Past Chemistry Honors Students


Berman Tsun: The first Queensborough Barry Goldwater scholarship recipient (2001) and a graduate of SUNY Binghamton (2003) and Long Island University, Schwartz College of  Pharmacy (2007) Rosa Rosales: A QCC graduate and the first person from our college to have two (2) summer REU experiences at Cornell University’s Center for Materials Research (2005 and 2006). She was also the first ever American Chemical Society Scholar Scholarship recipient (2006). She earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from Buffalo  University (2008) and is applying to an M.D. program
Nilda Montes; A QCC graduate (2004) Nilda was the first ever Queensborough student to graduate from York College’s Physician Assistant program (2006). Ji (James) Suh: A QCC graduate (2005) who got accepted to engineering programs at Cornell and John Hopkins. He earned a B.S. in Engineering from Cooper Union (2008) and is currently enrolled for an M.S. at the same institution.
Richard Pantano: The only community college poster presenter at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Anaheim, CA (April 2004). He also co-authored a paper with Dr. M. Chauhan Wajiha Sattar: A senior at Queens College and the first person to co-author a paper with Drs. S. Karimi, P. Svoronos and G. Subramaniam while still a Queensborough student
Dr.JaimeLee Rizzo: Full professor in Organic Chemistry, Pace University. After earning her A.S. degree from Queensborough 1996), she continued with her B.S. from Queens (summa cum laude, 1998) and her doctorate from CUNY’s graduate center (2002). Carlos Penaloza: Ph.D. Candidate, Biochemistry, CUNY

Comments from Past Chemistry Honors Students

2009

My experiences at Queensborough Have Opened Many Doors for Me

Rosa Rosales

When I was a student in Queensborough Community College, I took advantage of any opportunity that was presented to me. I always want to succeed. My first step was to take a General Chemistry I Honors class with Dr. Paris Svoronos. When I started in that class I was shy, nervous and had poor English skills; however, I had confidence in myself. I believe the class and the mentoring of Dr. Svoronos directed me to a path of various beneficial experiences. I believe that taking honors classes is a privilege for any student because one has the opportunity for a more enhanced learning experience. The second step was to seek an environment where I can do scientific research. Thanks again to Dr. Svoronos, and Dr. Patricia Schneider of the Biology Department , I enjoyed the “Bridges to the Future” program at QCC and I was able to start doing research at York College during the Summer of 2004. Being part of the RIMS program, I was able to participate in numerous conferences where I received awards, and also became aware of internship opportunities. From one conference I obtained all of the information necessary in order to apply to different internships for the next year. After that conference I applied to different programs from which three of them accepted me. I decided to go to Cornell University and had full support from the faculty at QCC.
Another goal that was accomplished at QCC was to be involved in extracurricular activities. I consider this to be a success because of my achievements volunteering at conferences, being part of the “President Council”, and serving as the President of the Chemistry Club.
After I graduated from Queensborough, I transferred to SUNY at Buffalo where I began to fully appreciate the value of my experiences at QCC. After I graduated from SUNY at Buffalo, I started to look for a job but the search was difficult. However, I never lost contact with my professors at QCC. I returned and started working part time at QCC. After two months, I received a call from Pall Corporation, a private industrial pharmaceutical company, that offered me a position as a Lab Analyst in the Biochemistry department. All of my experience from QCC helped me earn the position. Currently, I work at Pall Corporation as a lab analyst, while working part time at QCC teaching a chemistry lab class. I still have big aspirations for myself as I am currently pursuing my Masters in Medical Biology at CW Post LIU.


From Queensborough to John Jay College:
How the Honors Program Helped this Transition

Eva Maria Santos Tejada

As an exchange student at Queensborough Community College, being part of the Honors Program has allowed me to develop certain abilities that I would not be able to discover if I was back home, in the Dominican Republic. This program provided me with a wide variety of opportunities such as small and challenging classes, where the instructor had a more direct and personal communication with the students.
Furthermore, the honors program permitted me to perform research under Dr. David Sarno, during the winter and spring semester of 2009. This was a more intimate setting with individuals that were working on specific projects that were focused on a relevant topic that is chemistry related. As a result, the research experience granted me the opportunity to present my work at the 57th Undergraduate Research Symposium at Pace University in May 2009 as a power point presentation and the 238th National American Chemical Society Meeting in Washington DC in August 2009 as a poster. During these two events, the presentation is done with other students at the national level, mostly juniors and seniors.
Simply, The Honors Program is a great investment for students who wish to succeed by challenging their personal ad individual capacity. It is an experience that goes one’s intellect. Now at John jay College I can handle the tough forensics program because of the discipline I acquired by taking Honors Chemistry classes.


Conducting Organic Synthesis Research: An Enlightening Experience

Prakash Prasad

Being part of the Honors program at Queensborough Community College has been a rewarding experience. My involvement with this program dealt with conducting research with faculty members, Dr. Sasan Karimi and Dr. Gopal Subramaniam. Working closely with them has enabled me to enhance my knowledge about various syntheses, as well as laboratory techniques to analyze experiments. Working with this program gave me the opportunity to be a part in the contribution of science to our society. Just this past year alone, not only did I present my research to the academic community at Queensborough, but I also presented my findings at the Regional American Chemical Society-Undergraduate Research Symposium, as well as the National American Chemical Society Meeting in Washington D.C.
Being able to participate at these monumental meetings also gave me the chance to network with professors and students from other colleges and universities, and have since been offered spots in graduate programs in at least one university. My current studies at Queens College are not easy but I know it would have been much more difficult should I had not gone through the discipline and hard work research involves.
I encourage anyone to be a part of the Honors program at Queensborough, the benefits and advantages you get are priceless, and the possibilities with this program are endless.


How the Honors Experiences at Queensborough Helped me Survive the Stony Brook Challenge

Rana Said

Being part of the honors program at QCC was a life changing experience. The environment of the honors classes that include smaller classrooms, faster covering of the course material, and more challenging exams helped me develop a higher work ethic and discipline. The academic challenges provided helped me realize how capable I am in conquering any difficulties that are encountered in the classroom by being dedicated to learning the material and putting 100% effort into what I do.
The honors program also provided me with many opportunities such as the Chemistry research experience. By researching certain topics I was able to put theories into applications, test and prove my own data, and come up with my own conclusions. All the above helped me gain a greater knowledge about the researched topic and develop critical thinking.
The other major aspect of research is getting to present my final work at several national conferences. Doing this gave me a great sense of accomplishment and self-confidence that I would not have developed without the assistance and support of my mentors and professors. These include Professor Syamala Ranganathan with whom I studied the content of vitamin C in orange juices and Dr. Soraya Svoronos with whom I investigated the content of the antioxidant gallic acid in tea beverages.
I graduated from Queensborough Community College with an AS degree with honors, and transferred to Stony Brook to pursue my BS degree in Biomedical Engineering. I have become a highly motivated person, with science- oriented goals, that I am determined to achieve with all the tools and experience gained from the honors program at QCC.


Honors Courses: A transition from A to Z

James Suh

In 2005, I was admitted to the chemical engineering program at The Cooper Union (NY) as a transfer student from QCC. I graduated in 2008 and am currently doing my Masters, just a few steps away from getting the degree. Who would think that it is possible to go from a community college to a school like Cooper Union? I did not think so either. As a matter of fact, there are not that many students who transfer from community college, probably less than 2%. Moreover, if you say that you are from a community college, people tend to think that you would not be able to survive at Cooper Union, but be kicked out in a year or so. Indeed, I now think that I would not be able to get out of Cooper Union with the degree if I was not involved with honors classes that were highly beneficial in developing problem-solving skills and research techniques. As an honors student, through Prof. Svoronos who is the chair of the Chemistry Department of QCC, I was given an opportunity to conduct organic chemistry research at St. Johns which I think was the most significant factor that made the transition from QCC to Cooper Union possible.


2008

Steve DaSilva (currently at Hunter College)

My experience conducting research was and is still a marvelous one, thanks to my mentor Dr. David Sarno, Dr. Paris Svoronos (the Chairman of the Chemistry Department), and the rest of the chemistry department for their help, encouragement and efforts to provide me with a challenging research environment. Dr. Sarno has worked for 18 months for Dr. Alan MacDiarmid, who earned the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2000.
I learned how to follow directions precisely, how to make calculations using the formulas I learned in a chemistry class, and how to reproduce my experimental results. With my mentor’s consent, I was able to incorporate my own ideas, which allowed me to use my own imagination to try a different approach when things did not seem to work. Recording my own observations and writing my conclusions is something that makes me feel fulfilled. The use of instrumentation or available equipment in the lab is something probably unprecedented for a community college environment.
The most important aspect of the project to me is that I got such a hands-on experience, doing all these interesting new “things” that I would not be able to do in a four-year institution. The best of all, though, is the opportunity to attend American Chemical Society conferences where I have made either oral or PowerPoint presentations in front of faculty from senior colleges. This is the place where our classmates and I can present our findings and show people what we have achieved. Those entirely thrilling experiences place me in a position to make decisions wisely. Good decision making is a key quality for success in life.
I am currently at Hunter College and hope to graduate with a degree in Chemistry in 2009.


Eva Santos Tejada (currently at John Jay College)

The honors progam is a challenging experience, which engages not only outstanding students throughout campus but also students who are willing to commit themselves to academic excellence. The classes are relatively small and we are constantly monitored by our professors very carefully. I encourage all students who want to try and take the challenge of making a difference in their lives to try out for the honors program. The benefits acquired through the experience of this program will lead to successful graduates who will have more opportunities in their lives on and off campus in the future.


Dmitryi Rybitskyi (currently at Queens College)

While at LaGuardia Community College I applied for an e-permit to take the Organic Chemistry classes at Queensborough Community College that were unavailable at LaGuardia. At Queensborough I also had the unique opportunity to conduct research under the mentorship of chemistry department faculty by enrolling in two research classes, CH-902 and CH-903.
My research project under Dr. Paris Svoronos and Chief CLT Pedro Irigoyen involved measuring the amount of caffeine in different types of tea using sophisticated laboratory equipment. The bulk of the research was conducted during the winter break. It required a lot of effort and commitment but the results were very rewarding. Upon the completion of the project I had the opportunity to present my research locally at the Second Annual Queensborough Community College Honors Conference and at the Undergraduate Research Symposium at St John's University, as well as regionally at the Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting (MARM) in Hershey, Pennsylvania and at the Northeastern Regional Meeting (NERM) in Binghamton, New York.
The completion of the project has boosted up my resume. In addition, research experience allowed me to gain advance standing in the Queens College Honors in Mathematics Program and the Natural Science Program. More importantly, I developed an interest in chemistry that I am pursuing to this day at Queens College as a Biochemistry Major.


Karina Bairamyan (currently at Queens College)

In my last three semesters at QCC, I successfully completed the following Honors classes: CH-151/ CH-152 (General Chemistry I and II) and CH-902, CH-903 (Cooperative Education in Chemical Instrumental Analysis). My classmates were more dedicated, enthusiastic, and excited about learning than any I’d met before. These students value education and want to get the most out of every class to achieve their goals. Studying with students with the same eagerness to learn as I have was a very challenging experience that provided me with deeper knowledge and helped me develop leadership qualities.
As an Honors student I worked closely with my classmates and professors and I gained a practical experience working in a professional chemistry laboratory. Moreover I had an access to cultural events and trips that deepened my academic experience.
Most of the best learning experiences happen outside of a textbook. I had a great time during conferences, seminars and presentations, where I found lasting friendships and met incredible people. As being an honor student I had a great experience that I will never forget in my life!
I have conducted research under Dr. Jun Shin of the Chemistry Department. I have presented my findings at the American Chemical Society-NY section at St. John’s University, the 34th Northeast Regional Meeting at Binghamton University and the 38th Middle Atlantic Regional Meeting at Hershey Pa.
Now at Queens College I feel as well-prepared and capable as my classmates and I attribute this to my Honors experience.

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