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Southwestern College Students Present at Posters on the Hill
SWC is second community college ever to participate in prestigious event

Southwestern College (SWC) science student Manuel Alingog presented his research findings on Capitol Hill and met face-to-face with members of the U.S. Congress in April following acceptance of his abstract to the 2008 Posters on the Hill competition. Hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research, this annual affair is highly competitive, with only 1 in 7 students who submit abstracts actually being invited to Washington, D.C. to showcase their work. Southwestern College is the second community college ever to participate in this prestigious event and the first from California.

Manuel Alingog and Hector Eduardo Mendoza Solano

Manuel Alingog (left) and Héctor Eduardo Mendoza Solano (right) stand next to Manuel’s first place poster at the American Chemical Society’s Western Regional Meeting in October 2007.

“This type of experience is typically reserved for graduate students at world-class institutions,” said Dr. David Brown, SWC chemistry professor and Alingog’s mentor. “This achievement is reflective of the increasing amount of authentic research being generated by community college students. It is a tremendous honor for Manuel and for Southwestern College.”

Alingog represented himself and three other students from Brown’s research group when he presented his findings on “Mid-Infrared Spectral Characterization of Volume Holographic Gratings and Nanofabrication of Optical Structures.” This work was supported with funds from the National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR Phase IICC program, established in 2006 to form research partnerships between community college research teams and small business enterprises. SWC’s partner in this project is Ondax, Inc. of Monrovia, CA.

Chona dela Cruz

Chona dela Cruz is comparing UV-visible Spectra of Bromocresol Green in buffer solutions of differing pH.

The other students, who accompanied Alingog on the trip to the East Coast, were Chona dela Cruz, Héctor Eduardo Mendoza Solano and Monique Patron. Their trip was funded in part by the Southwestern College Foundation.

The event included face-to-face meetings with U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Bob Filner, followed by a reception where all participating students displayed their posters for government officials to view and ask students questions about their research.

Students meeting with Bob Filner in Washington D.C.

Meeting with Congressman Bob Filner in Washington, D.C. From left to right are SWC Superintendent/President Raj K. Chopra, Manuel Alingog, Filner, Héctor Eduardo Mendoza Solano, Chona dela Cruz, Monique Patron, and MSE Dean Kathy Tyner. Not shown is Professor of Chemistry and principal researcher Dr. David Brown.

“It is extremely important for members of Congress to be continually reminded of how important it is to fund science and science education,” said Brown. “It is even more important for the significance of undergraduate research to be understood by our elected representatives, if we expect it to continue to be supported. Events like Posters on the Hill provide the perfect opportunity to showcase the value of undergraduate research. Hearing the words and stories of students’ first-hand is unbelievably effective in presenting the case for continued support.”

view pdf of Manuel Alingog's poster


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