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MCTC Student Receives National Award for Research

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

20140730_1501323432Following an invitation to present her findings at the Minnesota capitol recently, MCTC student Shequaya Broadus was honored at the American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Conference in Boston this summer for her research on bacteria in the Mississippi River. 

ASM awards undergraduate and graduate students every year for their biology research with the Capstone Award. MCTC Biology faculty and ASM member Dr. Renu Bhagat Kumar saw the award as an opportunity for student recognition and informed research students, including Broadus who was undertaking pertinent research, of the award.

“It’s a very prestigious award that few students receive,” said Dr. Kumar.

Broadus and two other students, had begun research the previous summer on the effect industrialization and modern agricultural practices have on bacteria in environmental soil and water. Samples taken from the Mississippi River showed the bacteria had tolerated higher concentrations of metal in the water.

“Our aim was to understand the possible mechanisms of metal resistance these different microbes use and harvest it for bioremediation and possible metal reclamation,” Broadus said.

The three students received assistance throughout their research from multiple MCTC Science instructors, other college lab assistants as well as access to laboratories in the Science Center. The students are also members of the MCTC Science Club, which helped fund their research.

Through a grant awarded to Dr. Kumar from the Education Minnesota Foundation and financial support from MCTC, Dr. Kumar accompanied Broadus to the ASM conference where the research was presented to scholars and peers from around the world.

“Naturally, I felt honored,” Broadus said, “and maybe a bit nervous because I hadn’t ever presented at a scientific convention at the local level, let alone nationally.”

Dean Chuck Paulson commends Broadus and the other students on their accomplishment.

“This is a big deal,” he said. “It’s a rare accomplishment for a community college.”

After finishing up the last of their research, the students hope to see their work published in an academic journal. Dr. Kumar’s students are the latest example of impressive research to come from MCTC students as well as the high-quality academic experience provided at community colleges.

According to Broadus, her experience performing research at MCTC has encouraged her to pursue a career in biomedical research.

Estefanía: A Confident Leader

Posted on: August 26th, 2014 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Estefania HeadshotEstefanía Navarro was hit by culture shock when she came to the U.S. in 2005 and realized Americans didn’t like the Disney Channel show Lizzie McGuireas much as she thought they did. Born in Morelos, Mexico, the MCTC student had learned all she knew about the U.S. from television and movies.

Estefanía came to the U.S. with her single mother and younger brother. Her mother, who had lived and worked in the country previously, left Mexico for better job opportunities. Despite having taken English classes at a private school in Morelos and attending a mostly Latino middle school in South Minneapolis, the transition was still difficult. 

“I was lucky to have gone to a private school in Mexico,” she said. “I had very strict teachers who shaped me into who I am today.”

In 2007, Estefanía began attending Camp Sunrise, a free YouthCARE program that hosts urban youth at a camp in Rush City, Minn. every summer and teaches them the importance of the environment and working together. At the camp she learned the importance of working with others efficiently and how to be a proper leader. She was also struck by the diversity of her fellow campers.

“Seeing all these people with different backgrounds in the same place was amazing,” she said. 

Estefanía continued attending the camp through middle and high school, eventually becoming a junior counselor and then a full-fledged counselor. She enjoys establishing connections and getting to know the campers she oversees. She remembers herself as a shy and quiet teenager who lacked confidence when she first attended the camp. Over the years, her confidence has grown and she is now helping others who were like her.

Estefanía first walked the skyways of MCTC as a middle school student when the College was hosting a Latino-related conference and, later as a Jump Startstudent. The diversity of the campus community stood out and reminded her of Camp Sunrise. 

Estefanía was one of three Latino students to graduate with honors at her high school. Proud as she was, she felt like she had lost some of her culture since arriving in the U.S.

“I felt like I was losing a part of myself,” she said.

When she started attending MCTC, she heard about culture-related student clubs through Student Life. A representative from the Xicanos Latinos United (XLU) club encouraged her to attend one of their meetings. She felt like the club might help her regain some of her culture. After one meeting, she was sold.

“XLU is the family I didn’t have growing up,” she said.

Estefanía not only made friends in the club, but she’s also learned more about Mexican culture.

She experienced one of her proudest moments with the club when she organized a culture fashion show. She worked with more than 10 students from XLU and other Student Life culture-related clubs to model native clothing for their peers. The diversity and community she saw in the fashion show reminded her of why she came to MCTC. 

“We made friends with other students that we normally wouldn’t talk to,” she said.

In addition to her club involvement, Estefanía attended Student Senate meetings during her first year at MCTC. The more meetings she attended, the more intrigued she became by the passion she saw in the students participating. She wanted to be a part of that so she became a senator. As a senator, she wanted to make a change but she needed “a little more push.” In order to do that, she ran and became the director of diversity on the Student Senate’s Board of Directors.

“I really appreciate MCTC’s diversity, and I wanted to do something to help out and represent the minority community,” she said.

When a new election period came along, Estefanía had the option of running for director of diversity again or running for another position. She remembered her lessons from Camp Sunrise, and decided to take on more of a leadership position. 

“I knew the next president would need a strong vice president and I felt like I was the right person for it,” she said. “It felt like the natural thing to do.”

Student Senate inspired Estefanía to get involved with politics outside of MCTC. She stays up to date on political news and watches political documentaries. Her involvement with Camp Sunrise and Student Senate has also sparked a career interest in either education or politics.

“Closing in on the achievement gap is a passion of mine,” she said. “We need to keep students engaged and education is key for a brighter future no matter what your ethnicity or nationality.”

Student Success Initiatives at MCTC

Posted on: July 1st, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Students collaborating.New initiatives aimed at improving student success have shown strong results, according to a recent report released by the College’s office of Strategy, Planning and Accountability (SPA). Educational equity and student success comprise the College’s strategic priorities, and the four initiatives tracked in this report are specifically aimed at meeting those priorities.

AME

The African American Educational Empowerment Program (AME) and student center was founded in 2011 by dedicated students who brought a national concept to this Minneapolis campus. AME is comprised of four programs, and the AME student center is available for homework help, classroom collaboration and community building. College research showed students using the AME center—particularly male students—were significantly more likely to complete courses and remain enrolled in the College than those not using the center.

Accelerated English (ENGA)

Accelerated English courses combining developmental English with college-level work were offered for the first time in 2013. The research found students needing developmental English instruction were significantly more successful when enrolled in the combined course, passing at a rate similar to students who tested directly into college-level English. Furthermore, these students completed their college English requirement in one semester instead of two.

English Instructor Michael Kuhne explains that students may face any number of outside factors, so success in developmental courses may take place in addition to or in spite of factors like inconsistent child care, health issues, addiction, family illness and so on.
“The students who succeed in these courses not only leave with more academic confidence, they understand the demands of college a bit better and are better able to plan accordingly,” said Kuhne. “They know how to create study and support groups. They gain clarity, both about why they are in college and how they will succeed in college.”

Embedded Advising

Embedded advisors working specifically within College academies began providing integrated advising to students in 2011. Research found students who saw their appointed academy advisor in their first semester at MCTC were almost twice as likely to continue at MCTC for a second year than students who did not see an advisor. Data will be further analyzed in the coming year to determine whether integrated advising has a positive effect on timely graduation as well as the effect on retention.

Statway

Statway, a Carnegie Foundation initiative designed to help community college students complete a college-level math course with less frustration and lower dropout rates than traditional college algebra, finished its first year of implementation this spring. MCTC research found that students in the accelerated, experience-based math alternative were between three and five times more likely to enroll in the subsequent math class the following term compared to developmental math students not enrolled in Statway. “Students enrolled in Statway this year built a strong community,” said Carmen Buhler, Mathematics instructor and one of three Statway instructors at the College. “In light of the successes of the first year of operation, we are looking forward to a second year of Statway courses.”

These initiatives, aimed at increasing success in the classroom as well as graduation or transfer rates of participating students, are only a few instances of efforts at the College to empower students to be successful inside and outside the classroom.

AME Annual Banquet to be Held March 21

Posted on: March 4th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

MCTC AME programYou are invited to the African American Education Empowerment Program’s (AME) annual Black History Month Banquet held at MCTC. The banquet is an opportunity to recognize the success of AME and MCTC students, the MCTC community and the greater Twin Cities community. The banquet will take place on Friday, March 21 from 7–8:30 p.m. with check-in and networking beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The keynote speaker for this event will be Dr. Timothy Childs, president of TLC Precision Wafer Technology and head of the TLC Foundation. Dr. Childs was recommended by Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the topic of innovative technologies and his involvement with “at risk” students from North Minneapolis in 2011. Read more here.

The banquet is free and open to the MCTC and greater Twin Cities community. It will also feature music led by AME students and a “soul food” meal.

For more information about the banquet, or to RSVP to attend, please email AME@minneapolis.edu no later than Monday, March 17. 

About AME
The African American Education Empowerment Program (AME) consists of four distinct programs to create opportunities for the educational success of students of color who are attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). Each AME program contributes to the retention, graduation and personal growth of students and empowers them to develop leadership skills through their education, mentoring opportunities and involvement in the college community, society, nation and world. Learn more here.

About TLC Wafer Technology
TLC Precision Wafer Technology is a leader in providing quality reliable and innovative high performance millimeter-wave products to customers in the millimeter-wave and high-speed photonic industries. This includes military and commercial telecommunications, security and automotive electronic and other applications. http://www.tlcprecision.com/

About the TLC Foundation
TLC Education Foundation has evolved over the last 10 years into an organization that helps “at-risk” students and families to develop academic confidence, to understanding the importance of education and to develop and implement paths to move college aspirations into reality. http://tlceducationfoundation.org/