CIS major Emilio Gonzalez is nervous. He’s about to present a summary of his research project at BMCC, in a weekly meeting of his LSAMP peers across CUNY.
In the audience are students from LaGuardia Community College, Hunter College, Brooklyn College, Bronx Community College, City College of New York, Medgar Evers College, and NYC College of Technology.
They’re meeting in a Smart Classroom in Fiterman Hall.
Sitting in the front row, poised to give feedback is Claude Braithwaite, the CUNY-wide LSAMP Project Administrator—but he also holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the CUNY Graduate Center and has conducted research in the areas of chemistry, biology, chemical engineering and computer science.
He doesn’t miss much. Or mince words:
Check your facts.
What is the deliverable?
At the end of the day, is this something new?
What does the literature say?
Somehow, when the students sit back down, they seem energized by this grilling. To a person, they are smiling. Their next steps are clear, and their relief is palpable.
Raising the bar
As Emilio Gonzalez stands by a projected diagram of his project—analyzing inconsistencies in clinical terminology software—Professor Braithwaite makes an evaluation based on the investigative question, data interpretation and more.
“You’re basically creating an algorithm to achieve more accuracy,” Braithwaite says, “but what data set do you use to test your algorithm?”
The other students listen carefully as he engages Gonzalez in a conversation on how to raise the validity of his research.
Gonzalez explains that he’s working on “the most comprehensive healthcare terminology system in the world, analyzing inconsistences.”
Long story short, the more consistent the system is, the better able it is to support the cost-effective delivery of care, and facilitate health research.
The search for knowledge
Emilio Gonzalez, who moved to New York City from Miami, is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and has made the Dean’s List for two semesters in a row.
Someday, he says, he wants to present his findings “to a lecture hall full of systems analysts” and secure a position in an advanced IT company, or start his own technology company.
Meanwhile, he is working closely with his mentor, Professor Yan Chen of the BMCC Computer Information Systems (CIS) department.
“She saw I was venturing into Java databases by myself, so she invited me to join her in a research program,” he says.
"Emilio is one of the best students that I have taught at BMCC for 11 years,” says Professor Chen. “He is intelligent, inquisitive and yearns to gain in-depth knowledge.”
BMCC: The only CUNY community college sending students abroad for LSAMP research projects
The LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation) CUNY-wide project encourages historically under-represented full-time students to take part in research assistantships in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields.
Students receive a stipend, and are offered the opportunity to participate in special summer programs.
Recently it was announced that BMCC students Aned Gomez, Finola Fung-Khee and Crystal Mena will participate in the International Research LSAMP Programs, conducting biological research in Colombia and Brazil in Summer 2015.
“Since BMCC offers the right conditions and support for students to develop their research projects, BMCC is the only CUNY community college that will send students abroad to conduct scientific research through the LSAMP program,” says LSAMP Program Coordinator at BMCC, Jenny Paredes.