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Mercer Honors Students Present Findings of Research Projects


West Windsor, N.J. – A large group of students and faculty members gathered on Mercer County Community College’s West Windsor campus on Thursday, Oct. 4, to hear about the science projects completed by MCCC Honors Science students over the summer.  The subjects of study that were covered included biology, chemistry, and physics, and students carried out their projects under the guidance of scientists from the N.J. State Police, Princeton Plasma Physics Lab and Princeton University.

“We are really proud of our students and what they were able to take away from these research projects,” said MCCC Associate Chemistry Professor Helen Tanzini, noting that one student, Alana Boswell, did her own legwork to be able to work with the N.J. State Police under the direction of Sgt. Cowden.  Her project, “NJSP Ballistics: Arms of Evidence,” inspired several questions from students and faculty.
From left: MCCC Chemistry Professor Helen Tanzini, Honors students Semion Ribanksy, Alana Boswell, and Ludwik Gorczyca, Biology Professor Diane Hilker, Physics Professor Jing Huang, and Princeton University Professor Mark Brynildsen. Not pictured is Honors student Jacob Florer-Bixler.

“I was able to do a lot of things that you wouldn’t be able to do at a typical internship,” said Boswell, recalling how she was able to examine guns and bullets under a microscope, as well as get some practice shooting at targets.  After finishing up her biology and chemistry studies at Mercer this summer, she has now transferred to the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Other student presenters included Jacob Florer-Bixler, who worked on his project, “The Dirty Work of Clean Energy Research: Health Physics and Environmental Compliance,” under the direction of Virginia Finley in Princeton Plasma Physics Lab; and Semion Ribansky, who researched the “Princeton Advance Test Stand” under the guidance of Andrew Carpe at the same lab.  Ludwik Gorczyca worked at Princeton University under the guidance of Dr. Mark Brynildsen on his project, “Creating a Synthetic Persister Using the Datsenko-Wanner Protocol.”

The Honors Research Program is coordinated through MCCC science faculty members. To participate, students must have at least a 3.0 GPA in their science classes, be recommended by an MCCC professor, and devote a minimum of six hours per week at the research institution.

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