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