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Program Overview

2014 Group

The general theme of the research component is Microbial interaction and function: this theme comes from the (not-so-recent) realization that microbes exist in populations and communities, not isolation.  The seventeen participating faculty provide a broad range of options for research in this area. They also share a strong commitment to working with undergraduates and promoting diversity in the microbiology community at UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).  Under the direct guidance of a UT or ORNL faculty mentor, usually with a graduate student or postdoctoral co-mentor, students will gain first-hand research experience and training in state-of-the-art research facilities, working on individual projects.

During the first week of the program, students will be introduced to their research mentors, other students in the program, and the research campuses of UT and ORNL.   The research in the individual research labs will be complemented by weekly workshops, a general schedule of which is provided below.  Hypothesis development and testing, experimental design and data analyses and validation will be featured early in the workshops and combined with information sessions on paths to a career in science, how science is supported (and its value), the importance of rigorous statistical design, and a session of ethics in research.  Students will be expected to participate in discussions and to report to the group on a weekly/biweekly basis regarding their progress (and frustrations) in their research project. During the final weeks, students will gain experience in the presentation of their results in oral and poster formats.

Social events and excursions will permit students to explore the attractions of the Knoxville area.

Expectations for Participating Students

We expect that the students selected to participate in this program will be present for the full ten weeks of its duration and will participate in all scheduled parts of the program. The majority of time will be spent in the lab, but equally important are the seminars and professional development program. We would like this experience to be stimulating, rewarding, and fun. At the same time we expect that students will communicate to us about concerns that affect their ability to fully benefit from the program so that we may address them. We also expect that students meet with their mentor at least once a week and discuss their progress and needs.

This program is aimed at promoting diversity in the national biosciences workforce. Students who share this goal, especially from underrepresented minority groups, economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or who are the first generation in their families to attend college are encouraged to apply. We look forward to welcoming you to the University of Tennessee!

WEEK TOPIC FOR MEETING
1 Welcome – logistics and surviving the summer
2 Designing a project – drafting a proposal
3 Introduction to data management and design  – statistics are your friend
4 Oral presentations – my summer plans
5 Ethics in science
6 Graduate school opportunities
7 Opportunities in science  – speakers from UTK and ORNL talk about career opportunities and the do’s and don’ts
8 Oral presentations – where am I now
9 Making a poster – selling your science
10 Practice poster presentations – graduate student mentors will help PIs work with students on how to answer questions and present posters.

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