Cerro Coso Students Presented at the HTCC Student Research Conference


Pictured: Lacy Roberts, Fatima Anwar, and Jessica Cliff.

For the first time since the pandemic, the 23rd Annual UCI-Community College Honors Research Conference is now back in-person, and Cerro Coso Community College is represented this year by three students. This multidisciplinary conference sponsored by University of California, Irvine 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.

Jessica Cliff's presentation entitled "Mind Games - Cognitive Benefits of Video Gaming on Older Adults” reviewed studies which showed that playing video games can prevent cognitive decline in older adults. The beneficial cognitive effects of regular daily gaming were not only demonstrated by subjective observational assessments such as cognitive and memory tests, but also were followed by structural changes in the gray matter volume in the hippocampus and cerebellum. Interestingly, unlike younger adults, the beneficial effects in older adults were longer lasting and persisted up to at least four weeks after training. Jessica was mentored by Profs. Guck Ooi and Claudia Sellers.

Cerro Coso students at HTCC Conference.

Fatima Anwar researched the use of melatonin to treat schizophrenia. Her presentation, “Benefits of Melatonin in Treating Schizophrenia” discussed a study in which a rat model of schizophrenia was used to test melatonin efficacy compared to the standard drug olanzapine, either by itself or in combination. Although the study showed that melatonin by itself was not effective, it has strong effects in mitigating against the inflammatory side effects of olanzapine indicating that melatonin may be useful when used in combination with olanzapine. Fatima was mentored by Profs. Claudia Sellers and Guck Ooi.

Lacy Roberts participated in the conference by acting as a moderator in a session that discussed health-related issues among women and under-represented groups. Each presentation in the session focuses on a different aspect of health, including neglect in women's healthcare, obesity and psychological well-being, and the susceptibility of certain ethnicities to specific diseases.

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 year. To learn more about the Honors Program at Cerro Coso visit the website at www.cerrocoso.edu/academics/honors-program.