JAMESTOWN - Jamestown Community College had the largest delegation at the first Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative conference held at Montgomery Community College in Bethesda, MD in mid-March.
Finger Lakes Community College, JCC, and two other community colleges are founding members of CCURI, whose goal is assisting community colleges nationwide in the development of undergraduate research programs.
Fourteen students in JCC's biotechnology program attended the conference and were joined by colleagues from other community colleges which have received National Science Foundation funding for undergraduate research programs. Two years ago, the NSF awarded JCC and several other community colleges $3.4 million to support biotechnology undergraduate research opportunities for students.
JCC biotechnology program students at CCURI conference – kneeling: Maria Sena of Ashville, Cody Holzhausen of Frewsburg, Katie Trank of Perrysburg, Gabriel Hrysenko of Dunkirk and Brittany VanDervoort of Kane, Pa.; standing: Chayse Langworthy of Bolivar, Brad Cutler of Salamanca, Tim Zembryski of Panama, Miguel Alvaro of Dunkirk, Andrew Lawrence of Jamestown, Nick Anderson of Jamestown, Jessica Watson of Jamestown, James Salamone of Westfield, Andrew Gerwitz of West Valley and Matthew Robbins, biotechnology lab assistant.
JCC students Gabriel Hrysenko, Katie Trank, Andrew Lawrence and Chayse Langworthy presented their research at the conference.
"Should these students continue to be productive in their research, they could get into a scientific publication, which will help them in applications to medical school and graduate school," said J.M. Crisman, coordinator of JCC's biotechnology program.
"Undergraduate research has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to teach science and to develop a well-prepared science workforce," added Dr. Crisman. "Welders learn to weld in their classes and scientists should learn how to do science in their classes."
CCURI activities are funded by a $3.4 million NSF award that was announced two years ago. This year, an additional $133,000 from the NSF's Widening Implementation and Demonstration of Evidence-based Reforms Program was awarded to CCURI to support the conference in March.
"The goal of the conference was to assess actual and perceived barriers to implementing and sustaining this very successful pedagogy at community colleges, which will assist others in developing successful research programs. We had community colleges from across the country at this conference," Dr. Crisman said.