The Beacon Conference's Origins
The Beacon Conference was established by mostly Honors faculty to recognize, celebrate, and showcase the academic achievements of outstanding students at community colleges in the mid-Atlantic region. It is held each year on the first Friday in June, and it encompasses a wide range of disciplines.
The Beacon Conference was born in 1993 when Rockland Community College (NY), with a grant from the American Association of Community Colleges and the Kellogg Foundation, and in association with Bergen Community College (NJ), Brookdale Community College (NJ), Catonsville Community College (MD), Dutchess Community College (NY), Harford Community College (MD), Kingsborough Community College (NY), Middlesex Community/Technical College (CT), Nassau Community College (NY) and Westchester Community College (NY), organized two conferences for student scholars at two-year colleges in the mid-Atlantic region.
Since then, the conference has been sponsored by a coalition of participating community colleges which take turns hosting this event each year the first Friday in June.
How the Conference Works
Students work with faculty members to prepare academic papers.
Students submit their work to the conference by March 1.
Conference directors and their team anonymize the papers, divide the papers into groups based on topic and/or field, and send them to teams of faculty readers at two-year colleges in the region.
Readers rank the papers, and the writers of the top three papers are invited to prepare a 20-minute talk to participate as Panel Competitors in a field- or topic-specific panel at the conference, which is always held on the first Friday in June. Runners up and writers of great research that falls outside existing panel categories are invited to participate as Poster Presenters in a poster session.
Panel Competitors prepare their talk and any visual aids (a slide deck in PowerPoint, for example), and Poster Presenters prepare a short talk and a professional poster.
On the first Friday in June, the conference is held. Panel Competitors give their presentations before a judge — a full-time faculty member at a four-year college or university in the region — and anyone else attending the panel. After the competitors have given their talks, the judge has an opportunity to ask questions before opening the floor to questions from the audience.
Poster Presenters participate in an afternoon session to which all attendees of the conference are invited: a smorgasbord of research presentations, each of which is given several times to the small groups of people who gather according to their interests or whims.
After each panel session concludes, the session’s judge returns to the Judges’ Room to record comments on each competitor and to identify a Panel Award Winner.
Once judges have submitted their decisions and comments, the conference directors rapidly prepare materials for the concluding ceremony, then hold the concluding ceremony, recognizing participants and award winners, and participants and award winners leave with certificates in hand.
Panel Award Winners and their mentors receive a monetary award/honorarium by mail, and papers by Panel Award Winners are compiled into the conference proceedings and published on the conference’s website in June or early July.
Conference Hosts and Annual Proceedings
The table below lists conference years, host colleges, college presidents during the host year, co-directors, and annual proceedings. Links to the proceedings open in a new tab or window.
|Year||Host College||College President||Co-Directors||Annual Proceedings|
|1993||Rockland Community College, NY||John Flynn (acting)||Libby Bay, Bob Kahn, and Nancy Hazelton||Proceedings 1993|
|1994||Rockland Community College, NY||Neil Raisman||Libby Bay, Bob Kahn, and Nancy Hazelton||Proceedings 1994|
|1995||Dutchess Community College, NY||D. David Conklin||Judy Kohl and John Desmond||Proceedings 1995|
|1996||Harford Community College, MD||Claudia Chiesi||Sheila Allen and Lilly Downs||Proceedings 1996|
|1997||Westchester Community College, NY||Joseph N. Hankin||Carol Klein and Mira Sakrajda||Proceedings 1997|
|1998||Bergen Community College, NJ||Judith Winn||George Skau, Geoffrey Sadock, and Bob Kahn||Proceedings 1998|
|1999||Dutchess Community College, NY||D. David Conklin||John Desmond and Seemi Ahmad||Proceedings 1999|
|2000||Rockland Community College, NY||George Hamada||Libby Bay, Nancy Hazelton, and Wilma Frank||Proceedings 2000|
|2001||Lehigh Carbon Community College, PA||Donald W. Snyder||Ned Schillow and Carrie Myers||Proceedings 2001|
|2002||Westchester Community College, NY||Joseph N. Hankin||Carol Klein and Mira Sakrajda||Proceedings 2002|
|2003||Ulster County Community College, NY||Donald C. Katt||Michelle Rodden and Miho Kawai||Proceedings 2003|
|2004||Northampton Community College, PA||Arthur Scott||Nancy Trautmann and Elizabeth Bodien||Proceedings 2004|
|2005||Montgomery College, MD||Charlene R. Nunley||Dedee Aleccia and Tom Anderson||Proceedings 2005|
|2006||Dutchess Community College, NY||D. David Conklin||Seemi Ahmad, Mark Condon, and Keith O'Neill||Proceedings 2006|
|2007||Rockland Community College, NY||Cliff L. Wood||Elaine Toia and Thomas Butler||Proceedings 2007|
|2008||Bergen Community College, NJ||Jeremiah Ryan||Dorothy Altman, Alan Kaufman, and Maria Makowiecka||Proceedings 2008|
|2009||Montgomery College, MD||Brian Johnson||Roxanne Davidson, Lucy Laufe, Bette Petrides, and Carole Wolin||Proceedings 2009|
|2010||Orange County Community College, NY||Bill Richards||Mary Ann Van Benschoten and Melissa Browne||Proceedings 2010|
|2011||Lehigh Carbon Community College, PA||Donald W. Snyder||Ned Schillow and Christine Bowditch||Proceedings 2011|
|2012||Westchester Community College, NY||Joseph N. Hankin||Mira Sakrajda and Lori Maida||Proceedings 2012|
|2013||Northampton Community College, PA||Mark H. Erickson||Nancy Trautmann, Randy Boone, and Shauna Gobble||Proceedings 2013|
|2014||Ulster County Community College, NY||Donald C. Katt||Deb Waller-Frederick, Jennifer Patterson, and Crystal Schacter||Proceedings 2014|
|2015||Rockland Community College, NY||Cliff L. Wood||Kristopher Baker, Thomas Butler, and Robert Fuentes||Proceedings 2015|
|2016||Bergen Community College, NJ||B. Kaye Walter||Sarah Shurts and Maria Makowiecka||Proceedings 2016|
|2017||Orange County Community College, NY||Kristine M. Young||Michele Iannuzzi Sucich, Stephanie Wish, and Samuel Dillon||Proceedings 2017|
|2018||Montgomery College, MD||DeRionne P. Pollard||Effie Siegel and Lucy Laufe||Proceedings 2018|
|2019||Lehigh Carbon Community College, PA||Ann Bieber||Jonathan Sponsler and Holly Morris|