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BSC Students Participate in Summer Research Internship at Virginia Tech

  • Created
    Monday, September 24 2012
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103 jnelson@bluefieldstate.edu

musa nyassi baboucarr jagne(Bluefield)—Bluefield State College students Musa Nyassi (left) and Baboucarr Bless Jagne (right) invested ten weeks of intensive study this summer as participants in the Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program (MAOP) at Virginia Tech. The BSC students, both from The Gambia, took part in the MAOP's Summer Research Internship, working with a Virginia Tech faculty member in a mentor/protégé relationship to design, conduct, and present a scholarly research paper.


Nyassi, a Computer Science major, utilized computer models and Netlogo, an agent-based modeling and simulation toolbox. "I studied the spread of malaria in a population and the effect of different human intervention strategies," he explained. "Simulation and visualization shows how people infected by mosquitos carrying malaria parasites can get sick and it can also be an effective tool in disease prevention." His study considered the impact of three intervention strategies—mosquito nets, a clean environment, and the use of insecticides, to determine their impact on slowing or stopping the spread of the disease.


Jagne, a Business Accounting major, used Netlogo to compare the effectiveness of two types of companies—one that was extremely profit-driven and another that focused more energy on employee relations. "The variables that I considered included the educational level of the workforce, and employees' commitment to their jobs to determine which type of company will do better over time," he recounted. "I determined that neither type of company would outperform the other type in every instance."


MAOP is an academic success community founded upon the principles of self-help, mentoring, and peer support. Participation is open to students who demonstrate a clear commitment to the pursuit of academic excellence and are interested in the promotion of diversity.


"In addition to our research, we attended seminars, took field trips, and prepared for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)," Nyassi added. Both BSC student participants plan to continue their studies in graduate studies. They expressed appreciation for the letters of recommendation from the College's faculty and staff, and for the encouragement and direction of their MAOP mentor, Dr. Yang Cao, Associate Professor/Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech.