This two-year grant supports the participation of eight undergraduate students (four per year) in a summer research program in Ghana. The students will be supervised by Dr. Daniel Wubah, Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at James Madison University, and Dr. Kobina Yankson, Dean of the Faculty of Science, and other faculty members at the University of Cape Coast (UCC). Students will also be assigned peer mentors, who will be senior level UCC students engaged in research projects in the faculty mentor's laboratory. The students' projects will emphasize the importance of biodiversity to the health of ecosystems, and the human and environmental factors that impact biodiversity. Site visits will be made to nature preserves and national parks to examine the characteristics and components of biologically diverse habitats. The undergraduate students will participate in group meetings, research seminars, field trips, and technical workshops, and they will also take part in activities that will increase their knowledge about Ghanaian culture. At the end of the six-weeks the students will present their work in both oral and poster formats at an end-of-program symposium. Upon their return to the United States, the students will also present the results of their work at campus, regional, and national meetings. These research projects are expected to increase the students' understanding of the ecology and biodiversity in a tropical region of West Africa, improve their skills in critical thinking and problem solving, and broaden their understanding of how science is conducted in a developing country. The project will also provide the students opportunities to develop collaborative linkages with the Ghanaian faculty and students. It is anticipated that the results of this program will increase their competitiveness for graduate and professional studies within the life sciences. This grant also promotes a collaborative linkage between a predominantly undergraduate institution in the United States, James Madison University, and a Sub-Saharan Africa university, University of Cape Coast, that is actively engaged in research in the biological sciences.

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James Madison University
United States
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