Navigation Links
Science internships attract students to research careers

WESLACO, TXThe United States, respected as a world leader in scientific research, has a shortage of trained scientists. The labor gap is being filled by foreign guest workers, but recent regulations limiting foreign researchers' ability to work in the U. S. have created a need for a new pool of domestic scientists.

According to Eliezer Louzada and his colleagues at Texas A&M UniversityKingsville, the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB), and the University of Texas Pan-American (UTPA), Hispanic Americans and other minority groups are an untapped resource of talent who could fill the labor gap if given access to funds for education and training. "By examining the current situation of the Hispanic community as it relates to education, participation in science careers, social economic factors, and the lack of science role models, we concluded that Hispanics would greatly benefit from hands-on internships at all grade levels", observed Louzada.

A model internship program was created at Texas A&M UniversityKingsville Citrus Center (TAMUKCC), an off-campus research facility located 110 miles from the main campus and 10 miles from the Mexican border in an area where the population is more than 90% Hispanic. The driving distance from the main campus to the research facility created a distinct barrier to recruiting graduate students.

To address the access problem, local universities collaborated to create an undergraduate research program designed to channel undergraduate students to graduate school at TAMUKCC. The study, published in the American Society for Horticultural Science journal HortTechnology, discusses the results obtained during 6 years of the undergraduate internship program.

The internship project was funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Hispanic-Serving Institutions Education Grants Program (USDA-HSI) in 2000 and initiated in Summer 2001. Eighteen undergraduate tudents from UTB and 33 from UTPA participated in the project through June 2007. Most of the students were juniors and seniors.

Researchers observed that, during the first 2 weeks of the internship, most of the students were hesitant to participate or to touch instrumentation in the laboratory. After completing the training the students developed the confidence to carry out a semi-independent project involving the isolation and characterization of a known gene.

None of the students had science as a career choice before the internship; after participating, however, many decided to pursue careers in science. To date, more than 60 students have been provided with internships and 20 students have entered graduate schools, most in molecular biology-related fields, including 10 at the doctoral level in molecular environmental science. Notably, most were first-generation college students.

According to Louzada; "Faculty observed that undergraduate research produced a potential group of excellent, well-trained undergraduate students that in many cases are at a technical level equal to advanced Masters degree students and who are able to start their doctoral program after finishing their Bachelors. The time spent training the undergraduate student is beneficial to faculty and students." He concluded; "Undergraduate research is an efficient method to attract undergraduate students to science, and many universities are taking advantage of this; however, much still needs to be done to fully explore its potential".

The researchers are attempting to obtain additional funding to expand the program to include other disciplines in addition to molecular biology.


Contact: Michael W. Neff
American Society for Horticultural Science

Related biology news :

1. American Institute of Physics announces awards for best science writing
2. Springer and Senckenberg society to collaborate on life sciences and geosciences journals
3. Biophysical sciences program receives $2 million training grant
4. The Earth Observatory of Singapore devoted to the study of earth sciences officially opens
5. NTU seals global partnerships on environmental sciences R&D
6. Mycotoxin Research joins Springers life sciences journals program
7. Biologist receives the 2008 AAAS Public Understanding of Science and Technology Award
8. Van Andel Research Institute and TGen undertake alliance to promote science and health
9. NSF-funded workshops help young researchers teach science
10. US science education organization updates analysis
11. National Science Foundation forum to address ecological connectivity and climate in a changing world
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Science internships attract students to research careers
(Date:11/18/2015)... new scientific discoveries deepen our understanding of how cancer ... challenges in better using that knowledge to guide treatment ... children continue to survive pediatric cancer, that counseling may ... John M. Maris, M.D ., a pediatric oncologist ... --> John M. Maris, M.D ., ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... , November 17, 2015 Paris ...   --> Paris from 17 th ... DERMALOG, the biometrics innovation leader, has invented the first combined ... on the same scanning surface. Until now two different scanners ... one scanner can capture both on the same surface. ...
(Date:11/17/2015)... -- Vigilant Solutions announces today that Mr. Dick W. ... --> --> Mr. Boyce ... at TPG Capital, one of the largest global investment ... revenue.  He founded and led TPG,s Operating Group, which ... 1997 to 2013.  In his first role, he served ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... Halozyme Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: HALO ) will be ... York on Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 a.m. ET/6:30 ... CEO, will provide a corporate overview. th Annual ... 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT . Jim Mazzola , ... corporate overview. --> th Annual Oppenheimer Healthcare Conference ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... IIROC on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms ... there are no corporate developments that would cause the ... --> --> About Aeterna Zentaris ... . --> Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), led by its Executive Council, ... Grand Prix, to represent the First–Person View (FPV) racing community. , FPV racing has ... type of racing and several new model aviation pilots have joined the community because ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris ... today that the remaining 11,000 post-share consolidation (or ... Warrants (the "Series B Warrants") subject to the ... on November 23, 2015, which will result in ... giving effect to the issuance of such shares, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: