HFCC Honor Students Find Success

Three HFCC Honors students won in three separate categories at the annual L.A.N.D. Student Scholars Conference in Bay City on February 14. The L.A.N.D. Student Scholar Conference is the Liberal Arts Network for Development, which focuses on developing stronger liberal arts for Michigan community colleges.
Every year, papers are sent in by community college students and are reviewed for their understanding of the liberal arts. Only the three best students from every community college are selected to participate in the conference itself. Once there, students must give presentations on their papers and the winners not only receive a cash prize, but are published in the upcoming Land Journal.
Kafa Alshohatee won first place in the science section with her “Origin of Life” project. The presentation was centered on proving a famous experiment, the Miller-Urey experiment, wrong. The Miller experiment is about life of the planet beginning and the conditions it may have been under at its birth. While this theory has been around since 1953, lately there has been skepticism if it is indeed still relevant.
Alshohatee dislikes that some teachers taught this experiment as fact, not theory, so she set out to discredit it. She faced challenges with the experiment to prove her thesis correct as it required round the clock attention and flawless execution.
“I couldn’t have achieved such feat without the backing of a great support system. There were difficulties along the way but with the help of my parents, teachers, and friends I was able to overcome them with ease. Hopefully, this is just a stepping stone for many great things to come.”
Amir El-Aswad won first place in the Social Sciences section with “The Power of Persuasion: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Citizens United v FEC Case.” His presentation analyzed how the Supreme Court views corporations as people themselves, giving them the same first amendment rights and letting them be represented however they wished. This was mainly focused on political candidates and political aspects.
Using an objective view, El-Asward proved that the power of persuasion is so powerful, it doesn’t have to be logical. Learning the Supreme Court jargon was the most difficult part of this project, but the knowledge alone makes this a great victory for El-Asward, who is a Law major.
Steffani Traskos won second place in Arts and Literature section with her “Heidelberg Project: Ruin Porn, Trash Art, and How We View Abandonment in Detroit.” Her presentation examined the art form of decaying buildings and structures, based upon Tryee Guyton’s work. This is also called Ruin Porn or Trash Art.
Traskos was motivated by her love of graffiti and street art and faced challenges involving the understanding of abstract constructs of the research. She feels good about winning as she helped develop understanding for her audience about contemporary art concepts. She also proved she can speak publicly for nearly 20 minutes, making this a personal triumph.
Honors Program instructor Peter Kim deserves a thanks for providing guidance and support. Professor Layla Rahhal-Irabi deserves credit for serving as a mentor for Alshohatee. The success of these students in arguably the most competitive categories at the conference was all thanks to their hard work in research, professionalism in their presentations, and their excellent papers. This isn’t just a personal victory for them but a victory for the integrity of this college.