Skyline College’s uSOAR (Undergraduate Symposium of Academic Research) returned in-person this Spring 2022 semester! uSOAR is a two-day event designed to highlight the research of faculty and students in different subject areas and provides students the opportunity to present their research in a conference format. It was held on April 27-28, 2022 at the Skyline College Library. Following a welcome from the Director of the Learning Commons Gabriela Nocito and Skyline College President Dr. Melissa Moreno, uSOAR kicked off day one with over 70 in attendance, ranging from volunteers, coordinators, community members, staff and students.

The first day’s keynote speaker, History Professor John Ulloa, presented on “From Barrio Streets to the CLASSROOM: intersections of lowriding culture.” He shared some of his research on the worldwide lowriding community and the potential influence the emic perspective can have on students’ research.

The student panel consisted of five students: Allen Bustos, Curtis Chou, Tara Grover, Shannon Hoang and Benjamin-Rafael Mingoa, who shared their experiences with research and in leadership positions. Some of these roles included being a part of the Associated Students of Skyline College, Honors Transfer Program, Phi Theta Kappa, and Project Change. Initiatives included research presentations, outreach, suggestion and implementation of ideas on-campus, and working as a Peer Instructor in the STEM Center and Learning Commons. Dr. Susanne Schubert and Skyline College student Julio Lau moderated the panel.

Jonathan Mariano-Smith reflected on his academic and personal journey as Skyline College’s student keynote speaker for the second day of uSOAR. He spoke on opportunities and challenges, mentors, experiences and what he hopes to accomplish in the future.

The faculty research panel represented a variety of majors and areas of study within the Skyline College campus community. Dr. Carla Grandy (Dean STEM), Lynsey Hemstreet (Cosmetology), Dr. Katie Hern (English), Dr. Shaun Perisho (Psychology), Dr. Nicole Porter (Acting Dean Social Sciences and Creative Arts) and Dr. Kolo Wamba (Physics) shared their experiences in research. They provided students with insightful information on the process of researching, from how to get started and reminding attendees that research is a constantly evolving process. Outreach & Equity Librarian Pia Walawalkar and Skyline College student Grace Xu moderated and fielded questions from attendees during the panel discussion.

From a wide range of topics including literature, art, and science, student researchers presented their impressive work. Poster contributions, which will be on display at the Skyline College Library Quiet Study Area until the end of the semester, include the works of Nathalie Alfaro, Mikayla Balan, Virgil Daggert, Jerry Hnin, Nicholas Kim, Michelle Kleytman, Aliaksandra Liubetski, Nathan Lo, Madeleine McSwain, Benjamin-Rafael Mingoa, Cindy Mont, May Myat Chel Myint, Florence Thwe, Chuyun Wang and Isabel Wong.

Professor Kenyatta Weathersby’s class presented a class research project. Contributing students were: Alexis Boac, Logan Brown, Virginia Figueroa, Courtney Harold, Toyo Kano, Lala Lautaimi, Natalie Shives, Angelina Tjogas, Arthur Veloso Nepomuceno Da Silva and Jeremie Quaile.

The following students presented their work through presentations on the main stage and Library classroom: Azure Bell, Allen Bustos, Tara Grover, Jiries Kaileh, Julio Lau, Gael Lee, Faith Mackriss, Anny Gabrielly Moreira da Silveira, Steven Orozco, Roxanna Restrepo, Julia Rogers, Catherine Stoehr (via Zoom) and Grace Xu.

This work would not have been possible without the many Skyline College faculty mentors who volunteer their time to support student research projects. Their dedication to supporting student success is a key factor to the success of events like these.

The organizing committee, Rachel Cunningham (Geography), Jennifer Merrill (Psychology), Janice Sapigao (English), Dr. Susanne Schubert (Chemistry), Pia Walawalkar (Library) and Chris Woo (Social Science/Creative Arts including Project Change) would like to thank the Associated Students of Skyline College (ASSC) and the Barker Fund for Social Science for their generous financial support of this event.

For more information about uSOAR and how to get involved, email, or visit the website at:


Article by Kaileiani Louie, Janice Sapigao, Susanne Schubert, Pia Walawalkar and Chris Woo | Photos by Marisa Thigpen and Kaileiani Louie


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *