Beach sand from Pacifica under a dissecting microscope. The sand was filtered and selectively dyed with Nile Red, which made the plastic particles fluorescent pink.

The Biotechnology and Manufacturing Club and the Chemistry department at Skyline College provided hands-on experience for students and staff on the study of microplastic pollution, as well as checking water samples on campus and around Pacifica, CA. This opportunity (Thursday, May 5, 3:00 – 5:00 pm) was hosted by Dr. Nick Kapp (Biotechnology Faculty), Dr. Susanne Schubert (Chemistry Faculty), and Benjamin-Rafael Mingoa (Student Researcher). The research study was started with Dr. Christine Case (Biology Faculty), who mentored and supported students on the identification of microplastic pollution.

Participants tested environmental samples (sand and creek water) from Pacifica and observed different types of pollution in waterways leading out into the ocean. They found microplastic particles were in sand samples, compared to very small concentrations in the creek water. For students, this event was eye-opening to the importance of personal awareness of pollution in our community.

An attending student shares, “This has been one of the most eye opening experiences that I have had. Overall, I am impressed by the research that was developed by my peers. I found it very impactful and it has changed my perspective significantly.”

For more information on how to get involved in research, reach out to the Honors Transfer Program and visit their website at:


Article by Benjamin-Rafael Mingoa and Kaileiani Louie | Photo by Benjamin-Rafael Mingoa


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