On Thursday, October 7, 2021, six student-researchers shared their experiences doing research in a first-time, hyflex program with five student-researchers–Amanda Sayaseng, Brendan Murtagh, Faith Valencia, Jiries Kaileh, Madeleine McSwain available in person, on campus–and student-researcher Shannon Hoang available online through Zoom.


Honors Transfer Program Faculty Coordinator Janice Sapigao welcomed everyone to the event, with close to 20 people attending in person and 20 people attending online. The event started with all students, professional staff, and faculty at the event engaging in a getting-to-know-you icebreaker led by fellow event co-organizers, Chemistry Professor Susanne Schubert and Professor Librarian Pia Walawalkar. After familiarizing ourselves with the space, as most of us were on-campus together either for the first time ever or after a long time away, we transitioned to the student panel.

The panelists primarily consisted of students in various stages of the research process, with some in their first or second years of the Honors Transfer Program. Five out of the six students are in the Next Enriched Xenon Observatory (nEXO) Program, of which Skyline College is the only community college participant.


The student-researchers answered questions about how they first got started in research, how they found faculty-mentors, how they overcame initial self-doubt, how feasible it was to start research projects while taking on regular coursework, and how to find resources for support. Student Juries Kaileh said he didn’t know he could ask for help with his research, but once he did, his research got easier. Madeleine McSwain said that finding the right resources has helped her figure out how to keep going. Shannon Hoang shared, “Most of the challenges I have faced was a lack of monetary resources. I strongly believe that the technology needed to fix climate issues already exists but the money made from bigger corporations  is of higher value in this country. In order to make strides in the STEM industry, we must place the health of the people to a much higher level than it is now.” All of the students mentioned and expressed gratitude to their faculty-mentors who supported them throughout the duration of various research projects.


Student Faith Valencia said that she got started in research after her Professor, Erinn Struss, reached out to her about the Honors Transfer Program. From there, she joined the program and enrolled in Interdisciplinary Studies 105 (IDST 105), the Honors Research Seminar, and she realized that she wanted to learn more about something she’s really interested in: fashion. She ended up doing a creative research project on how Japanese fashion evolved from the 1800s to the twenty-first century.


Anyone who would like to be involved with the Honors Transfer Program can find more information on our website.


We will be hosting another event featuring professional researchers at various stages of their careers. The hyflex event will take place on Thursday, December 2, 2021 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. on-campus in the Skyline College Library, and on Zoom. You can register here.


Article by Janice Sapigao

Photos by Marisa Thigpen

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