9731886 The number specialists dedicated to collections-based research has declined because students often receive little exposure to collections and research in organismal biology in many modern university science programs. Museums with a strong research program such as The Academy of Natural Sciences offer an opportunity to fill this gap in undergraduate education. The goal is to provide a diverse and exciting research experience for undergraduates in an effort to recruit new young researchers to this ever important field. Education in biodiversity, systematics, and taxonomy along with conservation will enable students to explore, document and conserve global biodiversity and ecosystems. Applicants will be sought primarily from colleges in the greater Philadelphia area (including New Jersey and Delaware), with emphasis on recruiting women and underserved minorities. Twenty, 10-week fellowships will be awarded and students will be chosen on the basis of academic performance, overall interest and potential ability, two recommendations, and an interview. After a one-week introductory session, students will choose a mentor to serve as the primary advisor of their research project. Research projects will cover diverse topics related to systematic biology, including evolution, molecular biology, ecology, and history of scientific collections. Students will work side-by-side with curators and senior scientist and will be involved in all aspects of collections-based research including: conducting research in the museum's world-class biological collections, collection and curation of specimens, participation in field expeditions, participation in discussion groups with scientists, and dissemination of scientific results through oral presentation and publication. Written evaluations by mentors and students will be used to assess the impact of this research program and to improve the program in subsequent, and after completing their research experience they will assess the value of the program t oward reaching these goals. Mentors will also evaluate the student and program performance. Students will present the results of their research in the form of a paper to be published in a refereed journal. In addition, students will give oral presentations of their research in a one-day student symposium.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Robert W. Taylor
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Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia
United States
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