The ongoing research project at Massasoit Community College attempts to help answer a question that is shared by many ecologists and other scientists around the world: “How does human activity alter the world we live in?” The answer to this question has obvious existential value to every human on earth. It is also obvious that there is no complete or even partially satisfying answer to to be had. However, the question itself provides a starting place for an infinite number of specific, meaningful, and much more answerable questions and scientific inquiries. Massasoit’s version of this question is focused on how local land-use practices impact our local ecosystem, particularly the abundance and diversity of local native bee communities.
Students are more fully engaged in all aspects of research than the vast majority of undergraduate research participants, even at prestigious four-year schools. Undergraduates typically have the opportunity to work in a research setting only as Juniors and Seniors, and often in a limited, task-oriented manner. Massasoit research students are trained in more than techniques. They are required to understand the rationale and underlying concepts of everything they do. The development of critical thinking, independence, and confidence gives these students a huge advantage as they continue their education and career after Massasoit.
In August 2018, seven Massasoit Students presented their findings at the Ecological Society of America (ESA)‘s 2018 Meeting. Massasoit Community College was responsible for seven scientific presentations at the 103rd annual ESA meeting in New Orleans, held the first week in August. National meetings like ESA require authors of poster presentations to submit an abstract of their work months in advance of the meeting. These abstracts are judged strictly on their scientific merit before authors are notified of their acceptance as participants. Presentation at a society meeting is considered a valid scientific contribution and is usually added to ones curriculum vitae, along with published peer-reviewed articles. Participation at national or international meetings is also predominantly limited to graduate students, postdocs, and active researches with very few opportunities for undergraduate researchers to participate. Freshmen and sophomore level undergraduates almost never attend, and it is notable that Massasoit was the only contributing Community College at this year’s ESA. More importantly, our students performed at a level that was on par with other scientists with many more years of experience. The experience for our students and the respect earned for our college is immeasurable.
We are now accepting applicants for paid Research Internships starting in the Fall 2018 semester. To apply, please visit http://bit.ly/MCCSTEMIntern.