The past few years CCSJ’s Science Program has been on a steady incline in notoriety and overall student interest led by enthusiastic and prepared instructors Dr. Sandra Chimon-Rogers, Dr. Ahmed Lakhani, and Dr. Fiona Poe, along with bright and involved students.
Dr. Sandra Chimon-Rogers, head of the Science Department, obtained her Ph.D. in Bio-Analytical Chemistry from the University of Illinois.
She has brought her Alzheimer’s disease preventative research to Calumet College of St. Joseph, and is utilizing various high tech bio-analytical techniques and orthomolecular compounds to try and study the prevention of Alzheimer’s.
Dr. Rogers has published one laboratory manual, and is working on two more to be released in the fall of 2016. She has also been nominated for “Excellence in Teaching” at DePaul along with various other research recognitions.
Her determination to make the Science Department at Calumet College a major player in the Midwest shows as CCSJ attends conferences with universities like DePaul, University of Chicago, and Northwestern, and our students successfully compete at various events against the same schools.
Senior Nicole Gill, a Biomedical major, sums it best as she states,
“In my opinion, the program has grown to be so successful because of the determination of the Science Department staff as well as students alike.”
Senior Elena Cortes, a Biomedical major as well, backs up this idea by saying, “The teamwork between Dr. Poe, Dr. Lakhani, and Dr. Rogers is great. They complement each other very well.”
Cortes explains how the staff has helped by saying, “Dr. Rogers helped me and others get into NEID (Neuroscience initiative to enhance Diversity) and MCOR (Michigan Chemistry Opportunities for Research and education), which helps with obtaining a Ph.D., especially for the minority community.”
Three years ago Dr. Rogers took over the Science Department. She began to implement things such as proper class schedules, and introduced research to the program.
Things she had learned over her nearly 20 years teaching at various universities, most recently DePaul University, where she was heavily involved in the new College of Health and Science, as well as serving on various committees and played a key role in the pre-health advising committee.
The first major implementation was the overhaul of classes. Dr. Rogers put together a new curriculum that offers current classes to the students. Classes that allow students to apply to graduate school, as well as setting them up for jobs directly after graduation.
The next big step for the Science Program was the introduction of research. Dr. Rogers says, “Not only do our students do research, but they are also required to present posters to two conferences a year… They have to explain what they did, why they did the experiment, what did they discover and how they came to the conclusions. All this knowledge comes from lectures.”
Hanging up in the halls of the Science Department are the posters that have been showcased in these conferences.
Dr. Lakhani spoke on about them, “The posters are taken to conferences and presented by the students. Sometimes the conferences are competitions and CCSJ goes up against schools like DePaul, Northwestern, and the University of Chicago. Last year Logan Cole won best presentation in chemistry, and he beat all the major universities that were invited.”
Dr. Lakhani also spoke on why he believes the Science Program is growing, “Jobs in the science field are in demand. Jobs like nursing and the various major drug companies are always hiring. Along with the demand, CCSJ now has proper classes that set students up for future graduate degree opportunities, and the courses lead the student to a specific field.”
With all this going on Dr. Rogers, Dr. Lakhani, and a group of students that include Allen Walker, Jennifer Diaz, Jake Hayes, and Elena Cortes are still making time to conduct an experiment on how zero-gravity effects the misfolding of the Alzheimer’s beta amyloid peptide.
CCSJ is set to build “a small ultra violet spectrometer and install it into the Nanorack that will be sent up to the ISS (International Space Station) via the SpaceX,” says Dr. Rogers. Her 7-page proposal submitted to CASIS (Center for the Advancement of Science in Space) has led to the collaboration, which now allows CCSJ to be recognized nationwide for the experiment.
The students have attended various meetings since last June, and every other Friday hold video conferences with NASA, CASIS, and Texas A&M. Allen Walker says of Texas A&M and CCSJ’s partnership in the project, “We have a conference with Texas A&M every other week, and they are helping on the engineering part, while we deal with the science aspects of the project.”
As a student attending CCSJ I am astonished to see how our Science Program evolved into what it is now so quickly. From competing with major universities in the Midwest to collaborating with NASA on Alzheimer’s research aboard the ISS, what’s after the sky’s the limit?
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