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MCCC Science Students Present
Summer Honors Research Projects


West Windsor, N.J. - Each year highly motivated MCCC science students are given the opportunity to pursue honors research projects with biology and chemistry researchers at MCCC and other institutions. This past summer four students took up the challenge. They presented their projects and findings before a packed classroom of fellow students and faculty members on Sept. 23.

Two students worked on projects under the guidance of MCCC Assistant Biology Professor Ron Smith. Keith Blauvelt presented "The Spatial Ecology of the Pine Snake," a project that focused on the habits and habitat of this snake unique to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey. Holly Hagy presented "Nature Disturbed," in which she looked at the growth patterns and population size of four rare plants and the positive and negative effects of disturbances to their environment.

Biology student John Marion worked with Professor James Nickels at Monmouth University. In his presentation, "Marine Science Field Operations," Marion discussed activities including monitoring water quality from eight stations along the New Jersey coastline, benthic habitat mapping using side scan sonar, developing flood warning and monitoring systems, and providing assistance for EPA coastal assessment.

Chemistry student Patrick Puliti worked under the guidance of Dr. Ben Garcia at Princeton University. His project was entitled: "Histone Acetylation of Butyrate Treated Cancer Cells."

In addition to Monmouth University and Princeton University, other research institutions that have partnered with MCCC in recent years include Rider University, Drexel University and Medical Diagnostic Laboratories in Hamilton. The program is coordinated by Associate Chemistry Professor Helen Tanzini and Biology Professor Diane Hilker.

Pictured following the presentations are, from left, MCCC Chemistry faculty member Helen Tanzini, Monmouth University Dean of Science Michael Palladino, MCCC Biology faculty members Ron Smith and Diane Hilker, MCCC Dean of Science and Health Professions Linda Martin, students Holly Hagy, John Marion and Patrick Puliti, MCCC President Patricia Donohue and Vice President Guy Generals.
Biology student Keith Blauvelt presents his project, "Spatial Ecology of the Pine Snake," which focused on the habitat of this snake unique to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

Professor Hilker notes, "This is a chance for our students to delve into real research outside the traditional classroom curriculum. These are the kinds of experiences that can launch future careers."

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 institute.

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