Middlesex County College students receive NASA grants to conduct research

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Six Middlesex County College (MCC) students are benefiting from NASA scholarships designed to increase their research abilities.

Each is receiving $5,000 stipends from the New Jersey Space Grant Consortium to conduct research with professors at MCC. Four started their research in the fall and will finish this spring. The other two began in January and will conclude at the end of the summer.

“The students are working on various topics,” said Parag Muley, chair of the Natural Sciences Department. “They are all excellent students; we are very proud of their accomplishments.”

Sarah Schneider of Spotswood conducted a project on coordination compounds, which are metals with multiple ligands attached to them.

“I’m working specifically with Cobalt 3 compounds and studying the rates of certain reactions. Research in this area can potentially help cure disease,” she said.

Phalguni Ghosh, assistant chair of the Natural Sciences Department, said Schneider was one of the students who presented her work at a conference at MCC this spring.

“She did some molecular-level analysis,” he said. “She has done an excellent piece of work.”

Ghosh said the research class has allowed students to improve their critical thinking skills in interpreting scientific data, integrate lab skills into the project, develop scientific literature skills, and help improve public speaking skills.

In addition, Danielle Caruso of South Plainfield, is working at JFK Hospital in its neuroscience lab, studying how cancer cells grow. Samuel Wieczerzak of Sewaren is working on examining the life of medication in the bloodstream. Denna Lessing of New Brunswick is using petrographic analysis to investigate climate change and natural resources in the state. Amy Walczak of South Amboy is looking at the effects of variables on respiratory cycles. Joseph Cruz of Edison is examining blood pressure and caffeine research.

“These are top-notch students doing original research,” Muley said. “Many of their projects have real-world implications.”