FARMINGTON — San Juan College's video production students capped off three summer research projects with an interdepartmental project aimed at promoting community college level research and engaging students with real world experience.

The video project showcases biology students' research on hantavirus, the goji berry and compounds found in broccoli.

"We're the story tellers," said Luke Renner, assistant professor of digital media, arts and design.

His video production class spent fall semester producing video, animation and photo illustrations for the project.

"For me, this is an eye-opener for what can be accomplished," Renner said. "It can lead to collaboration outside the classroom. I'm amazed at what they've put together. It's applicable to careers. We've made a marketable product."

Renner's students were assisted by students from a 3D design and animation class to create a 3D animation of a lung and students from the digital image editing class to create animated graphics.

"It's been great for the students," Renner said.

Biology department professors hope that the video project will spur more interest in undergraduate research at the college.

"It is unique that we have so much research at a community college," said Veronica Evans, associate professor of biology at the college.

Evans' students performed research on the hantavirus, goji berry and the sulforaphane compound found in broccoli and other vegetables.


Conducting research early in a college career can help students be more successful when they transfer to four year colleges and universities.

"We have a number of students in the biology program that are interested in transferring that want to get their feet wet in research," said Don Hyder, associate professor of biology. "I think one of the advantages is that students, by the time they get done with research, they have a much higher confidence level for a four year college or a masters program.


San Juan College's programs offer students in the Four Corners a unique opportunity to engage in academic research, Hyder said.

"There's not a very large number of community colleges that engage in undergraduate research," he said. "We also have a number of very well qualified faculty."

The three research projects were conducted through a partnership with Ft. Lewis College in Durango and New Mexico State University, Hyder said.

"It allows me the opportunity to have a number of students involved," he said. "We're trying to involve students across departments. These projects lead to results outside the classroom."