NSF Undergraduate Research Experience in Biology

Uploaded by KState on 16.08.2012

bjbj Ted Morgan>> The thing that s very unique about the biology REU that we run here is
that we have this nice integration between the Konza Prairie LTER site and the ecological
genomics institute and so in between those two things, we have two sets of faculty that
are at the cutting edge of ecological genomic research and focused on mechanisms in response
to environmental change. Between those two groups, we get really diverse students and
that diversity really makes the program great. Rachel Pain>> I go to St. Olaf College in
Northfield, Minnesota. St. Olaf is a small, liberal arts school so we don t have much
opportunity for research like this so my advisors pointed me to the NSF website where I just
kind of looked through the database and picked the REUs that I thought fit my personality
and I wanted to study the most and K-State was one of the few that I chose to apply to.
Carolyn Ferguson>> It s very, very different from learning in a science classroom. So when
you do a research project, you re actually really doing the science. For some students
it seems to be a completely different experience. Bruce Snyder>> The main goal of that is to
give undergraduate students an opportunity to do independent research, to get an idea
of what research is like so they can decide if a career in science is for them so they
re working with a mentor and that mentor is helping to supervise the project, but it really
is their project. Carolyn Ferguson>> This is a project that s sort of a small piece
of a bigger, ongoing set of research projects that we re doing in my lab. We designed Rachel
s project to be something she could fit within 10 weeks, which is a little bit tricky. We
wanted it to be something that is really her project so that it s not just something everybody
else is doing. She s focused on understanding diversity in a particular set of plants. Rachel
Pain>> So I went up to the Black Hills region in South Dakota and took samples of Phlox
hoodii, which is a little, low-lying prairie plant. We collected 22 populations, I think,
and I brought them back here and pressed them so they would make nice herbarium samples
and then took some silicon gel samples and with the silicon gel samples, I ve done flow
cytometry to look at genome size to see if there s any difference in ploidy levels. The
goal of my project is to kind of get a sense of the specie s boundaries of Phlox hoodii.
They re highly variable plants so they can look different even between the sun and the
shade, so kind of getting a grasp between the variation of the species. Bruce Snyder>>
It s a great way to try your hand at research to see is this something you enjoy doing.
Would you consider a career in this? Are you interested in going to graduate school and
pursuing that sort of thing? It s also a great way to meet people from all over the country,
which is really nice. Ted Morgan>> They do a lot of things. They participate in field
trips, where we go camping, we go on canoe trips, we also have taken them to St. Louis
to look at genomic centers and baseball games and other things like that. Rachel Pain>>
I ve had a lot of fun in Manhattan. Having the opportunity to do lab work and field work
over a ten week period has been really a good thing for me in deciding what I want to do
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