University of Rhode Island (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Page: 3058 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
A University/Industry undergraduate project based training experience has been created as a model program to provide students real-world training and laboratory skills in Agricultural Biotechnology. This course sequence includes a general undergraduate course on biotechnology, followed by a two semester training course and an experiential internship. This sequence provides inquiry-driven experiential laboratory learning enhanced opportunities in biotechnology at the University of Rhode Island. The General Undergraduate course is called Issues in Biotechnology which provides a broad general introduction to biotechnology fields. This course is also now available online (see also The training part of the program was initiated in 2010 in collaboration with Plant Advancements Inc., the USDA, CIAT, Yale University and the University of Rhode Island and established to extend the student’s laboratory course experience through training in various techniques in plant tissue and cell culture, gene transfer, and molecular and phenotypic analysis of transgenic plants in an industrial setting. The model for this program is project-based and challenges students not only to accomplish project objectives, but also to participate in relevant research in the plant nutritional enhancement, bioenergy industry with the possibility of published results. The projects are embedded in ongoing research involved with the development and analysis of transgenic plants for crop improvement. Students are welcome to take part in the lectures, tours and seminars provided by the collaborators to supplement their curriculum requirements. In addition, to the academic and laboratory skills, the program provides written and verbal communication development through team coordination and leadership training. The experience attained from the program provides technical learning and critical thinking skills essential for developing scientists. This internship programs provide the environment for young scientists in a variety of disciplines including plant biology, bioenergy, genomics, plant breeding and genetic modification of plants to explore career potentials of biotechnology. The Agricultural Biotechnology Undergraduate Intern Program has been well received by students, many of whom have been placed in industry positions or have pursued graduate studies after completion. This project based internship provides educational and training opportunities in agricultural biotechnology research to undergraduate and graduate students with an emphasis on women and minority recruitment. It is our goal to continue and extend its development. In this unique course, each student receives their own gene construct to introduce and evaluate in transgenic crop plants of interest. The students learn science by actually doing it; as well as other qualities of good scientists such as patience, persistence, perseverance, attention to detail, responsibility, and record keeping. This approach drives interest in underlying fundamentals through current and advanced technologies while providing real incentive to burn the midnight oil and learn about career opportunities.
Biotechnology Education, Project-based learning, Experiential learning, Agricultural biotechnology, Undergraduate Laboratory training.