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STEM + Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Symposium 2022: Welcome

Dean's Welcome Letter

Victor I. Okafor, PhDWelcome to the Miami Dade College Annual STEM + Interdisciplinary Research Symposium 2022!

Showcasing student achievement is a premium value activity we utilize in rounding out the training students receive at Miami Dade College. While students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) pathways have enjoyed this experience on a grand scale for over a decade, this year marks an expansion in which we add non-STEM discipline areas active in authentic undergraduate research to the Symposium. This 11th Symposium underscores the purpose to utilize undergraduate research as a tool for providing our diverse student population with high quality and innovative learning experiences that prepare them to question, investigate, and formulate conclusions about the natural world. I hope you find the added flavor of students work and presentations enriching.

The Symposium is in person, but as with last year, we will also be streaming online so that more members of the local public and elsewhere could participate. Students are immersed in various disciplines in the fields of STEM and Humanities, and they have each risen to the challenge to partake in real world, hands-on inquiry implementing innovative ideas with sophisticated materials and technology. As in previous years, a corps of well-motivated faculty and staff across MDC campuses and area universities invested resources and expertise to provide research students with the platform to develop skills needed to broaden their knowledge base and competency.

The intent remains to enable students to develop enhanced skills for success in the global workforce; faculty research mentors have done this by engaging students’ curiosity and sharpening their critical thinking skills.

I would like to commend all of our student research participants for their accomplishments in their respective fields of research. With the rapid progress we have notched emerging from the pandemic, we are proud of the adaptability and resilience each of you demonstrated in completing your project.

I would like to thank our funding agencies including the US Department of Education, the US National Science Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. We extend much appreciation to our collaborators and industry partners as well: University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, St. Thomas University, Nova Southeastern University, Florida International University, Galatea Bio, Inc., Applied Biotech, Inc., New Vision Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Kaycha Labs among others. In addition, I would like to thank the MDC administration, faculty, Bioscience Advisory Committee, School of Science staff and units of the college including Media, Communications, Learning Resources, Campus Services, etc., for their remarkable assistance and for collaborating to facilitate this significant experience for students and our community

Have a great Symposium experience!


Dean of the School of Science

Victor I. Okafor, PhD
Dean of the School of Science

Keynote Address Speaker

Dr. Luis A. EchegoyenDr. Luis A. Echegoyen
Robert A. Welch Chair Professor of Chemistry, University of Texas at El Paso
Past President, American Chemical Society

Dr. Luis A. Echegoyen was born in Habana, Cuba in 1951. His family moved to Puerto Rico in 1960, where he spent his formative years. He received a BS in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and a research scientist at Union Carbide Corporation in Bound Brook, New Jersey. Realizing that his vocation was in academic research and teaching, he returned as Assistant Professor to the University of Puerto Rico in 1977. Dr. Echegoyen was invited to serve as Program Officer in the Chemical Dynamics Program at NSF in 1981, and he held a simultaneous Adjunct Associate Professor position at the University of Maryland, College Park during his work at the NSF. He moved to the University of Miami in 1982, where he served as Associate Professor and Professor for 18 years. While at Miami, he took two very rewarding sabbatical leaves: one at Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France in 1990, where he collaborated with Professor Jean-Marie Lehn, and a second one at the ETH in Zurich, Switzerland in 1997, where he worked with Professor François Diederich. Dr. Echegoyen maintains active research collaborations with researchers in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Poland and all across the US. Dr. Echegoyen has been continuously funded since the start of his academic career, and is proud to have directed the research of a very large number of undergraduate and graduate students in Puerto Rico, Miami, Clemson and Texas, all of whom have gone on to successful academic, professional, and industrial careers.

In addition, Dr. Luis Echegoyen has been the Robert A. Welch Chair Professor of Chemistry at the University of Texas at El Paso since August 2010. He was the Director of the Chemistry Division at the National Science Foundation from August 2006 until August 2010 where he was instrumental in establishing new funding programs and research centers. He was simultaneously a Professor of Chemistry at Clemson University in South Carolina, where he maintained a very active research program with interests in fullerene electrochemistry, monolayer films, supramolecular chemistry, endohedral fullerene chemistry, electrochemistry, carbon nanoonions, synthesis, derivatization, and fractionation. He served as Chair for the Department of Chemistry at Clemson from 2002 until his NSF appointment. Dr. Echegoyen has published 385 research articles and 47 book chapters and his current h index is 70. He was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003 and has been the recipient of many awards, including the 1996 Florida ACS Award, the 1997 University of Miami Provost Award for Excellence in Research, the 2007 Herty Medal Award from the ACS Georgia Section, the 2007 Clemson University Presidential Award for Excellence in Research, and the 2007 University of Puerto Rico Distinguished Alumnus Award. He was also selected as an ACS Fellow in 2011 and was the first recipient of the ACS Award for Recognizing Underrepresented Minorities in Chemistry for Excellence in Research & Development, also in 2011. Dr. Echegoyen is a coveted speaker who has to his record over 410 scientific invited lectures and presentations. He has delivered several named lectureships in places like Northwestern University, Georgia Tech., UC-Riverside and is a member of several international advisory boards, such as the IMDEA-Nanoscience Center in Madrid and Physical Chemistry of Solid Surfaces (PCOSS) Center at Xiamen University in China. He has been the editor in chief of the Journal of Physical Organic Chemistry, a Wiley publication, since 2010.

Thank You to Our Funding Agencies

Thank you to the funding agencies that help to support our undergraduate research programs at Miami Dade College.

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in the research material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agency. The original research represented at our MDC Undergraduate Symposium is funded in part by:

U.S. Department of Education

STEM AISLE (Advanced Institute for Scholastic Leadership Experience), PR# P120A200007

STEM EngInE (Educate, Intern, and Employ), PR# P031C160143

STEM PACTS (STEM Pathways for Acceleration, Completion, and Transfer Success), Award: P031C210035

STEM SMART (STEM Strategies for Maximizing Achievement, Retention, and Transfer), Award: P031C210028

STEM SPACE (Strategic Pathways to Academic Competition and Excellence), PR# P031C160161

National Science Foundation

S-STEM (Florida Pathways to Success), Award: UFDSP00011889

FGLSAMP (Florida Georgia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation), Subaward FAMU C-5035

CUREs (Building Capacity Hispanic Student Success from 2 year to 4-year Institutions through CUREs), Award: 1832436

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Humanities Edge is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of a three-year Community College Pathway Partnership with Florida International University (FIU).