“It was really great to be in an environment with so many other people who are pursuing studies that excite them.”
June 25, 2018

Maximino DiGiacomo-Castillo Wins a First Place Award at The Beacon Conference 2018

Maximino DiGiacomo-Castillo, a Computer and Information Sciences major, received a First Place award at this year’s Beacon Conference for his research paper and presentation entitled “Blockchain: A Use Case Analysis.” 

Max is the first PCCC student to receive a top prize at the Beacon Conference, an annual event that showcases the academic achievements of outstanding Honors Program students at community colleges in the mid-Atlantic region. This was Max’s first appearance at the Conference.

“It was really great to be in an environment with so many other people who are pursuing studies that excite them,” said Max, who is a blockchain enthusiast.  “I was nervous at first, because I never did any public speaking before, but once I started my presentation, I felt more confident.”

Explaining the thesis of his research paper, Max noted that many people today consider the concept of blockchain to be where the internet was in the 1990s. “No one is really sure what the “killer app” is going to be,” said Max. “I wanted to explore this idea because there are many  possible applications outside of cryptocurrencies, so I focused on things like online voting, supply chain management, and charity.” 

Max, a Ringwood resident and graduate of Lakeland Regional High School, competed against two other finalists in the Computer Science category. He received a $100 prize and a Certificate of Excellence.

To participate in the Beacon Conference, students must submit a mentored research paper. A panel of judges, mostly professors of four-year colleges, selects three finalists from each subject category for a conference presentation. Selection is based on quality of research and originality. The finalists are judged on both the research paper and an oral presentation of 10 to 20 minutes.

“As Max’s mentor, I am very proud of him,” said Professor Marc Yeung, advisor to PCCC’s Honors Program. “He did an incredible job during his presentation, especially when he was faced with difficult questions from the judge and the audience.”

Two other PCCC students, Miko DiGiacomo-Castillo, Max’s sister, and Veronica Oquendo also competed in this year’s Conference which was held June 1 at Montgomery College in Maryland. Miko, who was the first PCCC student to compete at the Conference last year, presented a research paper titled “Foiled Philosophy.”  Veronica’s presentation was “Treatment of Multiple Psychological Disorders with Psychedelics.”

Professor Yeung, along with Professor Lonna Murphy, accompanied the participating PCCC students to the Conference.

“Our students were very competitive with students from the other community colleges,” said Professor Yeung. “The Beacon Conference is truly an amazing experience for our Honors Program students, and I highly encourage all of them to participate in the future.”