First-year Auburn students excel in first-time research course
Not many research opportunities are available to first-year undergraduate students. However, a pilot class in spring 2022 BIOL 1021 – CURE: The Principles of Biology Lab has proven that the new college students can excel in both the classroom and in the laboratory.
“Students in this course have the chance to get hands-on experience with all aspects of research, which will help them as they earn their degree as well as their prepare for future careers in the field of STEM,” said Min Zhong, senior lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Zhong was honored as the 2022 Outstanding Undergraduate Teacher in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM.
“This spring, students were able to learn how to conduct authentic research and manipulate bacteria in a lab setting,” Zhong added. “They also learned the importance of collaboration and the role teamwork plays in research.”
The students did not just work on conducting experiments in the lab.
“The students in the pilot class also integrated their hands-on experience into writing lab reports and preparing poster presentations to disseminate their research,” Zhong explained.
The pilot course gave students an array of new experiences.
“Freshmen students have never had this opportunity before and they proved that they are up to it,” Zhong said.
And the students exceled.
“Through the success of this first pilot class, these freshmen students proved that not only can they conduct research, but they can take ownership of the scientific process from experimentation to communication of results,” Zhong said.
In the new 151,000-square-foot academic classroom and laboratory complex, or ACLC, more session of this pilot course will be offered.
“We will be able to offer three sessions with 24 students and then expand that to five sessions in the next year preparing our freshman students to learn more about research,” said Zhong. “These new courses will make a difference in the lives of our students, and truly help them succeed now and in the future.”
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