Queensborough Students Earn First and Second Place Awards among 104 Presenters at the Sigma Xi 2015 Northeastern Regional Research Conference

Three Queensborough students in the Biological Sciences and Geology Department won first and second place awards for their scientific posters at the Sigma Xi 2015 Northeastern Regional Research Conference at Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, Connecticut on April 18.

A total of 16 Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program (MSEIP) students in Queensborough’s Biology, Chemistry and Physics Departments participated in the conference, along with more than 300 faculty and students from across the region with 104 presentations.

Queensborough students Ricky Shao and Bharti Kumari each won first place in the Life Sciences and Genomics Categories, respectively. Mr. Shao’s research presentation was “Screening a Saccharomyces cerevisiae genomic library to determine copper induced cell death pathways”. Ms. Kumari’s presentation was “Uncovering the genes involved in copper induced cell death pathways by screening Saccharomyces cerevisiae Genomic library”. Brunilda Estrada won second place in the Genomics Category for her work on “Meta-analysis of Rhomboid proteases in 30 Streptomycete Genomes”.

“The goal of MSEIP is to engage our students in an authentic, mentored, long term research experience so that we can increase retention and graduation among STEM students, especially women,” said Dr. Nidhi Gadura, Associate Professor and Deputy Chair, Biological Sciences and Geology, and Program Director, MSEIP Grant. “So far, we have made tremendous gains. The proof is not only in the acceptance of all 16 abstracts for presentation but also winning 3 awards out of 104 presenters, most of which were from senior colleges in the Northeastern region. This goes to show the dedication of our students and the time faculty invests in each student for them to attain that level of success. It gives students the courage to beat all odds and work even harder towards their goals.”

“The success of the students emphasizes their ability to excel beyond their perceived abilities when mentored by dedicated faculty,” said Dr. Paris Svoronos, Professor, Chemistry. “It also demonstrates how the MSEIP grant support can showcase their research findings at professional conferences.”

“Participation at scholarly conferences is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate students,” said Dr. Peter Novick, Assistant Professor, Biological Sciences and Geology. “Not only do students have the opportunity to present their own work, they have potential to win awards.” Dr. Novick further explained that these conferences provide a friendly environment to network with other institutions, specifically four-year colleges. “Dozens of students and their mentors have already greatly benefited from the MSEIP grant. Not only does it help to fund our research, the students receive a stipend for their hard work. My experience has been great and I can’t wait to continue with this program.”

Additional Queensborough students who presented their outstanding scientific research:

Maria Anaya; Jean Carlos Arache; Shovaine Singh; Irene Sun; Farah Gedeon; Mercedes Polanco; Haseeb Shah; Silvia Salamone; Hyo Jung Shin; Brian Um; Udya Dewanamuni; Rahel Steffen and Maria Villa

MSEIP Faculty mentors:

Biological Sciences and Geology
Dr. Nidhi Gadura, Associate Professor, Deputy Chair, and Program Director, MSEIP Grant
Dr. Mohammad Javdan, Assistant Professor
Dr. Susan McLaughlin, Assistant Professor
Dr. Andrew Nguyen; Associate Professor
Dr. Peter Novick, Assistant Professor
Dr. Areti Tsimounis, Assistant Professor
Dr. Sara D. Engoron, Biological Sciences and Geology

Chemistry
Dr. Paris Svoronos, Professor and Co-Principal Investigator, MSEIP Grant
Dr. Jun Shin, Associate Professor
Dr. David Sarno, Associate Professor

Physics
Dr. Sunil Dehipawala, Assistant Professor