MCC Hosts 13th Annual Commonwealth Honors Research Conference

May 20, 2024

Submitted by Middlesex Community College

Middlesex Community College hosted the 13th annual Commonwealth Honors Program (CHP) Research Conference on April 29. The event allowed Middlesex honors students to present and discuss their research projects with the MCC community and celebrate their dedication and success.

“I got to visit other students’ tables and learn about their research,” said Crystal Messamore, an MCC nursing student from Ashby. “I was a little nervous about the judging process, but once I was there, I was not nervous at all. Faculty came to support students and the judges were all so friendly and truly invested in the work being done.”

Messamore appreciated how supportive students, faculty, and staff were at the event. To prepare for her presentation, she learned how to make a digital poster and practiced presenting her material. The research and presentation experience improved her confidence.

Students individually presented their research in the Bedford Campus cafeteria. Each student shared slides and spoke on their topics at assigned tables. In the end, students received awards based on their presentations.

Amber Borges, an MCC history, politics, and global studies student, liked the valuable connections she made with fellow students. Although she felt shy, her peers helped turn that feeling into excitement and she was glad to showcase her knowledge.

“Being able to present topics I have researched so thoroughly is a passion of mine,” Borges said. “It is something I hope to continue in my future career. This was my second time presenting, and I have greatly enjoyed the experience of being a part of this celebration of learning.”

As Rhondyna Reth, an MCC graphic design student, presented her research, she became cheerful and more relaxed. She was nervous at first, but the casual environment and people’s friendliness grew her confidence. She felt “accomplished after the conference.” 

“The program helped me learn how to manage my time better,” Reth said. “Each class had a nicely organized syllabus that led up to the final research paper. By having steps laid out, it kept me on track, and I received feedback for all those steps and thought more in-depth about concepts.”

MCC’s CHP offers students the opportunity to work with faculty and participate in seminar-style classes to improve their research techniques and present their work. Through this experience, students attend special events and activities, while sharing ideas with peers, faculty, and staff.

Lisa Tohline, an MCC biotechnology student, believes the CHP helped her “develop a stronger speaking and writing voice, through academic projects and discussions with fellow students.” She loved being around people with diverse backgrounds and learning about research papers and how to write them.

The program improved the studying methods of Jack Wagner, an MCC psychology student. He finished his homework faster and became a stronger student. 

“I deeply cherish the honors experience at Middlesex,” Wagner said. “Much of the work was done in a way that accommodated the students. I was introduced to speed reading and what is most important when reading book chapters, old newspaper articles, and bulk text without skimming.”

Binnur Ercem, MCC’s Professor of Sociology & Cultural Anthropology and Director of the CHP, recognized the conference’s importance and purpose. 

“The conference serves as a festive celebration of the hard work of honors students, featuring a lively atmosphere with refreshments, scholarships, prizes and giveaways,” she said.

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