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COVID Adds Twist to 2020 STEMposium

Even as COVID-19 and the stay-at-home orders necessitated great changes this spring, including closing the campus and canceling or postponing of classes and events, NVC students and staff continued to innovate and learn. 

Case in point: Like most business and educators around the world, the staff at NVC’s MESA/STEM Center turned to technology and online meeting software to offer their annual STEMposium to students. 

Since 2010, STEMposium has offered an opportunity for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics students to participate in a research poster symposium, where they summarize their year’s worth of academic research with text, tables, graphs and pictures on one concise poster.  

To help the students prep, Dr. Lauren Winczewski presented workshops on research methods, how to put together a research poster and how to present a research poster to peers, families and instructors. The rest of the MESA/STEM team joined her in helping students practice. 

This year, for the first time, the one-day presentation event was held on Zoom, rather than in person, on May 8, when seven teams showcased their research work with NVC and partner entities such as Touro University, Kaiser Permanente and NASA. The 2019-2020 academic year also marked the launch of the on-campus STEM internship program, which resulted in three research projects.

“I am very proud of our students who participated in our STEMposium this year,” said Luis Alcazar, associate dean of MESA/STEM Program Services. “Not only did they work really hard in their research, but they were able to adapt to a virtual format to present their posters to our college community, which played a huge role in providing our students with this academic experience. They were the true stars of our 2020 STEMposium and I applaud them, their faculty mentors, our community partners, and our MESA/STEM Center team for successful event.”

Team 1 – The Latino Population: Overcoming Diabetes 

Summary:  Why do so many Hispanics/Latinos in the Napa community have underlying conditions such as diabetes and obesity, and what steps and precautions is our health care community is doing about it? (Medical Scholars Program in partnership with Kaiser Permanent Northern California)


Team included pre-med students Selene Solorio Gonzalez, Ariana Rivera, Abigail Hernandez Terriquez, Jazmine Cervantes Perez, all of whom are continuing at NVC in fall 2020.



Team 2 – The Journey of Alcoholism to Sobriety in the Napa Solano County

Summary: Does the Napa/Solano community have sufficient resources for people struggling with alcohol addiction? (Medical Scholars Program in partnership with Kaiser Permanent Northern California)

Team included pre-med students Manaal Shaad and Aman Kaur, who are both transferring to 4-year universities in fall 2020. 



Team 3 – Stress Factors from MESA Students

Summary: What are common stress factors faced by NVC MESA students and how do those factors affect their academic studies? (Medical Scholars Program in partnership with Kaiser Permanent Northern California)

Team included pre-med students Ingrid Mazariegos and Julian Gallegos, who are transferring to 4-year universities in fall 2020, and Jasmin Del Rosio Medina, who is continuing at NVC.



Team 4 – Comparison of Temperature Dependent Stability of a Synthetic Beta-Hairpin through Atomic Simulation

Summary: Observe the different ways in which temperature changes and affects a synthetic beta-hairpin. (On-Campus STEM Internship Program; faculty mentor Joshua Hanson)

Team included pre-med students Huzaifa Kamran Khawaja and Manaal Tabassum Shaad, who are transferring to 4-year universities in fall 2020, and chemical engineering major Angel Rodriguez, who is continuing at NVC in fall 2020



Team 5 – NASA NCAS Mars Rover Design Hermes

Summary: Design a scout rover for the surface of Mars (Internship with NASA)

Robotics engineering major David Soto Gonzalez is continuing at NVC in fall 2020


Team 6 – Designing LC Filters for Communication Systems

Summary: To further the design and fabrication of LC filters. (On-Campus STEM Internship Program; faculty mentor Antonio Castro)

Team included civil engineering majors Jonathan Duong and Anthony Fuentes, who are transferring to 4-year universities in fall 2020, and mechanical engineering major Cesar Hernandez Reyes, who will continue at NVC in fall 2020. 



Team 7 – Automated Stock Trading Program Project

Summary: To create a program that will trade stock based upon a chosen trading strategy without action from the user. (On-Campus STEM Internship Program; faculty mentor Michael Gianvecchio)

Team included computer science majors Ronaldo Hernandez, Eric Rodriguez and Luis Ureña, who are continuing at NVC in fall 2020.


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