College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

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September 26, 2012

$30 Million Grant Brings African Students to College, MDP

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Berkeley received $30 million to support bringing Sub-Saharan African students to campus, The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program announced September 26. Two students accepted to the Master of Development Practice are part of the first cohort.

Go the special Fall 2012 Breakthroughs preview story.

Cal Energy Corps Interns Field-Test Smart Solutions

By Roibín Ó hÉochaidh, UC Berkeley Media Relations

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Last week, 32 undergraduates, many from CNR, shared experiences and adventures interning on myriad sustainability projects around the world during the second annual Cal Energy Corps symposium.

Launched in 2011, the Cal Energy Corps provides undergraduates with practical research and experiential-learning opportunities through internships with partner organizations across the academic, corporate and nonprofit sectors. Modeled on the U.S. Peace Corps, the program aims to engage Berkeley students tackling alternative energy, climate change and sustainability issues around the world.

Administered by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the program selected 32 students to participate this year. The program also expanded placement opportunities by partnering with new organizations, including industry giants Bosch, Siemens and Suntech.

Continue reading "Cal Energy Corps Interns Field-Test Smart Solutions" »

September 13, 2012

Berkeley Leads the Way in NSF Fellowships

The National Science Foundation fellowship is a crown jewel of graduate student awards, and, according the UC Berkeley graduate division, Berkeley students lead the nation in capturing these prestigious and highly competitive grants.

From 2001-2011, UC Berkeley boasted more NSF fellowship recipients—1,333—than any other university in the country. Currently, 621 Berkeley graduate students hold the three-year fellowships supporting their research in fields ranging from medical anthropology and bioengineering to environmental sciences and particle physics.

The UC Berkeley Graduate Division profiled six students currently on NFS grants, including two from the College of Natural Resources.

NSF_leaders_b_gaytan175.jpgIn the Department of Nutritional and Toxicology, Brandon Gaytán (right) is working in Chris Vulpe’s molecular toxicology lab to understand the impact of toxics on a cellular level. He hopes to shed light on the health effects of long-term exposure to pesticides and other environmental contaminants.

Gaytán’s work to date has focused on so-called legacy pesticides. Though largely banned, substances like the insecticide dieldrin were heavily used in the past and persist in the environment. “One of the problems in toxicology is we know a lot about these pesticides in terms of high-dose effects, but not a lot is known about long-term effects at low doses, which is what’s happening out there right now,” Gaytán says.

Continue reading "Berkeley Leads the Way in NSF Fellowships" »

September 11, 2012

Listen to the Sounds of California Air Quality

Using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry, environmental science, policy, and management doctoral student Gabriel Isaacman and a colleague from Yale have created sounds from air samples collected around California by Berkeley air pollution researchers. The results are sonic representations of air quality in the Caldecott Tunnel, Bakersfield, Pasadena, and the Sierras.

Read the Atlantic Monthly article.

Read the Bay Citizen Article

Listen to the soundscapes.

September 6, 2012

Wildfire Smoke Linked to Lower Birth Weights

By David Danelski, Press Enterprise

Pregnant women exposed to wildfire smoke during Southern California’s epic 2003 fire season had babies with lower birth weights, UC Berkeley researchers have found.

The scientists examined birth records in areas affected by smoke from seven fires — including the Old Fire that burned across the mountains and into the city of San Bernardino — that altogether consumed 750,000 acres. The results of the study were published online Wednesday, Sept. 5, in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

The differences in the newborns’ weights were small, slightly less than 10 grams for those exposed during the second trimester of the pregnancy, but the finding was significant, said Rachel Morello-Frosch, one of the authors and an associate professor’s at Berkeley’s School of Public Health [and in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Managemeent].

The study shows that climate change can affect health, she said, pointing out that wildfires are expected to become more frequent as the planet warms.

Read the full article at the source.

Crowd-sourced online reviews help fill restaurant seats, study finds

By Sarah Yang, Media Relations

For anyone who has wondered whether crowd-sourced online reviews make a dent in a business’s bottom line, the answer is an unequivocal yes, according to a new study by UC Berkeley economists.

UC Berkeley economists found that online reviews can boost a restaurant’s business. Researchers analyzed restaurant ratings on Yelp.com and found that, on a scale of 1 to 5, a half-star rating increase translates into a 19 percent greater likelihood that an eatery’s seats will be full during peak dining times. The study, published this month in the Economic Journal, found that the increase is independent of changes in price or in food and service quality.

“This is the first study to link online consumer reviews with the popularity of restaurants,” said Michael Anderson, assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics and one of two co-authors. “We show that social media sites and forums play an increasingly important role in how consumers judge the quality of goods and services.”

Continue reading "Crowd-sourced online reviews help fill restaurant seats, study finds" »

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$30 Million Grant Brings African Students to College, MDP
Cal Energy Corps Interns Field-Test Smart Solutions
Berkeley Leads the Way in NSF Fellowships
Listen to the Sounds of California Air Quality
Wildfire Smoke Linked to Lower Birth Weights
Crowd-sourced online reviews help fill restaurant seats, study finds

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