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MDC Wolfson Science Students Present Groundbreaking Research to Attendees at NSF Conference


Miami, November 22, 2010 - Miami Dade College (MDC) Wolfson science students received both praise and words of wisdom from the National Science Foundation (NSF) during an industry conference held in Washington, D.C. recently.

After the students presented their research projects, which was sponsored by an NSF grant called the Biotechnology Research Learning Collaborative (BRLC), they received certificates of excellence and by all accounts, acquired a new fan base as well. 

“Their poster presentation and research was incredibly well done,” said Dr. Guillermina Damas, MDC’s science department chair. “It’s exciting to get this kind of feedback from their peers in the scientific community. This type of research is usually not found at a community college, but at the graduate level.”

The BRLC goal was to promote high-level interaction in peer-to-peer environments. The Wolfson campus student researchers -- Katherine Leon, David Riera and Matthew Parker -- saw this as the best method to improving academic success, particularly in the sciences and among minority students.

The students conducted their research under the supervision of Dr. Edwin Ginés-Candelaria and Professor Juan Morata. 

Their work was highly regarded by members of the scientific community and NSF program officers attending the conference. All were able to interact with other students engaged in similar activities at other community colleges and universities throughout the U.S. “What accentuates this particular experience is that their efforts have been supported on-site by MDC’s commitment to excellence in teaching, research and academic scholarship,” added Damas.  

In addition to the presentation, the students were able to share their data with other members of the scientific community and network among students and partners in both the academic and industrial settings.

“This entire experience has provided them a sense of what their future careers will certainly entail,” said Damas. “This certainly has been an amazing experience for our students and has cemented their enthusiasm in STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) related careers.” 

During the two-year implementation of these projects, eight science majors were recruited and trained in various stages of research and industrial experience. With a nationwide initiative in place to recruit and retain minority student interest in math and science, MDC faculty members made sure to choose students from diverse backgrounds. 

Damas added that with the level and quality of training the students received, they are now in a better position to pursue their projects independently. “This training has generated a group of independent workers that would proudly integrate into the scientific and industrial communities,” she added.  

In fact, student researcher Meir Shachar, who participated in the earlier stages of research under Dr. Ginés-Candelaria’s supervision, has already transferred into the upper division STEM program at University of California at Riverside and is currently enrolled in a STEM program with substantial undergraduate research component. 

“The BRLC has paved the road for the recruitment and retention of very qualified and motivated undergraduates, predominantly from economically disadvantaged groups including women, and has set the grounds at MDC for similar upcoming ventures,” said Damas. 

Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Tarnell Carroll, 305-237-3359,, media specialist
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist

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