Stem majors present research


Photo courtesy of Breanna McCarthy

Sana Saleem (left) and Kat Elera present their poster about research on Daphnia to students.

Kristen Haun

Faculty and staff were treated to a recap of the Los Medanos College STEM Research Symposium during a assembly May 6 to review the success of STEM initiatives on campus. The May 3 symposium gave students the opportunity to present their research to members of the college community in hopes that it would peak students interest in the STEM program and provide them information about opportunities it provides.

The summary of the symposium included brief presentations made by science, technology, engineering and math professors who help put on the event. About 40 people sat and watched as Nicole Trager, MESA program director, announced there were around 170 people in attendance during the symposium.

“We almost doubled the number of students in the last two years at the symposium,” said Biology professor Briana McCarthy. “It turned out amazing.”

The recap also explained the purpose of the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative of STEM to promote student-lead research.

“We could talk at them for hours,” said Brentwood Math Professor Scott Hubbard, but ultimately students “learn best by doing.”

This statement was underscored by student Estrella Castaneda who came from a campus where STEM was not offered. This is an opportunity, Castaneda said adding that it is “great for future careers to have this experience.” At LMC, STEM provides a “community of students and staff on campus who are interested in science and math”, Trager said. “We have an amazing group of faculty and staff who are passionate about helping students.”

Students such as Zachary Lowe who went to the 2019 CCURI national conference in Glendale, AZ, with his poster on Green Oxidation of a-Pinene, and got an internship to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory credits the STEM program for these opportunities.

Being involved in STEM “helped me get my internship,” Lowe said. “The support you get is amazing.”

Support not only comes through the MESA Club (Math Engineering Science Achievement) and the Math Lab filled with passionate teachers willing to help students with classwork, but also through connections made with other STEM students.

“I’ve met a lot of people,” said Gabriella Morton, a student involved in the MESA club as well as Women in STEM. “I’ve made some really great friends.”

After the presentation recap, 13 out of the 70 student researchers’ posters from the symposium were made available to view. The students who were eager for a second round of review stood and presented their research posters that ranged from antibacterial waste in cow feces to discovering chemical reactions.