Dr. Reed awarded $2M grant to improve undergraduate education in genomics

Dr. Laura Reed has been awarded a $2M grant from the NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education Program: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR) to serve the national interest by improving undergraduate education in genomics. As the economy becomes more dependent on science and technology, the need for highly capable STEM workers is increasingly important. As a result, high-quality STEM education is critical for the U.S. economy, particularly STEM education that includes training in data science. It is also important to identify successful strategies to retain and inspire undergraduate STEM students, especially those from underrepresented groups, so that they may thrive in STEM careers. To help address STEM education needs, the Genomics Education Partnership seeks to integrate active learning into the undergraduate curriculum through Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) centered in genomics. In these CUREs, students engage in authentic scientific research and develop valuable skills in data science while also practicing problem solving and perseverance to produce a scientific publication. The only tool required for a student to carry out the research is access to the internet, making the program financially accessible to all institutions, including ones that are under-resourced. This project has four objectives: 1) to restructure the Genomics Education Partnership to more widely distribute management and oversight responsibilities throughout the Genomics Education Partnership; 2) to identify effective strategies for recruiting and retaining faculty from community colleges as Genomics Education Partnership members; 3) to develop and optimize a system of online training for new faculty members in the Genomics Education Partnership; and 4) to diversify the scientific projects included in the CUREs. Achieving these objectives will contribute to a cost-effective program that provides high-quality CUREs to a greater diversity of undergraduate students.