Cerro Coso Strongly Represented at HTCC Student Research Conference


Cerro Coso Community College was strongly represented at the 19th Annual HTCC Student Research Conference held at the University of California, Irvine on Saturday, April 6. This multidisciplinary conference, sponsored by UCI and the Honors Transfer Council of California (HTCC), showcases outstanding faculty-mentored research by students from California community colleges, with a focus on honors students.

Six Cerro Coso students presented their research at this year's conference. Gideon Ondap's presentation entitled “Marquez, Memory, and Mirrors: How and Why History is Repurposed in One Hundred Years of Solitude” discussed Gabriel García Márquez's seminal work, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and how Márquez captures the postcolonial plight of Colombia by deconstructing narratives of oppression, violence, national identity and subalternity. Marquez's magical realism establishes a historiography that challenges the narratives surrounding truth and its implications on the suppressed. Gideon's abstract was one of the top five abstracts granted the coveted HTCC Outstanding Abstract Awards. Gideon Ondap was mentored by Dr. Christine Swiridoff.

Rachel Quan's presentation, “Identity Through the Lens,” explores the psychology behind self-portraits and how these images have a psychological impact on the unified subject-as-artist and viewer through composition. Depending on how the photo was composed, the subject-artist can capture a variety of identities, emotions, and perspectives for the public eye to make judgments. Rachel was mentored by Professor Nakysha Cummings. 

Emma Gilmartin's presentation, “How Art Reveals Cognitive Development,” connected art therapy analysis methods to Jean Piaget's theory of cognitive development from a personal perspective by evaluating her self-portrait artworks during her transition from high school adolescence to college adulthood (2016 - 2018). Emma was also mentored by Professor Nakysha Cummings.

Nicole Hu researched on the correlation between infection by the brain-dwelling parasite Toxoplasma gondii and its effects on neurons leading to alterations in behaviors and personalities. In her presentation entitled “Toxoplasmosis's Relationship with the Brain and Influence on Entrepreneurship,” Nicole also discussed how current advances in cellular programming methods have allowed the use of induced human neurons to study parasite-host relationships in vitro.  Nicole was mentored by Drs. Claudia Sellers and Guck Ooi, and will be graduating from the college this May.

Michael Skipworth's presentation, “Shakespeare's Othello Telescoped Through the Lens of Deconstruction,” used the deconstructive approach of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida to question the conceptual distinctions in Othello through a close examination of language and texts to establish the main villain, Iago, as the personification of deconstruction. Michael was mentored by Professor Cliff Davis.

Christian Acosta's presentation, “Allen Gewalten zum Trotz Sich Erhalten (Stay True to Yourself in Spite of Everything),” contrasted two literary works, Shirley Jackson's “The Lottery” and Annette Dumbach's and Jud Newborn's Sophie Scholl and the White Rose, to argue that inaction itself is action, and that when nobody advocates change against unjust government policies, traditions or society norms, then injustices and cruelties will prevail. Christian was mentored by Dr. Swiridoff.

Presenting their work at the HTCC Student Research Conference makes these Cerro Coso students eligible not only for monetary awards but also to submit their work for publication in the HTCC anthology Building Bridges, published through the University of California, Irvine.

Cerro Coso Community College is a member of the Honors Transfer Council of California, and send honors students to participate in the Building Bridges Honors Conference every April. To learn more about the Honors Program at Cerro Coso visit the website at http://www.cerrocoso.edu/academics/honors-program.

Picture caption: Cerro Coso students presenting their research at the 2019 HTCC Student Research Conference. L to r: Christian Acosta, Emma Gilmartin, Michael Skipworth, Gideon Ondap, Rachel Quan, and Nicole Hu.