Four Cal State San Bernardino students have been selected to participate in the prestigious International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Sayeeda Mostafa, Evangelina O’Leary, Christopher Sayegh and Elliott Sazo will study abroad in New Zealand, where they will collaborate with leading researchers for 10 weeks, gaining invaluable insights and expertise in their respective fields.

The IRES program fosters international research and related activities for U.S. science and engineering students. The CSUSB students will conduct original research with a focus on materials science as they embark on international scientific exploration. The program covers students' travel expenses and provides a stipend to facilitate their stay and research activities abroad.

“The NSF's IRES program provides a unique platform for our students to engage in high-quality international research, education, and professional development experiences,” said Sastry G. Pantula, dean of the College of Natural Sciences. “We appreciate our faculty who are providing outstanding mentoring and high-impact opportunities for our students. Our student participation underscores our commitment to fostering global engagement and excellence in science and engineering education.”

Mostafa and O’Leary, chemistry majors, will work on water treatment using native plant-derived materials, and on small-scale electrochemical techniques, which may be able to detect drug molecules in cells. Sayegh and Sazo, physics majors, will conduct research in superconducting aerospace propulsion – breakthroughs in this area could reduce greenhouse gas emissions from airplanes by 70 percent.

For the aspiring scientists, the program is a significant milestone in their academic journeys, offering them a unique opportunity to expand their horizons, forge international connections and contribute to cutting-edge research initiatives.

With a focus on active participation by students in high-quality international research, education and professional development experiences, the IRES program seeks to cultivate a globally engaged workforce equipped with top-tier skills.

“International travel and research can be a life-changing experience,” said Kimberley Cousins, professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “IRES students are poised to become international leaders.”

Timothy Usher, professor of physics and principal investigator for the NSF IRES grant, echoed that sentiment.

“These outstanding students are the future leaders in international scientific research,” said Usher. “Their accomplishments should serve as an inspiration for other students to take bold steps and seek out opportunities available to them at CSUSB.”

At Cal State San Bernardino, the Center for Advanced Functional Materials is a hub for cutting-edge research and academic innovation. The university offers a master of science degree in material sciences to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate the advanced functional materials field. For information, visit the Center for Advanced Functional Materials website.