April 8, 2014 | Borough of Manhattan Community College
Richard Harris Terrace buzzed with conversation as student researchers stood by large, three-panel posters and explained their research projects to guests filing up and down the long rows of exhibit tables.
Three faculty judges examined each poster, using a rubric to organize their assessment.
Professor Kibrewossen Tesfagiorgis, one of the judges as well as a civil engineer teaching physics this semester, commented that he was “very impressed by the students’ unique approaches.”
It isn’t easy, he said, to narrow down the choices of a winner.
“I have acquired enough experience from my own poster presentations, and from my research using satellite and radar to assess climatological features like rainfall, to be able to evaluate the core ingredients of a poster,” he explained.
“Methodology must be included; you can ‘mix it up’ with the introduction and abstract, but then you must have a strong conclusion.”
And the winners are…
Six students in three research groups will receive $500 toward travel to a conference where they will present their posters in a national or global context.
Jorge Cortes, working with Professor Anthony Creaco, presented the research project “Employee Registry Maintenance Program, Concept & Coding,” which applied a database program to store the personal information of people in a structured manner.
Jenish Karmacharya and Jeff Hedrick, under the guidance of Professors Alexander Gosslau and Adolfina Koroch, presented their project, “Bioactivity of Two Traditional Medicinal Plants: Ocinum tenuiflorum and Petiveria alliacea.”
The third group of students, Michelle Naidoo, Rada-Mayya Kostadinova and Gabriela Sikorska, were mentored by Professor Abel Navarro and presented their poster on the project, “Bioremoval of Heavy Metals from Wastewaters by Spent Tea Leaves.”
Ongoing support for research
This year’s Student Poster Presentation showcased 48 research projects by 60 students majoring in the social sciences and human services; speech, communications and theatre arts; music and art; science; mathematics; computer information systems and modern languages.
Acting Provost Robert Messina spoke highly of the students’ integrated approaches.
“You work demonstrates BMCC’s ongoing support for scholarly research by both its motivated students and dedicated faculty,” he said.
Director of Research Helene Bach remarked, “I am personally very proud of our faculty and students,” and thanked the Offices of Grants and Contracts and Academic Affairs for providing monetary awards to this year’s three winning groups of students.
She also recognized the efforts of STEM Education Director Everton Barrett as well as LSAMP Coordinators Sefton Bennett and Jenny Paredes.
“It’s important that students do guided research,” says Everton Barrett. “They learn valuable skills they can apply in a senior college. It shows they have knowledge of scientific measurement equipment, and are aware of the conventions and standards of research labs.”
The importance of mentors
While not every student received an award, all gained skills and confidence in the context of closely guided and mentored research.
“Professor [Abdramane] Serme helped me get deeper into the material,” says mathematics major Sammy Dawood. His project, Newton’s Law of Cooling, “applies to how we assess time of death. Professor Serme helped me connect the concepts of time and math.”
Science major Annie Khaw, with classmate Senege Wielingen, presented “A Study of Chloride Intracellular Channel Protein EXL-1/CLIC in Longevity and Muscle Aging.”
Using C. Elegans (pond worms) as subjects, the two students worked closely with Professor Jun Liang Rice. “She helped us conclude that as days go by, muscle function is less efficient,” says Khaw.
Students Karyna Serrano, Humoyun Musaev and Saidakbar Irkakhujaev conducted research that relates to water quality in their project, “Elimination of Cobalt II Ions by Low-Cost Absorbents from Contaminated Wastewater.”
Their advisor, Professor Abel Navarro—who also mentored one of the winning poster teams—“made it enjoyable for us,” says Serrano. “We’re gathering experience that will transfer to our studies in a four-year college.”