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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.

Race to Save the Planet—An MCTC Learning Community

Posted on: July 17th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

MCTC learning communityCollaboration is key to solving some of the world’s most challenging issues. Race to Save the Planet is a unique learning option offered by MCTC that gives students an opportunity to collaborate and deeply engage with their instructors—and each other—while learning about issues involving our environment and planet.

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This interdisciplinary block of coursesoffered this Fall is set up as an intentional learning community in which students meet three days a week for a block of time each day and earn eight credits across two disciplines: Biology and Political Science.

The lectures, assignments and activities are integrated by the instructors to give students a holistic look at the environment from a broad range of perspectives. The coursework includes public work projects where students apply what they learn in class to actions in their own community.

“I’ve never had a class where people were so willing to open up to each other,” said Kristin Lessard, a former student who took the classes. “Before enrolling in the course, I never had any serious environmental focus, but now I’m going to major in environmental science. It’s the best class I’ve ever had!”

Students will earn credits in Race to Save the Planet that satisfy four Goal Areas of the Minnesota Transfer Curriculum (Goal Areas 3,5,9,10), providing a pathway to graduation/transfer.

Student-led Urban Garden Flourishes

Posted on: July 14th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Sprouts in the MCTC urban gardenThe MCTC Urban Farm Collective (UFC) student club finished the construction of an on-campus urban garden in late May and recently held its first food distribution event in the T Skyway.

The 8,700 square foot garden was built over the course of the 2014 spring semester in any empty grass plot at Spruce and Yale Place. Dozens of fruits and vegetables including peppers, kale, squash, onions and tomatillos are growing and being harvested weekly to serve to the MCTC community.

“The intention is to show people that urban agriculture is a reliable source of food,” said student Cody Mehlin, UFC president.

Urban gardens, or community gardens, are part of the growing urban agriculture movement. These gardens are plotted and maintained by a community in highly populated locations.
This isn’t the club’s first experience establishing a garden. The club started a garden in 2012 on a plot next to the Gethsemane Episcopal Church in Downtown Minneapolis. Club members distributed some of that food to the community for free and sold the rest at local farmers markets.

“The downtown garden was a huge success but we couldn’t bring the produce back to the students,” said UFC advisor and Biology instructor Katherine Kragtorp.

The College’s Student Senate approved a $65,000 budget for a groundbreaking in December 2013. In the two months since its completion, the garden has begun yielding enough produce to distribute to MCTC students, and club members plan to add a bordering fence, a shed and benches. UFC expects to gain more ground with the garden when more students return for the fall semester and there are more varieties of foods to disburse.

Kragtorp is excited about the garden. She hopes students and community members will learn gardening doesn’t require much work. She’s proud of the students who made it happen.

“I can’t take any credit for this,” she said. “It was entirely the students.”

In 2009 MCTC signed on to the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment. Student initiatives like the urban garden and the Three-legged Frog environmental club support this initiative through on-campus events, activities and campaigns.
The garden is open to volunteers Monday through Thursday from 2:30 to 5 p.m. Produce from the garden is distributed Wednesdays for free from noon to 1 p.m. in the T Skyway. Visit the club’s Facebook page or email them at MCTCUrbanFarmCollective@gmail.com.

See more photos of the garden on Flickr.

MnSCU Names MCTC Instructor “Educator of the Year”

Posted on: April 24th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

Cheryl Neudauer, MnSCU Educator of the YearCheryl Neudauer, Biology instructor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC), was presented with one of the highest educational honors in the state this week: Cheryl was named one of only four Educators of the Year, the highest honor granted by the state-wide Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system (MnSCU).

Cheryl Neudauer came to MCTC in 2003 as an adjunct Biology instructor, and 10 years later teaches both Physiology and Pathophysiology. Cheryl utilizes a “flipped-classroom model” in her classes: students work in groups to tackle the majority of their tasks, and Cheryl steps in to clarify difficult concepts. “These days, students can get almost any information online,” Cheryl said. “I’m trying to show students how they can think critically and utilize the resources they have.” After a few years of teaching, Cheryl turned her lectures and notes into a course outline with exercises and diagrams. “It’s very affordable, and saves my students almost $500 in textbook fees. They can take another three-credit class for that amount, and now they’re focusing on what’s important.”

Among her many accomplishments prior to coming to MCTC, Cheryl taught at a community college in Virginia, performed post-doctoral cancer research and attended graduate school at both the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. “She has created a significant college ‘footprint,’” said MCTC President Phil Davis. “It is hard to imagine a faculty member who has had a greater impact.”
The MnSCU Board of Trustees bestows the Educator of the Year award to acknowledge and reward exceptional professional accomplishment and to encourage ongoing excellence in teaching. The winners were selected from 30 faculty members named Outstanding Educators by the presidents of their respective institutions based on nominations by students, faculty peers or staff. Three MCTC instructors were nominated Outstanding Educators in 2014.

Photo: Cheryl Neudauer (center) works with students in her classroom.

MCTC Science Division Recognition Event April 30

Posted on: April 18th, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments
MCTC Science students.

MCTC Science students at the 2013 recognition event.

Please join the talented Science students, faculty, tutors and friends at Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) as they showcase their hard work and accomplishments at the 4th annual Science Department Student Recognition Event Wednesday, April 30 from 2:30–6 p.m on the Science Center 3rd floor!

  • 2:30–4:15 p.m.—Student project display and poster sessions; meet & mingle
  • 4:15–6 p.m.—Award ceremony and music

Special honorees include:

  • Students graduating with an A.S. degree in the sciences
  • Science students transferring from MCTC to another institution
  • Science tutors
  • Work-study students in science labs
  • Student officers, project leaders of the STEM Career and Internship Club, Engineering Club, Science Club, Urban Farm Collective and Three-Legged Frog Club
  • Students who have participated in research projects or obtained summer research fellowships or internships
  • S-STEM, North Star STEM, MM-STEM and PDL-BioPharma scholarship recipients
  • Students with other special achievements

All Science and Engineering students, faculty and friends are invited! Showcase your accomplishments and celebrate your success with family and friends! The Science division is proud of all its students.