SPC Researchers Make D.C. Debut
February 28, 2019
UNIQUE ST. PHILIP'S COLLEGE RESEARCH ALUMNI DEBUT AT D.C. EVENT HOSTED BY THE WORLD’S LARGEST GENERAL SCIENTIFIC SOCIETY
The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM offers a science communication skills professional development opportunity for students from the National Science Foundation’s first program at a community college to increase four-year minority STEM students through hands-on scholarly research lab experiences
Globally-minded current and alumni St. Philip’s College research students debuted in Washington, D.C., last week with a national audience convened by the world’s largest general scientific society.
The national event where St. Philip’s College student researchers appeared for the first time was the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM Feb. 21-24 in the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference is co-hosted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Science Foundation and aimed at helping college and university undergraduate and graduate students succeed in programs funded by the foundation, including underrepresented minorities and persons with disabilities. The conference helps undergraduate and graduate students to enhance their science communication skills and to better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce. Founded in 1848, the association is the publisher of the journal, Science, and includes some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million.
The 2019 event marked the debut of St. Philip’s College student researcher alumni in a professional development opportunity of this magnitude.
The current student researcher in attendance was Matthew Harrison who is a 2018 alumnus of the CIMA (Team) program, and Harrison was joined in the program by CIMA alumnus Markus Potter. As a St. Philip's College student, Potter was not only the first Alamo Colleges District Student Trustee from his college, he and Harrison were among the first four St. Philip's College students performing research as scholars at their own college in the nation's first program funded by the National Science Foundation at a community college to increase the completion rates of minority STEM students by pairing promising Alamo Colleges District member college scholars with UTSA and SPC faculty mentors and their research projects. They represented community colleges that are the source of 20 percent of post-graduate degreed researchers in America.
While Harrison is forecast to graduate from St. Philip’s College in May, Potter is currently enrolled at Texas A&M University on a scholarship. Potter and Harrison were among six CIMA research alumni presenters at the recent conference, representing San Antonio College and Northeast Lakeview College with two researchers each. Several faculty researchers also presented during the event.
Along with understanding STEM careers in a global context and identifying international research and education opportunities, both student poster and oral presentations are primary science communication skills elements of the Emerging Researchers National Conference experience.
Joined by 2018 alumni student researchers Alexandria Jones and Brandon Arriaga, Potter and Harrison are affectionately known as the Fantastic Four for making CIMA history last summer as the first St. Philip's College scholars performing research in Chemistry Research Lab 316 within the Dr. William C. Davis Natural Science Building at St. Philip’s College. The four were joined at the college by scholar Erika Durant of Northwest Vista College and the college’s scholars studied under researchers Dr. Mary Kelaita or Dr. Shane Kendall. The unique research experience began in May and ended in August, and the college is gearing up for another research cohort that begins in May. A symposium featuring scholar-accompanied displays of research by a few of the scholars concluded the 2018 symposium experience.
It’s no underestimation that some of the guests at the August and recent February events may be in authority to help the scholars identify their next research opportunity, making both CIMA and St. Philip’s College a real-time road to further research success for serious scholars. In 2014, St. Philip’s College alumnus David Ochoa Cadena was a member of the first CIMA class when he received his first research offers. The Eastside San Antonio resident is currently attending graduate school in California as the recipient of a $130,000 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program fellowship.
Tomeka Cross Wilson is the grant program coordinator.
“Matthew and Markus both won travel awards to attend the conference and present the research they conducted with the CIMA-LSAMP grant. They competed with such notable institutions as the University of California-Berkeley, The University of Puerto Rico, Tuskegee University, Texas A&M University, Penn State University, and many more. Matthew and Markus both conducted their research under St. Philip’s College faculty mentor Dr. Shane Kendell. Matthew presented his research on biofuel production over metal-organic framework catalysts, and Markus presented his research on synthesis of adipic acid from cyclohexanone over polyoxometalates,” said Cross.
About the 2018 CIMA Scholars at St. Philip's College:
- Markus Potter was a student of science and technology from St. Philip's College in the 2018 CIMA Project Undergraduate Research Program at St. Philip's College and conducted research on Synthesis of Adipic Acid from Cyclohexanone Oxidation over Polyoxometalates in the Chemistry Research Lab with Faculty Research Mentor Dr. Shane Kendell, assistant professor in the college's Department of Natural Sciences
- Matthew Harrison was a student of science and technology from St. Philip's College in the 2018 CIMA Project Undergraduate Research Program at St. Philip's College and conducted research on Toluene Oxidation over Various Heteropoly Compounds in the Chemistry Research Lab with Faculty Research Mentor Dr. Shane Kendell, assistant professor in the college's Department of Natural Sciences. His current research is conducted in Biofuel Production over Metal-Organic Framework Catalysts.
- Erika Durant was a student of health and biosciences from Northwest Vista College in the 2018 CIMA Project Undergraduate Research Program at St. Philip's College and conducted research on Aldol Condensation of Cyclohexanone over Phosphotungstic Acid Derivatives in the Chemistry Research Lab with Faculty Research Mentor Dr. Shane Kendell, assistant professor in the college's Department of Natural Sciences.
- Alexandria Jones was a student of science and technology from St. Philip's College in the 2018 CIMA Project Undergraduate Research Program at St. Philip's College and conducted research on Use of C. elegans in the classroom to effectively communicate genetic engineering using CRISPR technology and gene expression through RNAi in the SPC Chemistry Research Lab and a lab at UTSA with Faculty Research Mentor Dr. Mary Kelaita, assistant professor of biology in the college's Department of Natural Sciences.
- Brandon Arriaga was a student of health and bioscience from St. Philip's College in the 2018 CIMA Project Undergraduate Research Program at St. Philip's College and conducted research on Determining potential for use of non-invasive primate sample collection methods for microbiome, genome, transcriptome, and metabolome studies using the Nanodrop spectrophotometer and GC-MS methods in the SPC Chemistry Research Lab and a lab at UTSA with Faculty Research Mentor Dr. Mary Kelaita, assistant professor of biology in the college's Department of Natural Sciences.
The presentations of awards and recognition for 2019 participants will be posted at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM web page in time. For details on the 2018 Symposium and joining the 2019 CIMA program as a student researcher at St. Philip's College, contact Cross at 210-486-2599, firstname.lastname@example.org. (Image courtesy SPC, Presentation courtesy Emerging Researchers National Conference)