Queensborough is Sole Community College to Have its Students Present at the American Chemical Society Northeast Regional Meeting

Queensborough students presented some 35 posters out of a total of 127 –nearly 30%–at the 2013 American Chemical Society (ACS) Northeast Regional Meeting (NERM), held at Yale University on October 26. Queensborough presented the highest number of undergraduate poster presentations of any other college or university and was the only community college to participate at the event.

Chemistry major Sandy Enriquez, now in her fifth semester, presented four posters on her research findings—two from her internships at the Department of Environmental Protection and Stony Brook University—and two from her research projects completed under the mentorship of Dr. Paris Svoronos of the Department of Chemistry.

“Each time I conduct research in another scientific area it challenges my mindset, which is so important,” said Sandy, who received training from faculty to use Ultraviolet-visible Spectrophotometer and HPLC High-Performance Liquid Chromatography equipment for her study on Determination of Antioxidants in Juices. “I’m inspired by the idea of applying select research to the practical needs of people as consumers,” added Sandy, who plans to continue her studies in organic chemistry at a four-year college or university and aspires to become a general practitioner. Sandy participated in both the 2012 and 2013 Annual Honors Conference.

“This a clear result of a strong inter-departmental collaboration that transformed hard work and long hours in the lab into a wonderful, successful experience for our outstanding students and committed mentors,” said Dr. Paris Svoronos of the Department of Chemistry, who was elected Chair of the ACS-Long Island subsection in 2002 and Chair of the ACS-New York section through 2015.

Undergraduate research in Queensborough’s Department of Chemistry began in 2000 with just one student. By 2004, Queensborough had the highest number of student presentations at any American Chemical Society Conference on the city, region and nation-wide levels.

As a result of these successes, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Queensborough a $1.7 million dollar Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) grant that help support student research internships, poster presentations and conference participation. The Project Director of the NSF grant is Dr. Paris Svoronos along with co-directors Dr. Mel Gorelick, Biological Sciences and Geology and Dr. Thomas Strekas, Chemistry, Queens College.

Subsequent to their initial research experiences at Queensborough, former students have been awarded paid summer research internships at prestigious four-year colleges such as Cornell University, Stony Brook University, SUNY Binghamton and Rutgers University, to name a few. Rana Said-Edwards, Class of 2009, won the Best Undergraduate Thesis award upon graduation from Stony Brook University in 2011. Another research “pioneer,” Hoda Mirafzal, Class of 2003, is currently an Assistant Professor in Chemistry at Florida State University.

Queensborough hosted the annual ACS-New York section Undergraduate Research Symposium in 2004, featuring keynote speaker 2002 Novel Laureate, John Fenn; and in 2008 with keynote speaker Dr. Jaimelee Rizzo, Class of 1996. Dr. Rizzo is currently Professor and Deputy Chair of Chemistry at Pace University. Queensborough has been asked to host the event again in 2015.

Queensborough faculty elected as chairs of the ACS-Long Island subsection include: Dr. Paris Svoronos–2002; Dr. Luis Vargas-2003; Dr. Sasan Karimi-2005; Dr. David Sarno-2008; Dr. Jun Shin-2009; Dr. Jordan Verdis-2010; Dr. John Schmermund-2012 and Dr. Marlon Moreno-2014.

Faculty mentors across several areas of study coalesced to help prepare students for the NERM exposition.

Biological Sciences and Geology: Drs. Nidhi Gadura, Andrew Nguyen, Mangala Tawde, Monica Trujillo, Naydu Carmona, Susan McLaughlin and Areti Tsiola-Tsimounis
Chemistry: Drs. David Sarno; Derek Bruzewicz, Sasan Karimi, Jun H. Shin, Julie Pigza, Soraya Svoronos, Paris Svoronos as well as College Lab Technicians Pedro Irigoyen; Bruce Montalbano; Gobind Vaswani and Tian Chun (Andrew) Xu
Engineering Technology: Dr. Kee Park
Physics: Dr. Dimitrios Kokkinos