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Howard Community College Releases Third Student Academic Research Journal

Transit of Mercury Artwork

Over the past year, 25 students have worked tirelessly on original research projects with the goal of being published in HCC’s Journal of Research in Progress, Volume 3 [JRIP]. On May 15, that goal became a reality: JRIP Volume 3 is officially available online:

The Journal of Research in Progress grew out of an idea to embrace many disciplines across campus by giving undergraduates an opportunity to go through the process of publishing independent research. JRIP showcases the outstanding original research work that students are doing and celebrates their achievements to date. Students went through a rigorous review and revision process to give them the experience needed to build on their research for future publications should they so choose. This publication features 11 unique research projects that cover various disciplines paired with original pieces of student’s artwork inspired by their respective projects.

Alpha-Amylase and the Effects of Legume-Based Inhibitors

Honors students Ayushi Dave, Abdelrahman Abdelaziz, and Roshae Roberts worked with their biology professor to conduct research on a topic related to their class - how ingesting legumes affects the alpha amylase levels in one’s mouth, which is an essential digestive enzyme found in humans.

“JRIP was an opportunity to publish our work from our research, which is a really big achievement. People wait years to publish their work. HCC gave us a chance, so we had to grab it.” Ayushi said. “Being given the chance to publish your research and work is a huge privilege!"

Using starch iodine tests, the group was able to determine which type of legume was most effective at blocking the activity of the enzyme. By blocking this activity, the inhibitor forces one’s body to break down stored glycogen and fatty acids to provide the body with energy, ultimately leading to weight loss.

Looking Closely: The Transit of Mercury

As a physics major, Grant Bunyard jumped at the opportunity to capture and study the transit of Mercury across the sun on November 11, 2019.

“When Dr. Diamond approached me with an idea for a possible research project, I was hooked,” he said. “The transit of Mercury is an event that only occurs once every 10-12 years. We used this rare opportunity to gather data from the transit to see what we could determine about our solar system.”

Grant was able to calculate Mercury’s diameter within 1% error using his collected data and the known distance between Mercury and the Sun. Among his findings, he was also able to calculate the angular separation between the two and calculate Mercury’s angle of orbit. After this experience, he hopes to conduct many similar research projects in the future.

Exoplanet Photometry and False Positives

Shila Deljookorani, Veronica Kunzle, and Dominic Leger decided to focus their research on exoplanet photometry, the study of changes in the brightness of stars over time. A drop in brightness is due to an object passing in front of the host star which could show the presence of another planet. One of their primary goals was to determine if the drop in brightness was authentic or a false-positive. During their process, they participated in the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Follow-up Observation Program (TFOP), which is an international program set up by NASA to help identify planets outside of our solar system.

“With all of the hard work and hours we put into our research, becoming published and seeing our work in a research journal is a significant accomplishment for us,” said Veronica. “If you asked me two years ago, I would not have imagined learning everything we did. Seeing all of our hard work come together is very rewarding.”

Students interested in participating in next year's volume of JRIP should contact the editorial team at

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Topics: Science & Tech
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