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Exceptional Student Work Showcased at Conference

A student research project entitled “From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank” earned first place at the CAC Student Conference at Lone Star College-Montgomery. Recognized at the Heights of Excellence celebration are Simone Reick, English instructor; Dr. Paullett Golden, English instructor; Adrian Salgado, student; Ryan Rickert, student; Dr. Austin Lane, LSC-Montgomery president; Kevin Rasco, student; James Kubena, student; and Anitha Iyer, biology instructor. Not pictured are students Patricia Sikora Smith, Traci Thrash and Holly Wright.To celebrate a rising standard of student work, Lone Star College-Montgomery hosted its annual Communication Across the Curriculum (CAC) Student Presentation Conference this past spring, where 16 students presented upper-level research projects to their peers, professors, and a panel of judges.
“The conference is a way to recognize students that have done exemplary research above and beyond normal course criteria,” said Dr. Paullett Golden, professor of English at LSC-Montgomery and CAC conference coordinator. “Students experience the actual practice of presenting in a collegiate conference setting while engaging the audience in a conversation about their research.”
The students’ projects covered a range of interests including alternative fuel sources, space exploration, techniques in breast cancer detection, medical imaging, and criminal law. Most presentations stemmed from classroom assignments, and students were nominated for this conference by their professors based on the quality of their research.
Kevin Rasco, who graduated from LSC-Montgomery this May with an associate’s degree in biotechnology, was involved in a group presentation entitled, “From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank.” He, along with six other students, made a presentation on the various facets of creating biodiesel fuel from waste vegetable oil.
“As the LSC-Montgomery Biodiesel Club became better at creating biodiesel fuel, several students branched off into different aspects of the process for more detailed analysis,” explained Rasco, whose research and presentation covered oil properties after conversion. “Time permitting, this project could go on for a long time.”
Overall, there were a total of nine presentations—two groups and seven individual. The students presenting were:
Desiree Adams: “Molecular Breast Imaging”
Dana Baker: “Criminal Law: Up Close and Personal
Carlos Bolivar: “Beyond Spongebob: The Ocean’s True Sponges”
Julia Gibson: “Bivalves: Pearls of Wisdom”
Kathleen Ramirez: “Cephalopods: The Ocean’s Mata Hari”
Lyn Schafer: “Forensics Radiology”
Jeremy Wegner: “Where Are We and Where Can We Go? Going Further Into the Final Frontier”
Michelle Coleman and Josh Munnerlyn: “Algae: We Can Grow Fuel at LSC-Montgomery”
Kevin Rasco, James Kubena, Ryan Rickert, Adrian Salgado, Patricia Sikora Smith, Traci Thrash, and Holly Wright: “From the Fryer to the Fuel Tank
“Through this conference, students see the level of their colleagues, get ideas for future projects, and hopefully, are inspired to raise the bar on their coursework,” said Golden. “Ultimately, it helps to raise the level of expectations across the entire campus.”
While the quality of research in each presentation clearly displayed creativity and independent thought, prizes were awarded to the top three individual and the top two group presentations based on critical thinking skills, topic knowledge, and the overall presentation.
Rasco and his group received first place and were acknowledged at LSC-Montgomery’s campus-wide Heights of Excellence award ceremony held this May.
“The presentation was just a snapshot of all our work, so the challenge was fitting a ton of information done by many students into a very short presentation,” said Rasco. “But it all came together easily, and I hope more students show interest next semester.”
Rasco will enter M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s School of Health Professions this fall to work toward a bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics.
The CAC Student Presentation Conference is a part of the CAC initiative, which encourages interdisciplinary writing, faculty dialogue, and curricular experiments across the campus. The conference has occurred annually since 2006.
For more information about the CAC Student Presentation Conference, contact Dr. Paullett Golden at Paullett.R.Golden@LoneStar.edu.           
LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call 936.273.7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery.
With more than 69,000 students in credit classes for fall 2010, and a total enrollment of more than 85,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area, and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.