Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) hosted its second annual STEMfest on Thursday, November 2 in Richard Harris Terrace at the college’s 199 Chambers Street campus.
Over the course of four hours, several hundred students took part in the event, which showcased research and internship opportunities, career options, pathways to senior colleges and other benefits to being a STEM major at BMCC.
“STEMfest is a one-stop shop for our students interested in STEM,” said Helene Bach, Director of Research at BMCC. “We are the only community college both inside and outside the CUNY system with a large, designated space for research and a designated director of research,” she said, adding that research and supporting faculty is part of the BMCC strategic plan.
During STEMfest, STEM faculty spoke about their research projects and students toured BMCC’s research laboratories for biological, biochemistry and other ongoing projects.
Science major Lionel Colon shared his research guided by BMCC Science Professor Sarah Salm, which examines heavy-metal bacteria in the polluted 3.5-mile-long estuary between Brooklyn and Queens, known as Newtown Creek.
“We collect bacteria that can survive in the creek’s heavy-metal polluted conditions, thanks to their DNA called plasmids,” he said, adding that the goal is to someday use those bacteria to clean up other polluted areas.
Engineering Science major Caroline Eco, who is president of the BMCC Robotics Club, presented some of the robots the club has entered into competitions in the past. “A lot of extracurricular activities like clubs and research projects are available for students who want to apply things they have learned in their physics, math and engineering classes,” said Eco.
Dennis Palmer, an Engineering Science major who plans to pursue a career in software engineering, said the BMCC Engineering program is as rigorous as programs he has researched at four-year schools.
“The way the world is revolving, almost everything we do in the future will be centered around technology and computers. I want to be part of that,” said Palmer.