Elayne Blancas

Recent Hostos graduate Elayne Blancas has kept especially busy this summer. Not only is she participating in the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Summer Program in Biology and Neuroscience, she also recently won a first-place prize for her oral research presentation at the fifth annual CUNY Research Scholarship Program (CRSP) symposium.

The goal of CRSP is to encourage undergraduate participation in authentic research through funded laboratory experiences and to increase persistence in STEM disciplines. The symposium, which was held at John Jay College on July 24th, allows CSRP students a chance to deliver a poster board or oral presentation on their research.

Blancas said, “The symposium gave me yet another opportunity to present valuable research and inform those around me on the importance of education, progress, and of our actions.”

She presented her project, “Heat Dissipation in Elephants Using Thermal Imaging Techniques,” which she worked on with Dr. Moise Koffi, an assistant professor of mathematics and director of the STEP/CSTEP program at Hostos.

Summer 2019 was the symposium’s first competition for oral presentations. With only one oral presenter allowed per school, Blancas had the support of Dr. Koffi and Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs Felix Cardona, who nominated her to represent Hostos.

“I am so proud of myself to have delivered one of my best presentations, to my largest audience yet,” Blancas said. “I hope to continue making ground-breaking discoveries, and educating the public for positive change. Science is a powerful tool that I look forward to further developing to yield transformative results for our communities and to combat global challenges.”

Blancas is also enjoying her experience at MIT, where she does research in Emery Brown’s laboratory and receives mentorship from other accomplished scientists. Blancas presented her project, “A Physiologically Accurate Point Process Model for Heart Rate Variability to Track Autonomic Dynamics,” at MIT’s 34th Annual Summer Research Presentation.

Elayne Blancas“This internship has given me the opportunity to partake in conferences that I otherwise could not have with my engineering background alone,” Blancas said. She will also give an oral presentation on her findings at the Biomedical Engineering Society Conference in Philadelphia this October.

"At MIT, I feel like I belong, and I have found a home away from home,” said Blancas, “Not only have I attended lectures and other functions with some of the greatest minds in the world, I observed prostatectomies, breast biopsies, nephrectomies, and even an urethrectomy at Massachusetts General Hospital.”

Blancas will be continuing her studies at New York University. “I am leaving all my options open and taking things one step at a time,” Blancas said, “I am very excited to see what the universe has in store for me next!”