Tae Kim.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College student Tae Kim won first place in the category of environmental biology and ecology for his research and poster, “Comparison of Bacterial Communities in New Jersey Soils using Next Generation Sequencing” at the Metropolitan Association of College and University Biologists (MACUB) meeting held at Monmouth University this fall.

“I want to thank my mentor, Bergen Professor Dr. Luis Jimenez, for giving me this opportunity and believing in me,” Kim, of Palisades Park, who competed against other community college students from New York and New Jersey, said. “I felt like I made my first big step in life.”

Kim sampled six types of soil in New Jersey and presented research that focused on understanding the bacterial composition in the soil. Since bacteria can only grow in certain conditions, traditional culturing methods would not work. Instead, Kim used “next generation sequencing,” technology that enables a closer examination of DNA molecules.

Planning to graduate with an honors degree in May 2020, Kim serves as an advisory board member and director of service for Phi Theta Kappa – the honor society of two-year institutions. He also holds the position of vice president of the Tri-Beta biology club and serves as a tutor for math, chemistry and biology.

“Tae’s performance at the MACUB meeting was outstanding,” Professor Jimenez, Ph.D., said. “He was able to convey the importance of his research work to judges and the general public in a clear and precise way. Tae has the ability to produce impressive results in a wide variety of areas. He is organized, motivated, mature, and inquisitive. Additionally, he has demonstrated a very positive attitude and truly embraced learning all there is to know about microbiology.”

Founded in 1967, the Metropolitan Association of College and University Biologists is a professional organization comprised of college and university biologists in the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. For more information, visit macub.org.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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