SWU Division of Science students have new research opportunity
An innovative new research opportunity for students in Southern Wesleyan University’s Division of Science is becoming a reality, thanks to a professor’s involvement in the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP).
Dr. Michele Eller, assistant professor of biology, has been selected for this partnership, which represents a nationwide collaboration of more than 100 institutions that integrates active learning into the undergraduate curriculum through Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) centered in bioinformatics and genomics. Eller has attended additional training workshops, received curriculum and bioinformatic resources for the course, and been paired with a peer mentor at a research-intensive institution. This opens the doors for students to perform independent novel research, according to Eller.
“They are going to have a research question – they won’t know the answer and I won’t know the answer – it’s going to be novel research,” Eller said. “They will do the actual research themselves and then see what the results are, then hopefully put that together for a poster presentation and maybe even a publication.”
Eller added that students now have the option of presenting their research using Micropublication, an alternative to traditional scholarly publication models where timelines can be drawn out for three to five years.
“Now they’re going to try to do these smaller Micropublications that turn around in about a year,” Eller said, adding that Micropublication also offers advantages that are evident when a student applies to medical school or can enhance their resume.
Eller feels that students will gain from authentic learning experiences that will help them advance into further learning opportunities after graduating from Southern Wesleyan.
“They’ll have an opportunity to work together as a team. They will each have the same gene from different species, they’re going to compare. There are a lot of opportunities to analyze and interpret; just to develop those skills will be very beneficial. It gives them a lot to talk about in an interview just to say ‘I had this experience and this is what I learned from it’ and that will help them a lot.’ They benefit so much from actually doing real research.”
According to Division of Science Chair Dr. Staci Johnson, this new research opportunity fits into an overarching plan to increase student research and improve learning outcomes.
“Not only do research opportunities improve student retention in STEM fields, it improves student motivation and learning since students work on real-world problems and gain skills that transfer across courses and into their careers,” said Johnson. “This is part of a larger plan to retain a diverse population of students and to make our graduates more competitive for jobs or graduate school admission.”
For details about degrees offered by the Division of Science, contact Southern Wesleyan at , call 877-644-5556 or visit swu.edu.