Saturday, August 6, 2011

Research Experience for Undergraduates

About 45 minutes south of Albuquerque is the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Station. Each summer undergraduates from different universities come to participate in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (RUE) program. Felisa mentored a student, Nikki, from the University of Tennessee at Martin. She works on plant fossils and the project she did for the REU was looking at the plant macrofossils from the middens in our lab. A lot of the other students did research projects at the Sevilleta or the surrounding area, and a wide range of topics.

Yesterday all of that hard research culminated in their REU symposium, where the students gave talks about their research. Many students actually get publishable papers out of the work they do during this program. Nikki with hopefully get two papers. Fred commented that she was comparing the quality of the talks to those we see at professional meetings, not your typical student presentations. The quality was really very good, and I was really impresses with what the students came up with in only a couple months.

There were also two students doing science inspired art projects. One student made nature based art sculptures and took "sincere" photos of the other students doing their research projects. The other student constructed a wind organ and helped the other students make kites (which did and did not fly very well). The idea was to get the research students thinking outside of the box.

I thought the whole thing was fantastic. Way to go students!

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