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News Release

Date: June 14, 2006
Media Contact: Steve Simon, 301-251-7952; Elizabeth Homan, 301-251-7970

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Montgomery College Students Take Top Prizes at 2006 Beacon Conference
MC Places 15 Finalists, in Total, in Annual Two-year College Research Competition

Montgomery College students captured first prize in four categories at the 2006 Beacon Conference, a competition held annually to honor the research accomplishments of students from two-year colleges.

MC students Irena Antic, Rebecca Reich, Fatemah Tavakkoli and Kevin Wilkerson was named Beacon Scholars and were awarded $100 for their accomplishments. Their faculty mentors, English Professor Shweta Sen, Sociology Professor Dr. Benedict Ngala and Political Science and Philosophy Professor Aram Hessami, also were awarded $100 each for the winning papers they sponsored.

This year, the Beacon Conference was hosted by Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, New York on June 2.

Antic topped the Gender Studies category with her paper entitled, “Birth is Medicine for Death: Globalization of Childbirth Practices and the Implications for the Women’s Rights Movement.” The paper analyzed the causes for the general mortality rates in both America and the Hausa population in Africa. Based on her research, Antic argued that globalization is improving women’s lifestyles by bettering the health care available to them.

Reich was chosen as the winner of the Interdisciplinary Studies category for her paper, “The Consumer Revolution: The Globalization of Consumerism and its Effects on Traditional Values.” The paper discusses the shift away from traditional values and towards increased consumption, citing it as a possible cause for many Americans’ unhappiness.

Tavakkoli won in the Social Justice category. Her paper entitled “Maximum Treatment, Minimum Cure,” examines the flaws of current anti-drug laws – namely the room they leave open to target minorities and the tendency of the system to incarcerate street-level offenders rather than big kingpin dealers. She instead suggests a solution involving a comprehensive system that legalizes drugs while offering medical and behavioral treatments, counseling and alternative job opportunities for sellers.

Wilkerson was chosen as the winner of the Geography category. His paper, “A Tale of Many Cities: Globalization and the Transformation of Urban Geography,” explored the economical, demographic and physical changes of global north and global south cities. He found that globalization has increased urbanization around the world and has benefited global north cities more than global south cities.

The competition offered 18 categories to which contestants could submit a paper. Students were required to have a faculty mentor who helped them prepare and submit an original research paper in their chosen field. Entries were judged based on quality and originality of research, written work and oral presentation. Three finalists were chosen from each category to present their paper at the conference, and, based on the presentations, one winner was chosen from the three finalists.

Montgomery College sent 15 finalists to the conference in nine of the different categories available. The other finalists from Montgomery College include Danielle Batigne Tropper, Catherine Burlington, Grecia E. Centeno, Velvet E. Wright, Michel Herman, Kamga Kengne, Katlyn E. Lasko, Kelly Davison, Lauren Minard, Afsaneh Samari, Natasha Gregory Michelman and Malcalm D. Royer.

The Beacon Conference was started in 1993 by Rockland Community College and has since expanded to encompass the east coast region from Maryland to New England. This year 104 students from 14 colleges submitted papers, and 54 students from 11 colleges were chosen as finalists.

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