Bellevue College’s Science Division was the source of some exciting news recently.
The National Science Foundation awarded the college a $550,000 grant to bring a groundbreaking student research program to other community colleges in the state. Called ComGen: Community College Genomics Research Initiative, this program, created several years ago by biology instructor Gita Bangera, gives students the opportunity to perform original scientific research sequencing the genome of a bacterium that fights a wheat fungus.
The program has been very successful at BC, boosting the number of students who pursue STEM – short for science, technology, engineering and math – majors and careers. It has also helped open the door for many nontraditional students, such as parents, veterans, people of color and those with low-income backgrounds.
Not to be outdone, one of our chemistry instructors, Dan Mitchell, also made news when he was ranked as one of the top professors in the nation by the website RateMyProfessors.com. Out of 1.7 million professors rated, Mitchell made the list at number 16, alongside faculty at schools such as Boston University, University of Massachusetts, George Mason University and Indiana University. He was the only professor from Washington state in the top 25.
Mitchell, who earned a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Washington, has taught at BC since 2008. “I’m really honored that my students had such nice things to say in their reviews. I just try to treat them with respect and remember what it was like to be in their position, and work to motivate them and get the most out of them,” he said.