Thursday, April 30, 2009

FURTHER INFORMATION:        STACY ARMSTRONG (626) 857-4082, ALLEN TUNG (909) 525-0214, YVONNE CHOW (626) 689-1401, JOSHUA GAGLIA (909) 764-4169

Citrus College Students Present Research at UC Irvine

By Stacy Armstrong

While extensive research is common in higher education, few expect it to be conducted at the community college level.  Perhaps this is why the work of Yvonne Chow, Joshua Gaglia, and Allen Tung is so impressive.

The three Citrus College students recently attended the Eighth Annual Building Bridges Research Conference for Community Colleges.  This event, which is designed to allow honors students to gain experience with the academic process of presenting research findings, was held at the University of California, Irvine.

“The conference involved students from 26 community colleges throughout the state coming together and presenting the findings from research that they have conducted,” said 19-year-old Yvonne Chow of West Covina.  “Volunteers and mentors were also on hand to aid the students in preparing their presentations.”

Chow was one of the many students to make a presentation at the conference.  The Citrus College international studies major shared the findings of a study she conducted regarding how peer groups and the media can influence a women’s perception of beauty, specifically focusing on the opinion that fairer skin is more attractive than dark skin.

“It was a great first-hand glimpse into what a research conference is like,” she said.  “It also provided me with the opportunity to be around students who had the same degree of passion for their research.  It was interesting to see the different types of research that community college students have been conducting.”

Allen Tung, a 17-year-old Citrus College student from San Dimas, also found the conference worthwhile.

“To be honest, my major is still undeclared.  However, I was exposed to several subjects, such as psychology and cultural studies, that may help me eventually decide on a specific course of study,” he said.

Tung also presented at the conference.  His exploration of the economic policies of Andrew Jackson revealed that the seventh president of the United States made decisions that led the country to panic and recession.

“This conference gave me a chance to practice public speaking, especially with the preparation and rehearsing I did prior to the event,” Tung said.  “I also gained a better picture of the research field possibilities, in terms of creating an academic plan.”

Citrus College student Joshua Gaglia, a resident of La Verne, was also in attendance.  However, his involvement was unique.

“I took part in an aspect of the conference that was different from what most of the presenters were doing,” the 21-year-old business administration major said.  “While most of the students went to a classroom and presented a research paper, I participated in an issues forum with the theme of ‘Going Green While in the Red.’”

Gaglia’s stance was that the “United States should continue to primarily use fossil fuels while exploring additional oil-drilling and coal-mining sites in North America.

“I made a case that a balanced approach should be taken in terms of our nation’s energy policy, which primarily relies on green oil, clean coal, and natural gas,” he explained.  “I argued that developing these natural resources on our own soil would promote clean technology, stimulate the economy, and decrease our dependence on foreign powers.”

A self-declared “under dog” during the forum, Gaglia said that he really enjoyed the debate.

“The Forum Coordinator and other participants expressed how they felt like I had a really hard stance to argue,” he said.

During the conference, both Chow and Gaglia were awarded Exceptional Achievement scholarships by the Honors Transfer Council of California.

Chow credits her success to the Citrus College faculty members who helped her prepare for the conference.

“Brian Waddington and Bernie Lau were willing to work with each student to make sure they were 100 percent ready for their presentations,” she said.  “They met with us, e-mailed us, advised us, and helped us improve our work.  It was insane how dedicated they were to our success.”

Both Gaglia and Tung agree.

“I really have to thank Professor Waddington and Professor Lau for their countless hours helping me improve and revise my presentation,” Tung said.

In the end, each student feels that the conference was an overwhelming success.

“This was such a great experience to learn from,” Chow said.  “If I wasn’t graduating this year, I would love to participate again!”



FURTHER INFORMATION:        STACY ARMSTRONG (626) 857-4082, ALLEN TUNG (909) 525-0214, YVONNE CHOW (626) 689-1401, JOSHUA GAGLIA (909) 764-4169