An award has been made to the University of Arkansas (UA) that will provide research training for 10 weeks for 10 students, during the summers of 2011- 2013. This REU program focuses on applied biotechnology in the life sciences -- the application of modern molecular technologies to basic and applied research in engineering, biochemistry, biology, and plant or animal agriculture. Training and mentoring is provided by outstanding faculty with diverse research projects within the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Cell and Molecular Biology (http://cemb.uark.edu). Students are expected to engage in full-time lab research supplemented with twice-weekly workshops on topics such as preparation and application for graduate school, responsible conduct of research, professional communication and networking, and career opportunities. REU students will also network with students in other programs on campus. Student recruitment will include campus visits and emails to targeted colleges, and posting of program information at the REU program website. Student selection will be based on academic performance, letters of reference, student resume, and the applicants' statement of research interests and experiences. The program will be assessed using pre- and post-experience surveys of participating students and faculty, tracking of student participants, and an REU common assessment tool. More information is available by visiting the REU program website (http://cemb.uark.edu/REU), or by contacting the PI (Dr. Douglas Rhoads, email@example.com) or the Director (Shani Farr, firstname.lastname@example.org).
The project hosted a total of 29 students from minority serving institutions for 10 week summer internships over the course of 3 years. The students participated in active research programs with faculty mentors in the area of biotechnology in life science research. Participants also received training in ethical conduct of research, application for graduate programs, careers in science research, and preparation for the Graduate Record Examination. All participants gave an oral presentation and presented a poster on their research project. Participants were contacted every 6 months after the program to track their career and educational choices post program. Pre and post surveys were also take to judge the effect on attitudes towards research careers and research universities. Nearly half of the participants also presented their research posters at a national meeting after their participation in the program. In 2013 one of the participants won a national award from the American Societ of Plant Biologists. Participant placement to date is as follows: 10 are still undergraduates, 2 have not responded, 2 have applied for MS/PhD graduate programs, 9 have enrolled in MS/PhD programs, 2 have taken jobs in the biotech industry, 1 is a high school science teacher, and 1 intends to apply to medical school.