Microbiology Research Symposium Gets Students Excited about Science

Microbiology Research Symposium Gets Students Excited about ScienceWith jobs requiring technical/science skills expected to boom in the next decade, El Camino College Compton Center is helping students explore education and careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

One way ECC Compton Center is getting students motivated about pursing degrees and careers in STEM-related fields is through an annual Microbiology Research Symposium each spring. The symposium was the brainchild of Biological Sciences Instructor Eyob Wallano who has already enlisted ECC Compton Center faculty who teach other science disciplines to join the research symposium planned for 2016. The purpose of the symposium is to help students get oriented with scientific research at the undergraduate level. Students have the opportunity to conduct both hands-on evidenced research and literature-based research.

“The students’ research findings from the Microbiology Symposium provide a way to inform and educate the community about health, medical and environmental issues affecting us all,” said Wallano. “The research symposiums are designed to encourage more students to consider science majors, motivate them to continue to do more research, gain valuable experience, and secure jobs in STEM-related fields.”

This year, 16 ECC Compton Center students from two of Wallano’s microbiology classes conducted 10 different research projects and then presented their findings at the symposium, which was attended by more than 300 students, faculty, friends and family members. The students conducted research that was relative and applicable to their own immediate environment. One of the research presentations from symposium is available for viewing on ECC Compton Center’s You Tube Channel here.

Some of the standout results include those from the “Antibacterial Effects of Hen Egg-White Enzyme” and “Is the Use of Microwave Dangerous?” research projects. In the first project, students found that Hen Egg-White (HEW) is a powerful enzyme called Lysozyme that is equally effective against bacteria growth as disinfectants, antiseptics and antibiotics. In the second project, the students’ research showed that microwaved water does not support plant germination or growth, which could lead to the correlation to and potential impacts of microwaved water or food on human health.

ECC Compton Center offers STEM-related courses via three academic areas: Natural Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, and Career and Technical Education. STEM-related skills are not just a source of jobs, they are a source of jobs that pay very well. According to a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 65 percent of people with bachelor’s degrees in STEM fields earn more than people with master’s degrees in non-STEM occupations.

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