Rewarding Creativity

A celebration of undergraduate research, creative activity and faculty-student collaboration was observed for the third consecutive year at Jamestown Community College.

On Wednesday, JCC’s 2014 Scholars Day event provided an opportunity for the JCC community, as well as area high school students, to glimpse the research and activities that are being undertaken by JCC students in a variety of fields.

Arrayed throughout the Hamilton Collegiate Center’s student union, 18 students of the Jamestown campus – each sponsored by a specific JCC faculty member – were stationed in front of posters displaying the work that they have been involved with during the current academic year at JCC. According to Nelson Garifi, director of marketing and academic initiatives, the event was originally conceived as an extension of other efforts by the college to recognize the achievements of its students.

“It coincides with the rebirth of our honors program and an increased emphasis on experiential learning, so those two things come together in this event,” Garifi said. “The students are all poised to talk about their individual projects. Each student has a faculty sponsor, so it’s very much about collaboration between faculty and students.”

Felix Muzza, interim coordinator of experiential learning, said the students chosen for the event were gathered through recruitment efforts in several academic areas within JCC’s catalog.

“We dialogue with our deans, directors, coordinators and professors, and ask them to send any instances of creativity and research taking place in the classroom to us so we can formalize it,” Muzza said. “Then we have (the students) create a poster, and we host a day where they can display their end product and dialogue with other JCC students, and also high school students from the area.”

Muzza said this year’s event hosted approximately 90 area high school students from three districts – Brocton, Dunkirk and Falconer.

“They’re on campus and are participating in break-out sessions,” he said. “This event allows the high school students to have a great opportunity to see what JCC is all about, and hopefully they’ll put JCC right on top of their lists as far as higher education.”

In addition to earning recognition through displaying their work, the JCC students also gained experience toward presenting in a professional setting.

“The point of everything we do here at JCC is to facilitate student learning, and today’s event underscores that commitment,” said Marilyn Zagora, JCC vice president. “It’s an opportunity to demonstrate some of the diverse and unique ways in which we’re challenging our students. It’s also beneficial from a professional standpoint, and serves as good practice for if they ever need to make a poster presentation.”

The event concluded with an awards ceremony, given by JCC President Dr. Cory Duckworth, for best student presentation.

The first-place award went to Maria Sena for her presentation entitled, “Meprin a Mediates CCL2 Activity in Murine Bone Marrow Cells Using a Model of Breast Cancer Chemotherapy.”

The second-place award went to Forrest Wendaur for his presentation entitled, “Detection of Mutations in Canine MDR-1 Gene Using Non-Invasive Methods.”

The third-place award went to Christina Walter for her presentation entitled, “The Influence of Women on the Development of the Castle at Chenonceau.”

A variety of other topics were presented by the remaining JCC students, who included: Kendall Wright, John Canning, Sara Elfritz, Blake Peterson, Luciana Sena, Taylor Kickbush, Kristen Kowalski, Blake Bailey, Lars Benson, Rey Muniz, Jenna Clauson, Rebecca Crosson, Brooklyn Ford, Erica Ireland and Megan Putnam.

JCC’s Cattaraugus County campus in Olean will also be hosting its own Scholars Day event – featuring seven student presenters – today at 12:30 p.m.