Students get head start on academics

NORWALK - While many students look for summer jobs at the malls, there are a select few Cerritos College graduates and continuing students who spent the warmer months refreshing and expanding their knowledge on the USC, UC Irvine and Cal State Long Beach campuses this summer.Fourteen Cerritos College students this fall got a jump start in summer working on undergraduate research programs through some summer research internship programs. Dr. Carolyn Chambers, dean of science, engineering and mathematics division at Cerritos College, said these are great ways for students to make a successful transition from a community college to four-year universities and prepare for graduate studies. "These programs provide research training, academic preparation and an opportunity to explore career choices to our students while they receive financial compensation," she said. I appreciate the hard work of the biology and chemistry faculty who identify, encourage, and support their students in participating in the programs." The programs at UCI and CSULB are called "Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program." Funded by the National Institutes of Health, it is designed for transferring students from underrepresented groups to make transitions at a critical stage in their development as scientists. Eight students participated in the Long Beach program and six joined the Irvine program. During the nine to 10 week internships the students got hands-on training in research methods and laboratory techniques, obtained the latest scientific information through seminars, workshops and field trips, and received individualized mentoring and career advising. At the end of the internship, the students presented their research papers. At UCI, Cerritos student Marie Marroquin's presentation was voted the best presentation and another Cerritos student German (Ricky) Rueda came in third. Jovanny Lucero is submitting his abstract on research he conducted during the internship to the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. The Summer Research Internship in Solar Energy at USC was an eight-week internship funded by the National Science Foundation where three selected students from Cerritos College worked in research labs in USC's chemistry department and participated in lectures covering solar energy research, scientific ethics and the graduate school application process. The internship ended with the three students delivering presentations to USC faculty and students ."Because (the three students) were excellent students and immersed themselves into the materials headfirst, they were able to pick up the scientific language and concepts behind their research projects faster than many of our first year graduate students," said Richard Brutchey, assistant professor of chemistry at USC. For Jose Juan Araujo, who participated in the USC program, the internship helped cement his interest in chemistry. It gave him an opportunity to work on hands-on research, get a glimpse of a graduate program and how it works, and get connected with many graduate students and professors. "I enjoyed every day of the summer research program while working very hard," said the sophomore at Cerritos College. Araujo plans on transferring to a UC and pursue a Ph.D. program. "It is our mission to educate competitive scientists, engineers and mathematicians for the 21st century's knowledge-based economy," said Cerritos College President Dr. Linda Lacy. "And these are great examples of our university partnerships to support student success and preparedness in transitioning to four-year universities and entering the workforce."

********** Published: September 30, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 24