News Release| CSU Student Research Competition; Cal State L.A.

Cal State L.A. dual finishes among the top at CSU Student Research Competition

Research on Saturn ring temperature, video processing earn Dobson, Mejia second-place honors, respectively

Los Angeles, CA – Two Cal State L.A. students—Coleman Dobson and Victor Mejia—recently took home top awards from the 25th Annual CSU Student Research Competition at Fresno State University.

Picture of Victor Mejia.

Victor Mejia’s research—which won second place in the Graduate division of the Engineering and Computer Science category—was focused on developing an automatic and robust moving object detection and tracking method for high resolution video sequences that could be utilized in a wide range of areas: from residential security to space exploration.

According to Mejia, a computer science major, automatic moving object detection has been important with applications in video surveillance, robotic navigation, and obstacle avoidance. His research proposed a software framework that uses a hybrid detection scheme with motion-color features followed by a statistical optimization step to increase the accuracy of the boundaries of the detected objects.

Mejia’s research presentation was titled “Automatic Detection for Tracking Moving Objects in H.264 Video Sequences Using Multiple Features and Gaussian Approximation.” His faculty mentor was Eun-Young Kang, associate professor of computer science at CSULA. 

Picture of Coleman Dobson.

Coleman Dobson’s research—which also won second place in the Undergraduate division of the Physical and Mathematical Sciences category—investigated Saturn’s ring particle temperature variation based on model simulations.

According to Dobson, Saturn’s B ring particle temperature decreases with increasing viewer angle above the ring plane for low-phase angles, while the ring particle temperature increases for the same conditions at high-phase angles when the B ring is modeled with large, slowly rotating particles in the center of the ring (with a vertically extended cloud of small, isothermal particles).  At low-phase angles, the temperature is dominated by the larger, slowly rotating particles, while at high-phase angles, the temperature is dominated by the vertically extended, small isothermal particles.  The fraction of fast and slow rotators also directly influences the temperature behavior.

A double major in mathematics and physics, Dobson’s research presentation was titled “Saturn Data Analysis and Thermal Modeling.” Her mentors were Linda Spilker of NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Susan Terebey, associate professor of physics and astronomy at CSULA. 

Eight other student projects from Cal State L.A. were presented at the CSU Conference. The research topics range from antifreeze protein to mussel beds. For a list of CSULA’s 2011 delegates: /univ/ppa/newsrel/studresearch-delegates2011.htm

The awards for research and creative scholarly activity were presented to 36 outstanding CSU undergraduate and graduate students. Participating at this event were 225 students who had earned honors at their campus levels.

With students from throughout the 23-campus CSU system, the competition covered ten categories, each with undergraduate and graduate levels. Each student was given ten minutes to present to a jury, which then had five minutes to ask questions.

Cal State L.A.’s participants at the statewide competition were selected at a recent campus symposium on research and creative activities. The symposium encourages all Cal State L.A. students—undergraduate and graduate in every discipline—to showcase their projects and provides opportunities to network with administrators, faculty and peers. For a list of winners for this year’s CSU Student Research Competition, go to  

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