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Thursday, July 07, 2022

Even as nine judges moseyed around with evaluation sheets, SFCC students, some clad in business attire, appeared comfortable standing next to their research posters on campus Monday evening.

SFCC held its first Student Research Symposium to showcase projects in biological sciences, physical sciences, mathematics and social and behavioral sciences.

Twenty-seven students participated in the symposium, and 17-year-old Jeramiah Hocutt won first place for his project titled "Expectations of Wind-Generated Energy as a Renewable Power Source."

"The research was long," Hocutt said. "I've become somewhat of an expert on this."

He said he didn't view the symposium as a competition against some of his classmates who also researched energy.

Instead, Hocutt saw the event as a way to educate others about solutions to a potential energy crisis.

"Let's get together and tell everyone," he said. "Not one will work as a singular alternative."

Hocutt received a $100 Barnes & Noble gift card, a $15 iTunes gift card and passes to Sea World.

"I encourage everyone else to continue on researching," he said.

Other projects focused on statistical research rather than energy sciences.

Public relations student Stephanie Dunne, 33, investigated the number of men versus women who have graduated from SFCC since 1967, which was the only year when more men graduated than women.

Nicki Nidelkoff, a 21-year-old psychology and history student, presented information on sex offenders who live next to Gainesville schools and apartment complexes.

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"I was sexually abused when I was growing up, so this is a topic close to my heart," Nidelkoff said.

She said the research process was very therapeutic for her.

"Someone who's actually been there and gone through it, people tend to listen to them," Nidelkoff said.

Mike Patrick, an SFCC geology and physical science professor, served as a judge and has previous experience judging at the Alachua County Science Fair.

"This is just based on some research and not experiments," Patrick said.

Curtis Jefferson, the SFCC associate vice president of academic affairs, said the symposium helps link what students learn to current events.

"I'm very proud of the students' work, extremely proud," Jefferson said.

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