Edward Zakher, an economics major at Cal State San Bernardino, walked away with first place honors with the top scoring presentation in his section at the California State University’s Student Research Competition held last weekend.

Winning first place felt amazing. After winning second place in last year’s CSU research competition, I gained a lot of confidence in my ability to perform research, but I was also shown what separates me from being someone who could get first place,” said Zakher. “So, to me, winning first place showed progress. Progress in my ability to conduct research, in my ability to present, and for my goals to make economic policy.”

As part of his top finish, Zakher won a $500 cash award for his presentation “To Leave Without Leaving” in the Business, Economics and Hospitality category of the competition. His mentor is Yasemin Dildar, an assistant professor in the CSUSB Department of Economics.

Zakher said he chose his research and presentation "To Leave Without Leaving" “because of how women are heavily underrepresented within the U.S. Despite being a first world country with the largest GDP, the U.S. lacks a significant amount of policy shared by other first world and even some developing countries aimed at helping women, most notably paid parental leave. As not just a U.S. citizen but as a human being, I believe research has a strong duty to help in the creation of policy geared towards creating an equal society.

Zakher, who hopes to become an economics scholar and aid in the creation of public policy within the United States, was one of 10 CSUSB graduate and undergraduate students who showcased their research work at the CSU competition after being named winners at CSUSB’s 35th annual Research Competition held in February.

The  CSU competition consisted of 197 presentations made by 230 CSU students with an attendance of about 230 people, mostly student presenters and their guests, said Elisa Mitchell, program and assessment coordinator in the Office of Undergraduate Research at Cal Poly Pomona.