A dozen students from Onondaga Community College took advantage of an amazing learning opportunity this summer. They were paid to do scientific research at some of New York State's top colleges and universities. The students are all members of either the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) or the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP).
"These summer research experiences are terrific opportunities for our students," said OCC CSTEP Director Colleen Stevens. "Our students get a chance to utilize and apply their knowledge and skills. The mentorships allow our students to experience authentic science research which is fairly rare for community college students. We are so grateful for these 4-year partners."
One of the OCC CSTEP students who benefitted from the partnerships was Carlos Rodriguez-Bornot. He spent six weeks at SUNY Binghamton working in a laboratory with Biology Professor Heather Fiumera as part of the Bridges to Baccalaureate program. "My research there suggested that copper resistance in yeast is a complex trait, therefore the nuclear genes that were correlated with resistance depending on the mitochondrial DNA might be interacting with the mitochondrial DNA to confer resistance," said Rodriguez-Bornot.
That's pretty heady stuff, especially for someone who had no plans to attend college after graduating from Cicero-North Syracuse High School in 2021. Rodriguez-Bornot received his diploma and decided to go to work, trying a variety of jobs. After several months (and several jobs), he landed at eyeglass maker Vision Works. Working with optometrists helped him bring his future into focus. "When I watched them help people, I understood the value of a college education. It was tangible to me what you can do. You go to college to learn more and proactively helping people. And they treated me like a colleague. It changed how I thought about myself when someone I perceived to be higher than me on a social ladder treated me equally."
Rodriguez-Bornot enrolled at OCC in the fall of 2022. He chose the Mathematics & Science degree program with a specialization in Biology, and became a member of CSTEP. He will complete his degree next May and plans to continue his education at SUNY Binghamton where he will work toward becoming a medical doctor.
All of the students who participated in the summer research will show off their work this semester during the Science Symposium. It will be held Wednesday, September 13 from 12pm to 1:30pm in Storer Auditorium. The names of those students and the institutions they studied at are listed below.
- Dairyona Mitchell, SUNY Upstate Medical University
- Alex Espitia-Casallas, SUNY Upstate Medical University
- Elliott O'Connell, SUNY ESF
- Maria Garcia Guntin, Syracuse University
- Ike Unobagha, Syracuse University
- Destiny Jackson Parker, Syracuse University
- Mohammed Noor, SUNY Binghamton
- Carlos Rodriguez-Bornot, SUNY Binghamton
- Awa Diakite, SUNY Binghamton
- Sherly Jean-Paul, SUNY Binghamton
- Jamiya Chandler, Cornell University
- Chaniya Wigfall, Cornell University