Three Mount Wachusett Community College students recently presented their research at Fitchburg State University’s 4th Annual Science Symposium.
The symposium was held on October 26 as an opportunity for FSU faculty from multiple science disciplines to present their research in a poster format. This year, Brett Hamel, Michael Troche and Brandt Bodley-Gomes joined the presentations with Assistant Professor of Chemistry Sunny Nguyen.
“I was very excited and proud of our students taking opportunities to learn many essential skills that will potentially help them in future to land a job as these experiences are in high demand at research universities, hospitasl and industry,” he said.
MWCC’s Dean of the School of Business, Science,Technology, and Mathematics Janice Barney said that she is proud of Nguyen and his students. The presentation is the result of a commitment to research outside of the classroom, she said, and speaks to the dedication of these students. The students have been producing highly technical data on the separation and purification of caffeine in tea, salicylic acid (aspirin) and in acetic acid (varieties of vinegar), she said.
“Dr. Nguyen has made an enormous effort to position our students well, as future scientists, presenting complex data as one does at four-year institutions and certainly at the PhD level,” said Janice Barney. “I have seen what they are doing, and the technique and equipment are highly refined.”
Students who work through independent research will be able to work much more effectively when they get into a university’s lab or a work environment, said Nguyen. Unlike a lab in class, research requires troubleshooting and follow-through that allows students to stretch their knowledge and reasoning skills. Research projects like this also help students realize that the major they want to pursue in the future is the correct one.
“These skills are very important and highly regarded in the university, hospital and industry. From my own experience, knowing these skills will enhance students’ skills and motivate them to excel in their academic and work ethic,” he said. “Importantly these skills also guide students in reaching their goals and narrow down what their professional careers options are in the future.”