SLS Fall 2013The fall 2013 semester Science in Action Lecture Series wrapped up on Wednesday, November 20th with another interesting lecture, this time from scientists Doug Van Campen and Apurva Mehta, both of whom work at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), a National Accelerator Laboratory. They visited Skyline College to provide more detailed information on paid summer internships available at Stanford University.

The internships are funded by the United States government, in an effort to promote technical skills in community college students interested in pursuing careers within the US Department of Energy, or related areas. They last for eight to nine weeks throughout the summer, and range in scientific area, including physics, biology, and chemistry. It is open to any community college student who is interested in working on science-related projects to further their course of study. Dr.’s Van Campen and Mehta were promoting the program, and encouraging students to apply.

The Fall 2013 Series

Skyline College Chemistry Assistant Professor Dr. Carmen Velez, in collaboration with Dr. Steve Weinstein, the Director of Bridges to the Baccalaureate at SFSU, took over organizing the lecture series in spring 2013. They endeavored to bring in guest lecturers with varied backgrounds and topics, in an effort to attract students in all areas of study. Each speaker brought their own educational experience and advice to the table, with guidance ranging from community college through graduate school. Past lecturers have included former Skyline College students, current PhD scholars, and Postdoctoral Fellows.

Former Skyline College student Rebecca Belloso kicked off the series on September 18, 2013. She spoke to a packed lecture hall regarding her research into chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure during pregnancy, and it’s adverse effects on infant birth weight. She shared insight into transferring to a 4-year college and continuing your studies in your chosen field.

Current PhD scholar Karmela Ramos visited the campus on October 2nd, and discussed not only her studies in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at UCSF, but also her experience as a student. She shared a lot of tips and resources with the attendees, and particularly encouraged them to find a mentor to work with and learn from during their time in college.

On October 23rd, postdoctoral Fellow Gilmer Valdes, PhD., told his story of being born in Cuba and attending the University of Havana, only to have to escape and seek political asylum in Mexico. Ultimately, he moved to the Unites States and pursued his PhD at UCLA. He now works in the Radiation Oncology Department at UCSF researching gene therapy and radiation. His lecture was particularly energetic, and the attending students were grateful for the information and encouragement he shared.

Although this semester’s series has ended, please be on the lookout for more information in the spring. The lectures will take place every Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. in Building 7. The lectures are always free and open to the public.

Students from every background and area of study are encouraged to attend, as the topic is often focused on advice and lessons of experience from these educationally successful speakers. If you would like more information, you can contact Dr. Carmen Velez at We look forward to seeing you at next semester’s Science in Action Lecture Series!

Article by Alana Utsumi, Photo by Carmen Velez.