Following 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.