McLennan Community College
Undergraduate Research
The Biology Program and the
Highlander Undergraduate Research Institute
Undergraduate Research in Biology:
Geared toward majors to build skills/
leverage research to compete:
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•
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competitive universities and programs
internships
jobs in research labs at transfer
Method: Resume Building provided by UR
Research Structure:
I. Tap into innate curiosity (Embedded
research) and encourage follow-through
II. Recruit into in-depth research courses
III. Adapt Research Courses:
“Layer” research courses to maximize skills
and depth of knowledge
I.
Tap into innate curiosity –
Student driven research – Start at the
beginning!
Embedded in General Biology I –
2 research projects:
One Known; One Novel
1).Looked at our labs in new ways:
Took old labs,
Gave them a “twist”
The “Apollo 13” Lab:
How could students figure this out on their own?
2).Novel Research
2D:4D
Finger ratios
More confident;
ready to strike out
on their own!
Why novel? Intense Interest and Learning with Curiosity
Layering: Pilot Studies
Embedded Research in General Biology II
Semester-long, novel team research project
Organismal Biological research
Design a scientific poster
Present at MCC Scholar Day
II. Layering:
Recruit to in-depth research courses
Why the need to recruit?
1. Students don’t understand why its important for them:
Medical school?… “I don’t have time for “Marine research..”
2. Students think this is for someone else
think they’re not capable of this…
Don’t see themselves in this “advanced” role
Who would you accept into your
competitive program or university?
__________________________________
John Smith
Dallas, Texas
Education:
“Other” Community College
GPA: 3.9
Honors: Phi Theta Kappa
Dean’s list: Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013
Rice Scholarship, 2012-2013
Work Experience:
County Farmer’s Market – sales, 2010- present
Emily Rogers
Education:
McLennan Community College
GPA: 3.7
Honors: Phi Theta Kappa
Dean’s List: Spring 2012, Fall 2013, Spring 2014
Posters Presented:
A Comparison of Parrotfish Populations in Coral Reef Systems of Roatan, Honduras - The Effect of Nearby
Mangroves. McLennan Community College - Scholar Day, Waco, Texas. November, 2012.
A Comparison of Parrotfish Populations in Coral Reef Systems of Roatan, Honduras - The Effect of Nearby
Mangroves. Community College Undergraduate Research Institute (CCURI) Regional Colloquium Phoenix, AZ. February 2013.
A Comparison of Parrotfish Populations in Coral Reef Systems of Roatan, Honduras - The Effect of Nearby
Mangroves. Texas Academy of Science - Annual Meeting, Galveston, Texas. March 2013.
Algal coverage – the Effect of Nearby Mangroves on Roatan Coral Reefs. Texas Academy of Science - Annual
Meeting, San Antonio, Texas. March 2014.
Algal coverage – the Effect of Nearby Mangroves on Roatan Coral Reefs. National Conference for
Undergraduate Research (NCUR) Lexington, KY April 2014.
Algal coverage – the Effect of Nearby Mangroves on Roatan Coral Reefs. Community College Undergraduate
Research Initiative - Regional Colloquium. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. March 2014.
III. Adaptable Research Courses:
“Layer” research courses to maximize skills
and depth of knowledge
Biology 2389 - Academic Cooperative
Flexible course ---In Texas must be listed ACGM
Adaptable
Research
Courses:
Marine Research
in the
Caribbean
Molecular Research:
The next layer!
In-depth research - student driven
Offered as research needs require it
Recruit other (select) student researchers
This accomplishes 3 things:
Student researcher has a team - to enhance timely completion
Other students learn valuable molecular techniques
Research Mentor is PAID!! (6 or more = full research class!)
Challenge to adaptable/in-depth research courses:
1. Extended time/intense course demands of science majors/
schedule conflicts
2. Summer: No funding for classes
SOLUTION:
“Flex start course” – pay with their spring course load
(Can use Pell grants in spring semester)
Meets one evening/week (Marine):
front-load background information
develop projects
After spring semester:
Field research begins
Flexible lab time (Molecular)
Students pick their afternoon
Challenges to adaptable courses:
I. Mentor background:
“You want to study Naegleria in Lake Waco?”
A. Adaptable Approach:
Team-based approach to challenges
“Steer”/direct
B. Seek help!!
Colleagues, adjuncts, partner universities –
a wealth of knowledge!
Major Challenges Encountered –
UR at Community Colleges
Lab Space: Classroom labs all in use
Repurpose rooms - storage/prep labs
(Seek administrative support first!)
Major Challenges Encountered –
UR at Community Colleges
TIME!!
Physical class demands - stay the same (6 hrs/day in class, PLUS
research demands, new courses)
To organize, research, supplies, orders, packing, permits
Editing, poster printing, presentation practice, more editing
Recruiting
Overseeing student submissions to HURI (funding), conferences
Travel forms for the Business office… Receipts
Increased letters of recommendation!!
Solution:
?????????????????????????????
Research Assistants from work study, student workers
New approaches (Ongoing)
Use collegiate model for coaches - already in place
HURI – Full-time Director and support staff
…… I’ll get back to you!!
Major Challenges Encountered –
UR at Community Colleges
Money (Sustainability)
For students projects and travel
Crucial for Professional Resume Building!!
(Otherwise just another “course”)
Solution:
The Highlander Undergraduate Research
Institute (HURI)
HURI Timeline:
Spring 2012:
Idea from first CCURI development meeting
HURI formation - follow college guidelines
Summer 2012:
HURI Open House – after MCC Foundation Dinner for Donators:
Donors invited to showcased UR at MCC Science Building
Fall 2012:
HURI Committee Formed – included outside of STEM faculty
Research Summit – Scheduled at night when
Board of Directors met; formal invitation
Spring 2013:
“CUR Dialogues” – Feb 2013 - Jeff Selingo and others:
challenges facing colleges – similar to newspapers in the 1990s
How to make relevant/compete with online?
Free courses?
Consulted with “Power – Faculty” at MCC …. How to leverage?
Consulted with CCURI for advice; approach with administrators
Meeting with VP of instruction; Dean Arts and Sciences,
Dept. Chair
Explained UR as a tool that enabled MCC to stand
apart from other schools – even big
universities!!
Argued need for project coordinator/ central
office/Campus-wide UR/funding
Spring 2013:
Board of Directors meeting – 5-6 students chosen to present their
posters before the dinner and board meeting
Captive audience - students impressed them!!
Fall 2013:
HURI Project Coordinator/Director - 3 hour course credit
“release time” to oversee
Funding granted by the board for research and presentation
travel
Ongoing work:
Full-time HURI Director
Support staff to help faculty and students
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UR at MCC-Biology and HURI F14