UC Davis Insect Honors Program for Undergraduates; Deadline to Apply Is May 15
April 28, 2011
Lygus bug (Lygus herperus) could be one of the insects studied in the UC Davis Undergraduate Honors Research Program in Insect Biology. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
DAVIS--UC Davis freshman and sophomores seeking a long-term mentoring program and research experiences in biology are invited to apply for a slot in the newly formed UC Davis Undergraduate Honors Research Program in Insect Biology.
Coordinators Jay Rosenheim, Louie Yang and Joanna Chiu of the UC Davis Department of Entomology faculty said that some of the most important skills for research biologists aren’t taught in large lecture halls or in lab courses. They’re best learned through close mentoring relationship with faculty, who can provide can provide expertise in genetics and molecular biology; biochemistry and physiology; cell biology; population biology; behavior and ecology; biodiversity and evolutionary ecology; and agroecology.
The goal, they said, “is to provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a multi-year research experience that cultivates skills that will prepare them for a career in biological research. This will be useful for students whose career goals will take them to medical school, veterinary school, or graduate programs in any biological sub-discipline.”
More information is on the website at http://insecthonors.ucdavis.edu. The deadline for applications is May 15. Students desiring to participate should email Elvira Hack (firstname.lastname@example.org) a one-page letter explaining their motivation to join the program, and list any particular area within biology that’s of special interest. Selected students will be interviewed.
The gist of the program:
-- The program begins with students in their first and second undergraduate years. The goal is to to develop a long-term mentoring relationship, to extend until the completion of their undergraduate program (up to four years).
--During an initial academic retreat (at the Sagehen Creek Field Station in the Sierra Nevada mountains), faculty will instruct students about the process of science, approaches to choosing research questions, and the core elements of experimental design.
--Students will be placed in a faculty mentor’s laboratory. The goal: to find a strong match between the student’s research interests and the research focus of the mentoring faculty member’s lab; no placement will be made without the enthusiastic approval from both the participating student and faculty mentor. Students will participate in regular weekly meetings of the laboratory’s research staff.
--Students will be encouraged to take supporting coursework in insect biology (that is, general entomology, insect physiology, insect ecology) to provide the most relevant foundational information for conducting research in insect biology.
--First and second-year students will contribute as members of a collaborative research team; a minimum of four hours per week of research activity is expected. In years three and four, students will transition to increasingly independent research, with a minimum of six hours of research activity for year three and eight hours per week for year four. The program should culminate in an independent research project, with the goal of achieving publication-quality results. Students may receive either payment (undergraduate laboratory assistant) or course units for their research.
--For many participating students, it’s expected that there will be a natural transition from paid positions (when the students are contributing to a larger research effort) to course credits (when the students are pursuing their own independent research).
--Students will receive ongoing training and career guidance in conducting research, scientific writing, presentation of research results at professional scientific meetings, and all aspects of preparing applications for graduate or professional schools.
The list of mentoring faculty members currently includes: Faculty List
For questions about the application process: contact Elvira Hack at email@example.com or (530-754-7277).
--Kathy Keatley Garvey
UC Davis Department of Entomology