Archive for the ‘1998 Spring’ Category

University Receives Special Effects Software Gift

Wednesday, June 24th, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 1998

Joe Wills
530-898-4143

University Receives Special Effects Software Gift

Students at California State University, Chico will have an opportunity to learn computer graphics software used to produce visual effects for such blockbuster films as “Titanic,” “Independence Day,” “The X-Files Movie,” “Armageddon” and “Godzilla,” thanks to a gift, valued at nearly a half million dollars, from a university alumni.

Chuck Spaulding, director of marketing and business development at Silicon Grail in Hollywood, has arranged for the company to donate the use of 50 copies of its Chalice software to CSU, Chico’s computer science department and Instructional Media Center for the next three years. Chalice is 2D compositing software used to combine multiple film elements into a single image.

The software was used in “Titanic” to composite a series of engine room scenes and a sequence near the end of the film where passengers are seen floating in the water with vapor coming out with every breath. The challenge for the engine room scenes was to composite numerous live action elements into a miniature model of the engine room.

Chalice is currently being used on the upcoming Jody Foster film “Baby Geniuses” to help create the illusion that toddlers can talk. The gift is valued at $435,000. Spaulding graduated from CSU, Chico in 1990.

Rick Vertolli, CSU, Chico computer graphics designer and instructor, said faculty and staff would begin learning Chalice immediately. It will be used in the university’s Instructional Media Center and in computer animation classes this fall. “This is a tremendous opportunity for our students to learn 2D compositing using one of the film industry’s leading special effects software packages,” Vertolli said.

The software offer came after Spaulding asked Vertolli, his former instructor, if the university had thought about using Chalice in the classroom. When Vertolli said the cost might be prohibitive, Spaulding offered to make the gift.

Copies of the software will be installed at the Instructional Media Center in Meriam Library, and at the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology’s computer science labs in the O’Connell Technology Center. Vertolli said that computer animation students would also be able to install the software on their home computers while they are enrolled in the class.

“This is a great opportunity for the students at Chico State,” Spaulding said. “Effects work is more about people than technology. Chalice is simply a tool they can use to composite images in the same way that an artist creates a painting through the use of light, color and composition. Rick has put together a quality program that I’m happy to support any way I can.”

CSU, Chico is already known for its computer graphics facilities and top-notch computer animation students. CSU, Chico students have won “Best of Show” the past two years in the CSU Media Arts Festival.

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CSU, Chico Nursing Graduates Get National Top Ranking

Tuesday, June 23rd, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 1998

Joe Wills
530-898-4143

CSU, Chico Nursing Graduates Get National Top Ranking

California State University, Chico School of Nursing had a top ranking among nursing schools in the United States this year for the rate its graduates passed the national licensing exam to become registered nurses.

In results released this month, the Educational Testing Service reported that CSU, Chico had a number-one ranking for U.S. nursing programs this year because its graduates had a 100-percent passage rate for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).

Of the 217 schools in the country that offer a baccalaureate in nursing, CSU, Chico was one of only 15 to attain the number-one ranking due to a perfect passage rate.

Since the licensing exam can be taken throughout the year, the Educational Testing Service surveyed test-takers between October 1997 and March 1998. During that period, 24 CSU, Chico nursing program graduates took and passed the exam to becomes RNs.

Sherry Fox, director of the school of nursing, said the school’s graduating classes typically have a NCLEX passage rate of over 85 percent, and have had 100-percent passage rates in the past.

She attributed the number-one ranking to an exceptional group of students and the nature of the CSU, Chico program. “Our students work hard and develop close relationships with their professors faculty mentoring is better at Chico than many other schools,” Fox said. “Students also get exceptional clinical experience here.”

Nursing is an impacted program at CSU, Chico, which means there is high student demand for admission. The baccalaureate program accepts 30 students each semester out of an applicant pool of approximately 100, Fox said. The school also offers a master’s degree program in nursing.

The NCLEX is taken using a computer, instead of using the traditional paper and pencil. The Educational Testing Service calls the method of administering the exam Computer Adaptive Testing. Students who correctly answer difficult questions early in the exam will require fewer questions to pass. Test-takers who answer those questions incorrectly receive easier questions that lengthen the exam and may yet allow them to pass. The average time to complete the exam is five hours.

The Educational Testing Service does not report students’ NCLEX scores, but does report what percentage of students needed the minimum number of test questions to pass. For CSU, Chico nursing graduates, 77 percent needed only the minimum number of test questions to pass. At other nursing schools in CSU, Chico’s region, 61 percent of students passed with a minimum number of questions. Other nursing schools in the region include CSU, Sacramento, University of San Francisco, San Francisco State, Long Beach State, San Diego State, and University of San Diego.

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Laxson Gets New Paint, Decorative Ceiling Work

Monday, June 22nd, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 22, 1998

Joe Wills
530-898-4143

Laxson Gets New Paint, Decorative Ceiling Work

California State University, Chico’s Laxson Auditorium will have fresh paint inside and new ceiling decorations when it re-opens in July.

Sixteen new corbels, fiberglass replicas of the originals, were set into place along both sides of the auditorium ceiling last week. The new corbels weigh about 40 pounds, replacing the original plaster corbels that weighed more than 250 pounds.

Painting begins today in the auditorium’s interior. Laxson’s lobby, corridors, stairwell and proscenium are major places where painters will be working.

Floor-to-ceiling scaffolding has been erected throughout the auditorium to install the corbels and allow access for painting.

While Laxson is closed, some minor repairs are also being performed around the auditorium.

Work should be complete by July 10, and Laxson should be ready to re-open July 13. The first public event scheduled for the auditorium is “The Student Prince,” running Sept. 9-13, a co-presentation by University Public Events and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

In October 1997, one corbel fell onto the orchestra seating section of the auditorium while it was unoccupied. A structural engineer determined that the remaining corbels should be replaced. The University determined that planned painting and repair work could take place during the same period as the corbel replacement.

All Weather Contractors of Redding removed the corbels last December, and has also been contracted to do the new corbel installation. The cost of the contract for removal and installation is $69,873.

Signs and Graphic Designs of Chico is the contractor for the manufacture of the corbels. Fabrication was done by Creative Composites of Chico. The cost of the contract to fabricate the corbels is $18,178.

Seismic engineering of the corbels was done by the University’s Facilities Management Design Department, with assistance of Lionakis-Beaumont Design Group of Sacramento.

The painting contractor is Hignell and Hignell Inc. Painting Contractors of Chico. The cost of the painting contract is $39,895.

The scaffolding, which was paid for by All Weather Contractors and Hignell and Hignell, was provided by TC Shoring and Scaffolding of Rio Linda.

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New Book Chronicles Treks Author and Professor Husband Took In and Out of Africa

Wednesday, June 17th, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 1998

Joe Wills
530-898-4143

New Book Chronicles Treks Author and Professor Husband Took In and Out of Africa

Alzada Kistner, wife of well-known California State University, Chico biology professor emeritus David Kistner, has described their experiences in Africa in a new book.

Based on 40 years of research, Professor Kistner, a former CSU system-wide outstanding professor, has written more than 200 scholarly papers and named roughly 500 new species of beetles. Now Alzada Kistner has written a book about what it was like for their family to travel throughout Africa over a 12-year period and do field work in the bush.

“An Affair With Africa: Expeditions and Adventures Across a Continent,” published in hardcover this month by Island Press, is part adventure story and part memoir, as Kistner relates the agony and ecstasy of traveling throughout Africa with specimen boxes, butterfly nets – and two children – in tow.

The book has already received favorable reviews from Kirkus and Publisher’s Weekly, and Kistner has been invited to speak about the book at the world-famous Explorer’s Club in San Francisco this fall.

Kistner will be signing copies of her new book at Magna Carta in Chico tomorrow night, June 18, starting at 7 p.m.

While the Kistners have traveled around the world on expedition, the book focuses on the period between 1960 and 1973, when the family took five trips to Africa to do research on beetles and other insects.

Although David Kistner has been the published biologist and teaching professor, Alzada has been his research partner throughout. They met when both were graduate students at the University of Chicago. She elected to end her graduate work while he pursued his career, but her interest and expertise in biology did not stop; Alzada Kistner is associate editor of the journal Sociobiology, and David is editor.

The book is not a scholarly treatise on biology or African culture; Kistner has instead shared stories, anecdotes and insights on what it was like to be a wife, mother and researcher in Africa when the continent was often in post-colonial turmoil.

In 1960 the family was air-lifted by the U.S. Air Force out of the Congo during political upheaval. In 1972 they were in Angola when it fell apart. Later that same year, they almost caused an international incident in Guinea because of a misunderstanding, and were escorted back out to sea on a river lined with gun turrets.

“We were forever tip-toeing into one confrontation or another,” Kistner said.

Nevertheless, Kistner and the family persevered, assisting David Kistner – almost comically at times – with his research while political unrest was all around them. “There’s something delightful about a white-haired man flitting around with a butterfly net,” she said. “You could say the same thing about a whole family on hands and knees looking at an ant colony.”

Kistner went to Rhodesia and saw apartheid “when it was in full swing.” She met Louis and Mary Leakey, the legendary anthropologists who found the first traces of early humans in Africa. She also saw Adi Amin, the infamous brutal dictator of Uganda.

Kistner, who took two years to write the book, and her husband still travel on expeditions. David Kistner, while an emeritus faculty member, still teaches at CSU, Chico, and works with graduate students. They have lived in Chico since 1957.

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Foundation Gives Grant to New Jewish Studies Program

Friday, May 22nd, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 22, 1998

Joe Wills
530-898-4143

Foundation Gives Grant to New Jewish Studies Program

The Koret Foundation of San Francisco has awarded a $25,000 grant to the new Modern Jewish and Israel Studies Program at California State University, Chico.

Professor Sam Edelman, head of program, said the grant will go toward scholarships, faculty development, a speaker series and support for the program’s fund-raising efforts.

“We are truly grateful to the Koret Foundation for their ongoing support of Jewish studies in Northern California,” Edelman said.

This is the second grant in two years the program has received from the Koret Foundation, a large Bay Area foundation. The first grant was for $15,000 to help establish the program and provide scholarships for students interested in minoring in Modern Jewish and Israel Studies.

“I believe the Koret Foundation is supporting us in part because we are the newest Jewish studies program in the United States,” Edelman said. “We are also the only Jewish studies program in a CSU residential campus. The six other programs in the CSU are in urban commuter campuses. Because of our residential nature, we can offer students opportunities they cannot get elsewhere,” he said.

While courses have been taught at CSU, Chico for a number of years in Modern Jewish and Israel Studies, a formal program was recently formed. Last year, the CSU, Chico Academic Senate and President Manuel Esteban approved the minor in Modern Jewish and Israel Studies for undergraduates, to be housed in the new School of Graduate, International and Sponsored Programs. CSU, Chico also has area studies focused on Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the Pacific Basin.

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Civil Engineers Win Structures Contest in Sacramento

Tuesday, May 19th, 1998

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 19, 1998

Joe Wills
530-898-4143

Civil Engineers Win Structures Contest in Sacramento

California State University, Chico’s award-winning engineering students captured another contest earlier this month in Sacramento when they won the Structural Engineers Association of Central California (SEAOCC) Design Contest.

CSU, Chico won the contest for the second year in a row, defeating CSU, Sacramento and UC Davis.

A team of five civil engineering students built a A-shaped, 5-by-15 foot, steel and wood structure in a timed assembly and then accurately predicted how, and at what load, their structure would collapse.

The same CSU, Chico students who won the structure contest are also on the team which won the American Institute of Steel Construction’s Regional Steel Bridge Competition in April. The students will take part in the national bridge-building competition this weekend, May 22-23, at Colorado State University.

Students in the College of Engineering, Computer Science and Technology have also won national competitions this spring manufacturing a poolside wheelchair lift and racing a human powered vehicle.

The structure design contest was held at CSU, Sacramento on Saturday, May 2, with the awards presentation before a SEAOCC meeting May 12. For coming in first place, CSU, Chico received $400 for its SEAOCC student chapter.

The participating students were Josh Wallace, Jon Mohle, Jason Zwinggi, Suzanne Combs and Brandon Summerrill. The faculty advisers for the team were professors Russell Mills and Joel Arthur. Shop technicians Jim Luallen and Mike Renwick were also instrumental in the fabrication of the structure.

“Probably the greatest reason for the success of Chico students at these events is the hands-on, practical nature of the civil engineering program at Chico State,” said Mills. “Also, there is fantastic teamwork among students, faculty and support staff, without which none of this would be possible.”

The competition had three phases: First, students had to write a report two weeks before the testing phase which consisted of their design philosophy, an analysis of the entire structure, results from laboratory tests of individual components of the structure and complete construction drawings.

The second phase of the competition was the assembly and loading of the structure. The assembly time for CSU, Chico’s structure was under five minutes, while the other teams required over 30 minutes to complete the assembly of their structures.

The final step of the competition was an oral presentation given before professional structural engineers at the May 12 SEAOCC meeting in Sacramento. The CSU, Chico team used computer simulations and presentation software to discuss the design and performance characteristics of their structure.

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