Passaic County Community College logo, with red background
Department's top banner


PCCC Students Present Original Scientific Research at the
STEM C2 Summit

Posted May 9, 2017


Rebecca explains her poster to an onlooker. Carlos and a Summit attendee enjoy the displays. Rebecca asks a question of keynote speaker Dr. Leroy Chiao, a former astronaut and research engineer. Carlos and an attendee view his poster.



Carlos Macazana and Rebecca Vera, both NNJ-B2B* STEM students and biology majors, were among participants from 25 area colleges and institutions presenting original scientific research at last month’s STEM C2 Research Summit held at Bergen Community College.

The C2 Summit is an initiative to foster excitement about STEM majors in higher education, smooth the transition from two-year to four-year college STEM programs, and enhance potential for success in STEM careers, especially by partnering with business and industry.

“These kinds of collaborative opportunities between two and four-year colleges are crucial to the continued success of today’s STEM students, and I am especially thankful that Bergen Community College supports these efforts with such fervor said Professor Thomas Van Aken, a science professor and B2B project coordinator at PCCC.

Participants included two- and four-year colleges from New York and New Jersey, as well as selected high schools and sponsoring companies such as Sivo Scientific Company and Orange and Rockland Electric Company, among others.

An exhibition space displayed over 75 posters detailing the work of the researchers, who investigated a wide range of subjects including robotics, alternative energy, simulated performance, and more.
Students were also matched with mentors. “We try to pair up the students with mentors based on their interests, their major field of study or sometimes on the university the students are interest in applying to,” explained Professor Van Aken.

Carlos’ project is Influence of Recurrent Flooding on the Diversity and Composition of Eusocial Insects in Tropical Guyana, done in collaboration with Dr.  Jessica Ware and Dr. Phillip Barden of Rutgers University-Newark.

Rebecca researched the Heuristic of Predicting Protein Flexibility, mentored by Dr. David A. Snyder of William Paterson University.

“This was a great opportunity for me to get experience on how to present a poster properly and I have gained a TON of confidence and knowledge about the scientific world that exists,” said Carlos.

He added, “I am very grateful for the opportunity that was given to me because it has truly changed my life and life goals. I could not have done any of this without the help of the B2B program at PCCC, and especially without the assistance of Professor Thomas van Aken and (PCCC science) Professor Kala Mayur.”

Professor Van Aken said both Rebecca and Carlos had begun their research last summer with GS-LSAMP** faculty members. Both students will publish their research in collaboration with their research mentors.

“The fine research conducted by Carlos and Rebecca is a testament to the commitment and dedication these student bring to all aspects of their academic life,” said Professor Van Aken.
“I couldn’t be more proud of their achievements.”

Read an Interview with Carlos and view his research poster.

Meet some of PCCC’s research internship scholars

Learn more about STEM at PCCC


*The Northern New Jersey Bridges to Baccalaureate Alliance is a partnership of five, public,associate-degree granting Hispanic Serving Institutions in Northern New Jersey committed to assisting underrepresented minority students in successfully transferring into a baccalaureate STEM degree program.

**GS-LSAMP  (Garden State -Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation is the NJ branch of a nationwide initiative funded by the National Science Foundation and designed to increase the quality and number of students from under-represented minority groups who complete undergraduate degrees in STEM fields. The NJ branch of LSAMP is headed by Rutgers University.