually by announcing them on the organization’s Facebook page. I’m pleased to share that CSU Long Beach’s Beach Forensics team received four of the organization’s most coveted awards this year. Information about the awards and the recipients is below!
First – senior Jaysyn Green (Team President) and freshman Georgie Suico were recognized as 2020 Cross-Examination Debate Association (CEDA) All-Americans. This is no simple feat – to make the All-American team, a committee decides on the top 30 individual competitors in the nation “who represent the best of intercollegiate debate. They each demonstrate competitive success, academic success, good conduct, and strong contributions to their squad.” Congratulations to Jaysyn and Georgie!
""Second – Our Director of Debate, Deven Cooper, is the recipient of the 2020 CEDA Brownlee Coach of the Year Award. The Brownlee Award “is given annually to a forensic educator who demonstrates outstanding achievement in scholarship, education and service to CEDA. The award is named in honor of longtime coach and founding CEDA member Don Brownlee. The ideal candidate demonstrates some element of all three factors (scholarship, education and service to CEDA).” To see some of what the nominator and others had to say about Deven, please see:

Finally – Beach Forensics is the 2020 recipient of the CEDA Public Debate Award. This award “is given to the intercollegiate debate program which, over the course of the past academic year, has best advanced the values of debate in the public sphere through sponsorship of one or more public debate activities including international public debates, multimedia debates, public debates on campus or for community groups, and through general promotion of public discourse to promote critical examination of public issues for diverse and general audiences.”
Here is what the awards committee had to say about Beach Forensics:

Our 2020 National Public Debate Award winner is Cal-State Long Beach! Beach Forensics earned the incredible honor on the strength of three major factors:

1) Advancing the values of debate into the public sphere on a range of highly salient public controversies. Beach Forensics sponsored over half a dozen different public debate events, including events on voter suppression, the Green New Deal, Earth Day, and the costs of higher education. Beach Forensics also paired with groups like domestic partners like TedxCSLUB and international partners like the Irish National Debate Team.

2) Beach Forensics promoted critical examination of public issues for diverse and general audiences. Beach Forensics has co-sponsored important events on the election debates in partnership with Student Government, and it has used those events as a venue to substantially increase the number of new entrants into policy debate. Over half of the current Long Beach squad is made up of true novices who have joined the team because of interaction with these events and other important course offerings.

3) Beach Forensics used public debate to expose a more general and diverse population to the wonders of competitive debate. Beach Forensics has implemented a service-learning program on campus, sponsored by 5 different courses available to students of all majors and backgrounds, which reaches more than 2,000 students each season, and allows Beach Forensics to host more than 10,000 annual guests on campus for competitive debate opportunities.

Congratulations and thank you to Michael Eisenstadt, Deven Cooper, and the entire Long Beach debate team for your inspiring efforts to use public debate as a tool for community engagement!

CLA Congratulates 2019 University Achievement Award Recipients

CLA is proud of our faculty, staff and students who were this year’s award winners. Please join me in congratulating:

Outstanding Graduate Research Student Award

Olivia Silke, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts

""Olivia Silke is a second-year graduate student in the Masters of Arts in Psychology Research Program. Since beginning the program, she has completed her thesis proposal and presented nine, first authored paper and poster presentations at professional and university-based conferences. 

She continues to thrive in her program as a CSULB Graduate Research Fellow and as the American Psychological Association’s Junior Scientist Fellow. Her master’s project (built on a larger NIH-funded study) examines the role of maternal mindful disposition, or one’s ability to maintain present moment awareness, on multifaceted-stress responses. Silke’s research aims to conceptualize stress in low-income perinatal mothers and their infants by investigating multiple pathways of action, including: the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, the sympathetic adrenal medullary axis, and perceived stress. 

Silke plans to obtain her PhD in health psychology where she can expand upon this research. She aims to: address gaps in research by including diverse samples; outline biological outcomes linked with mindfulness; and increase mind-body prenatal programs in community settings. 

Having dedicated over 20 hours per week to research methodology, design, and analysis, her future as a scientific researcher is bright. 

Outstanding Undergraduate Research Student Award

Lizbeth Castillo Monterrosa, International Studies, College of Liberal Arts

""Lizbeth Castillo Monterrosa is a 4.0 GPA, International Studies major who has been welcomed into competitive programs such as the University Honors Program, the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Research Program, and the McNair Scholars Program.

She began her research journey at the end of her freshmen year when she was able to conduct ethnographic fieldwork in Costa Rica, alongside her research mentor Dr. Fouratt. They initiated a research project focused on migrants and refugees and collaborated with a local non-profit organization, RET International, to host a digital storytelling workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to show migrant youth how voicing their migration experiences can serve as foundation to addressing wider anti-immigrant sentiments.

After her time abroad, Castillo continued working on this project with Dr. Fouratt through UROP and now BUILD at CSULB. They currently find them- selves in the final stages of this work as they prepare to publish a manuscript. Through research, Castillo ultimately seeks to improve immigrant rights and refine the U.S. discourse on immigration by showing that immigration is not just a domestic issue but a global one as well. Her wider research aims also coincide with her aspiration of a future career in government.

Castillo is a first-generation student who excels in applying her skills and time outside of the classroom and eventually she hopes to pursue a JD and PhD in Public Health. Coming up next for Castillo is the GRE test, graduate school program applications and a summer internship in New Mexico. Here, she hopes to work directly with migrants and refugees at the US-Mexican border.

Outstanding Staff Award

Susan Tsuji, ASC History Department

""Susan Tsuji’s influence and dedication to CSULB has been reflected to not only her department, but to the entire campus as well. She is the department coordinator and graduate coordinator for the Department
of History, and an active member of the campus community since 2011.

“Susan is without a doubt the first ASC in my thirty years who not only inspires trust in how she carries out her responsibilities, but who combines her performance skills with humor, thoughtfulness, and kindness,” said Dr. David Shafer, chair of CSULB’s Department of History.

Currently, she is a CSULB Staff Council representative, member of the council’s Special Events Committee and is the chair of the Staff Council’s Staff Development Committee. Since she plays a key role in Staff Council, her duties range from coordinating education for staff engagement to planning staff campus events.

Tsuji also serves in the Campus Climate Committee of the Academic Senate, a General Financial Need Scholarship Application Reviewer, and formerly as the Staff Council Treasurer.

As an active volunteer in the community, Tsuji also volunteered for the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium from 2002 to 2011. During her tenure she received the Distinguished Volunteer Achievement Award by the aquarium.

Nicholas Perkins Hardeman Academic Leadership Award

Dr. Norbert Schürer, English Department

""Dr. Norbert Schürer joined the English Department at CSULB in 2003. He teaches courses and does research on literary theory, 18th-century British literature, and on major authors such as Jane Austen and
J.R.R. Tolkien. His recent publications include the anthology British Encounters with India with Tim Keirn (2011), the collection of primary materials Charlotte Lennox: Correspondence and Miscellaneous
Documents (2012), the cultural guide Berlin (2014) and the Long Beach local history study Boom and Bust: Miner Smith and his 1920s California Bungalow Mansions (2015).

He engages with students not just beyond the classroom, but beyond the country: Every other winter session he and Tim Keirn take students to India for a study-abroad experience.

Schürer was elected a member of the Academic Senate in 2008, became a member of the Executive Committee in 2014, and has been Chair of the Academic Senate since 2016. He models the importance of shared governance across all levels and divisions on campus. He worked on projects such as the General Education policy and the new CSULB definition of student success. His main interest has been improving communication on campus and ensuring that all constituents are consulted in all decision. Schürer’s success in his role as Chair has been based on his ability to maintain key collaborations in all academic environments.

Community Service Award - Staff

Mitra Baghdadi, Department Coordinator, Anthropology

""Mitra Baghdadi is involved in issues related to diversity, social justice, equity, and equality at a local and national level. She is a member and has served as Board of Directors for the Iranian-Persian American
Association of Greater Long Beach (IPAA), which aims to promote the Persian/American community’s involvement in local social events. She also runs fundraisers and donations for the Rescue Mission of
Long Beach and Homelessness Services. 

In addition Baghdadi links the CSULB Anthropology department with City Council Member Suzie Price, and the Long Beach Homeless Services. United, they research the challenges of outreach and service provision to the wide-ranging homeless population.

Baghdadi’s concerns for the community extend to national and international issues such as the travel ban. For example, in 2017 she reached out to Representative Alan Lowenthal’s office to speak about the legal and social consequences of President Trump’s so called “travel ban.” She organized a group of students to attend a town hall meeting to speak with Representative Lowenthal. Baghdadi worked to help students impacted by this Executive Order to find free legal advice and to access necessary counseling services.

As the Chair of Diversity for the American Association of University Women in state of California, Baghdadi promotes women empowerment. She developed research tools and educational programming to study and expand diversity and inclusion in membership throughout AAUW California.

One of Baghdadi’s most recent achievements is her new position as one of the staff representatives for the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. She now partakes in the Publicity & Public Relations Committee and the Colloquium Committee within the organization.

For the complete list of award recipients, please read the article:

Two CLA Students Win 1st Place in the 33rd Annual California State University Student Research Competition


California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) played host to the 33rd Annual California State University Student Research Competition on Friday, April 26th and Saturday, the 27th, 2019. This system-wide competition showcased the innovative research and creative activities of CSU undergraduate and graduate students in the full range of academic programs offered by the CSU. Student participants made oral presentations before juries of professional experts from major corporations, foundations, public agencies, colleges and universities of California.

The competition is held annually to promote excellence in undergraduate and graduate scholarly research and creative activity. It recognizes outstanding student accomplishments from throughout the twenty-three campuses of the California State University.

Session 1 – Behavioral and Social Sciences, Undergraduate

""Yohanna Brown, CSU Long Beach 1st 
The Role of Glucagon Like Peptide 1 Receptors on the Rewarding
Effects of Oxycodone in Male and Female Adolescent Rats






Session 9 – Humanities and Letters, Graduate

""Avery Amerson, CSU Long Beach 1st 
Wittgenstein, Extended Cognition, and the Problem of Other Minds






Both Yohanna and Avery also placed 1st in the CSULB competition.  Please join us in congratulating Yohanna and Avery on their awards.

CSU Long Beach Geography Department and Students Receive Awards


Our own CSULB Geography Department received the 2019 Honorable Mention for MA/MS Program Excellence Award from the American Association of Geographers (AAG), runner-up to Western Michigan University. We were nominated by our Regional Division, the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, one of nine regional divisions in the AAG. Up to two programs from each division may be nominated.  Our Geography Department received the Honorable Mention for both our MA in Geography and MS in Geographic Information Science.

The AAG Program Excellence Award is now entering its fifth year and recognizes geography programs granting masters-level as the highest degree. Congratulations to our faculty and students in the MA and MGISci programs!




Duncan MacIntosh, Second Place prize in the Pix4D research poster competition

Katherine Georges and Katie Wade won for best papers presented at a regional meeting.


CLA Faculty Members Receive University Awards

Five faculty members from CLA have won university awards. Please join us in congratulating:

  • Dr. Hugh Wilford (History) – Distinguished Faculty Scholarly and Creative Achievement Award
  • Dr. Jake Wilson (Sociology) – Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award
  • Dr. Clorinda Donato (RGRLL & The George L. Graziadio Chair of Italian Studies)   – Outstanding Professor Award
  • Dr. Jennifer Fleming (Journalism and Mass Communication) – Distinguished Faculty Advising Award
  • Dr. Leakhena Nou (Sociology) – 2016 Community Service Award

Lauren Rauscher (HDEV) Earns Distinguished Faculty Award

Since becoming a faculty advisor in the Human Development Department in 2008, the number of students Lauren Rauscher advises has grown considerably, from 376 students to 632.

Despite the significant increase in the number of majors, she makes it a priority to get to know students both academically and personally so she can best help them achieve success and be a mentor they can trust. She works diligently to accommodate students’ schedules, ensuring there is plenty of time for them to discuss concerns and create plans for success. She meets with students individually, in weekly new majors sessions and during walk-in advising hours.

Social, economic, and cultural factors shape student experiences, and being attentive to the barriers and opportunities they present for students is key for successful advising. More than 50 percent of students at CSULB require remediation in math, English or both; an overwhelming number (more than 90 percent) combine paid work with school; a significant number are first-generation college students; and many struggle with depression and anxiety.

“Conversations with many students in our department reveal that our students face public transportation issues to get to campus, some taking three buses each way from home to school,” said Rauscher. “Others are responsible for juggling significant family responsibilities while they move toward degree completion—caring for their own children, their siblings, their parents, and/or holding multiple jobs so that they can contribute financially at home.”

Rauscher has learned that other students are homeless and live out of their cars. And, given that the human development major is 95 percent young women, she frequently talks with students about their experiences with sexual assault and stress between gendered and cultural expectations of them and their own aspirations. These structural and cultural constraints have a significant impact on the path to degree completion and post-graduate plans. Rauscher strives to create open spaces for students to talk about these issues, create student-specific plans for success, and connect them with additional resources on campus for support, if needed.

She serves on students’ theses committees and often meets with students informally to discuss graduate school and their professional goals. Since becoming an advisor, she has written more than 200 letters of recommendation for graduate school, academic awards, scholarships and study abroad opportunities.

When not on campus, Rauscher serves as chair of the board of directors for Girls on the Run of Los Angeles County, a sports-based positive youth development program designed to educate and prepare preteen girls for self-respect and healthy living. To date, more than 30 CSULB students have participated in Girls on the Run as mentors, research assistants and interns.

Adapted from Inside CSULB’s larger piece “Rauscher, Speirs Ali, Shon Earn Distinguished Faculty Awards.”

Photo: Lauren Rauscher (c) with College of Liberal Arts’ Dean David Wallace and CSULB Interim President Donald Para

Distinguished Faculty, Scholarly & Creative Achievement Award

Dr. Kim-Phuong Vu


Dr. Kim-Phuong Vu’s research is making air traffic safer, websites easier to navigate, and devices with displays and controls easier to use.

Recognized internationally as an expert on stimulus-response compatibility, Dr. Vu’s research focuses on:

• How performance improves with certain mappings of stimuli to responses, which has implications for how displays and controls should be organized and mapped in order to achieve efficient performance with minimal errors;

• Human-computer interaction, which is concerned with designing computer interfaces and products with users in mind so that they are most effective;

• Human factors issues in operating advanced air vehicles, air traffic management concepts and automation technologies and evaluating interface design solutions for the advanced displays and controls associated with new technologies.

Since she arrived at CSULB in 2005, Dr. Vu has served as principal investigator, co-investigator or senior personnel on eight grants or funded projects totaling more than $8 million from NASA, NSF, The Boeing Company, Northrup Grumman Corporation and the CSU Chancellor’s office.

Dr. Vu has authored or co-authored 29 peer-reviewed journal articles and was lead editor for a major handbook, the Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design (2nd ed), which was released this month. She has co-authored one book, Stimulus Response Compatibility Principle. She has published 12 book chapters/encyclopedia entries and 31 conference proceedings papers. Her work has been positively received nationally and internationally, being cited by researchers 251 times in 40 journals. She has been invited to give five talks and has had over 40 spoken or poster presentations at professional conventions.

“Dr. Vu is conducting a wide-ranging, integrated and exceptionally productive research program that not only pulls in collaborators from other institutions, but also incorporates training of CSULB students at graduate and undergraduate levels,” said Psychology Department Chair Ken Green. “She has been a key figure in obtaining an impressive amount of grant support and has already achieved international prominence through her accomplishments.”

Community Service Award: Student

Asha Nettles


For the past year, senior Asha Nettles has volunteered with the YWCA, helping victims of sexual assault.

As a sexual assault advocate, she has handled a wide variety of tasks, like manning the 24-hour hotlines, helping her supervisor prepare for presentations, sitting with sexual assault victims through physical exams and accompanying them to the police station or courthouse. In the past few months, she has volunteered to serve as on-call supervisor for an assigned week, in which she provides support to her fellow advocates during their work.

“Over the course of my training and time as an advocate, I have learned the value of the service I provide,” Nettles said. “One night as I was sitti ng with a young lady through her physical exam, she shared that she thought that because she had no family around during this difficult time, that she would be alone. She cried knowing a complete stranger cared enough to give up two hours during the night to just be there and support her. It was then, only a few weeks into my service, that I realized it would never be about what I’m not paid or how I benefit, it would always be about giving someone a moment of peace and comfort.”

Nettles also serves as a student representative for the Association of College Unions International for which she develops the student workshops session track for the association’s annual regional conference and provides support and input to the rest of the regional leadership team. She is also a campus ambassador for Stop Child Trafficking Now.

In addition, Nettles serves as the chair of the University Student Union Board of Trustees, the vice president of the Criminal Justice Student Association and a student leader for Ethnos Campus Ministry.

Nettles will graduate in May with her bachelor’s degree in sociology and a minor in criminal justice. She plans to pursue her master’s in counseling this upcoming fall, as she has recently been admitted to the student development and higher education program at CSULB.

Community Service Award: Faculty

Dr. Kristine Zentgraf


What may be above and beyond the call of duty for other faculty members is business as usual for Dr. Kristine Zentgraf. She has been a strong supporter of immigrant students and families in the greater Long Beach area as well as an advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and economic justice issues.

Her special relationship with immigrant students, including those who are undocumented, began six years ago, long before there was a formal faculty-staff AB 540 student ally program. Immigrant students began to seek her out because they’d heard her give talks about the effects of U.S. immigration policies on youth and families. A member of the Sociology Department since 1998, Dr. Zentgraf works tirelessly with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition (LBIRC) to help provide a path for legalization for undocumented students and has helped to organize community fundraisers that benefit immigrant students at CSULB.

As part of her work with the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition, Dr. Zentgraf has reached out to the larger community at a number of public events including Long Beach’s Latin American Festival, and its Cesar Chavez Festival and she regularly speaks to community and religious groups about immigration and the importance of immigration reform. She served as co-organizer of the first Interfaith Service on Immigration held in 2010 at the First Congregational Church. Dr. Zentgraf has also played a vital role in LBIRC’s free immigrant legal clinics and “Know Your Rights” trainings for undocumented immigrants. Dr. Zentgraf was a founding member of the Long Beach Coalition for Good Jobs and a Healthy Community from 2008 to 2010.

She received the Distinguished Faculty Teaching Award in 2005. She received her bachelor of arts in sociology from CSULB in 1986 and went on to UCLA where she earned her master’s in 1988 and her doctorate in 1998.

Early Academic Career Excellence Award

Dr. Ali Iğmen


In the past five years, Dr. Ali Iğmen has established himself as an expert on Central Asia, the Soviet Union, the Middle East, and Oral History, as a dedicated instructor who has enhanced the World History curriculum and as a strong collaborator, working closely with colleagues at CSULB and universities throughout the world.

Since he joined the History Department in 2006, Dr. Iğmen has established a new Central Asia and Afghanistan curriculum and is working to create a Central Eurasian concentration in the History Department. He is co-director of the Middle Eastern Studies program and director of the Oral History Program, which he has enhanced by redesigning courses to meet students’ needs. Since Dr. Iğmen took over the program, there has been an increase in the number of students enrolling in oral history courses.

Dr. Iğmen has been highly active on campus, serving on 10 committees within CSULB, seven graduate master’s thesis committees, two committees in the Central Eurasian Studies Society and on the organizing committee for CSULB’s “Modern Genocides and Global Responsibility” Conference in 2007. He is especially proud of the conference he organized at CSULB in 2007 titled “Eurasian Women and Self-Reliance: Religion and Education in the Contemporary World” which addressed women’s positions and roles in forging contemporary identities in several Eurasian societies during the 20th century and today.

Dr. Iğmen’s research has taken him all over the world. He has been invited to participate in conferences and workshops at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, Harvard University, San Francisco State, UCLA and the Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara, Turkey, where he joined a roundtable on the April Uprising in Kyrgyzstan. Since 2008, he has invited to CSULB four young Kyrgyz scholars, specializing in American Studies, through the Junior Scholar Development Program.

His recent book entitled Speaking Soviet with an Accent: Craft ing Culture in Kyrgyzstan is under review by the University of Pittsburgh Press. It explores the Soviet processes of establishing cultural policies in “Soviet Houses of Culture, National Festivals and Theater” in the 1920s and 1930s. His most recent article “Kyrgyz Houses of Culture, 1920s and 1930s” in “Reconstructing the Soviet and Eastern European Houses of Culture,” will be published by Berghahn Press of Germany in 2011. Dr. Iğmen is currently working on his second project “Daughters of Kyrgyzstan: Gender, Power, and National Politics in Twentieth-Century Central Asia.”