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Bridges to Baccalaureate Students Commended

Five students from the School of Natural and Social Sciences'Bridges to Baccalaureate Program presented their research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) in early November; two received certificates of achievement in the social science category for their submissions. The students attend area community colleges and spent five weeks last summer in a research program at Purchase. 

During the ABRCMS meeting, held in San Jose, CA from November 7-10, Frank Guillen and Maria Janvier received certificates of achievement for their studies in The Evolution of Music: Evidence for Sexual Selection (research conducted in the laboratory of Professor Meagan Curtis) and Executive Functions and the Bilingual Advantage in Young Adults(research conducted in the laboratory of Professor Nancy Zook), respectively.  Guillen and Janvier were among 278 recognized from nearly 3,000 students who presented abstracts of their research in poster form and through oral presentations. 

Karen Singer-Freeman, Associate Professor of Psychology, accompanied the group to the conference and emphasized the importance of the experience. "It opens their horizons to the opportunities that are out there for summer internships, graduate, and medical school. During the course of the meeting all of the students began to consider graduate school more seriously than they had before they went," she said.

The Bridges to Baccalaureate Program—a community college mentoring program founded by Professor Joe Skrivanek in 2000 and funded by the National Institutes of Health—provides underrepresented minority students with the academic and scholarship support that allows them to complete a baccalaureate degree program in biology, chemistry, environmental science, math and computer science, or psychology. 

Purchase College received the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM)for its Baccalaureate and Beyond Community College Mentoring Program. Professor Skrivanek accepted the award on the college's behalf at the White House on January 27, 2011.

Singer-Freeman added, "I think [the students' achievement] is a recognition of the effectiveness of the program. It is a testament to the work that the students and faculty are doing." 

Guillen and Janvier are finishing their associate's degrees at Rockland and Sullivan Community Colleges respectively, and both plan to continue their studies. It's worth noting their competition at ABRCMS largely comprised juniors, seniors, and post-baccalaureate students.

Three other students in attendance were Sarafina Alexandre and Presnel Dalmeus of Rockland Community College and Michelle Correa of Dutchess Community College. Purchase has sent students to the conference since ABRCMS's inception in 2001.

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