An update of recent CURE-related research, opportunities, and resources.
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CUREnet Quarterly - December 2020

Recent Publications

Participation in a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience Results in Higher Grades in the Companion Lecture Course
This article provides evidence of the influence of student participation in a CURE on undergraduate science course grades using an experimental design and multiple years of data from students at a Hispanic-serving institution. CURE students earned significantly higher overall grades in a lecture course directly related to the CURE even after adjusting for student demographic and academic characteristics.

Teaching Virtual Protein CUREs and UREs using Computational Tools
This essay discusses how readily available, free, computational approaches that emphasize contributions of non-covalent interactions to structure, binding, and catalysis can be used to teach course-based research that aligns with generally accepted features of CURE instruction.

Students Who Analyze Their Own Data in a Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experience Show Gains in Scientific Identity and Emotional Ownership of Research
This study aimed to understand the effect of students analyzing their own data, compared with students analyzing data that had been collected by professional scientists. The results show that students who analyzed their own data had significantly greater gains in scientific identity and emotional ownership than students who analyzed data collected by professional scientists.

A Hierarchical Mentoring Program Increases Confidence and Effectiveness in Data Analysis and Interpretation for Undergraduate Biology Students
This program incorporated an integrated mentoring program in an undergraduate ecology lab course, in which the undergraduate students analyzed data sets provided by graduate student mentors. The results showed an increase in perceived and demonstrated abilities in critical thinking skills, particularly data analysis and interpretation, and allowed increased project flexibility for the student by effectively increasing the course's instructor to student ratio.

CUREs from the Collection

Population & Community Ecology
Students in a Population and Community Ecology class participate in coastal marine research focused on understanding factors determining population sizes and community interactions, particularly in the context of species that appear to be shifting their ranges with climate change. Students participate in all aspects of the research from making observations and collecting data in the field to defining questions, stating hypothesis, designing and completing statistical analysis, and interpreting and presenting results. The outcomes are a research proposal, research paper, and poster presentation. All are intended to be at a level appropriate for use as a writing sample or presentation at undergraduate conferences. Results are incorporated into the ongoing research project led by the course instructor and graduate student teaching assistant.

Laser spectroscopy of atmospherically relevant molecules and clusters in helium nanodroplets
Superfluid helium nanodroplets present an ideal medium for the study of chemical dynamics at the molecular level. Their low temperature, enormous heat conductivity, and weakly interacting nature allow for the investigation of various phenomena, such as how molecular rotation is effected by a solvent and how molecules interact with each other. These two topics are addressed in the lab by measuring the spectra of unexplored molecules in helium nanodroplets, determining their rotational constants, testing known models describing the interaction between the molecule and helium solvent, and synthesizing and characterizing unexplored molecular clusters in an effort to better understand molecular solvation; students will solvate the "unexplored molecule" with an atmospherically relevant species (O2, N2, H2O), and investigate the resulting clusters with laser spectroscopy.

Announcements and Opportunities

NSF call for proposals on impact of Vision and Change
The National Science Foundation's (NSF's) Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR) acknowledges the need to expand and chronicle educational change efforts across the nation. DUE invites proposals to study the impact of the Vision and Change (V&C) movement in Undergraduate Biology Education. Specifically, this program seeks to support projects that evaluate a combination of factors such as the awareness, acceptance, adoption, and adaptation of V&C principles and outcomes including changes in curriculum, laboratories, and student retention, completion, and learning.

Squirrel-Net CourseSource Modules
Are you looking for a simple way to bring authentic research experiences into your classroom? Are you searching for activities that are easily adaptable to remote learning? Squirrel-Net may be able to help! Squirrel-Net is a group of mammalogists working to broaden access to field-based CUREs with a focus on sciurid rodents (e.g., squirrels, chipmunks, marmots, prairie dogs, etc.).

Seeking partners and collaborators for a instructor talk in lab courses
Kelly Subramanian (University of California Davis), Jeff Olimpo (University of Texas El Paso), and Erin Dolan (University of Georgia) are collaborating on an NSF-funded study of the influence of how instructors talk with students in life science laboratory courses. If you will be teaching an introductory or mid-level life science lab course in 2021 and are interested in working as a partner or collaborator, please follow this link to details about the study procedures and consent information.

Funding your own CURE

Please visit the CUREnet site to learn more about how others have funded their CUREs and share your own experiences!

Voices from the CURE community

We are interested in collecting narratives from individuals who have implemented CUREs and are willing to share their experience and advice with the rest of the CUREnet community. If you are interested in being featured in an upcoming issue of CUREnet Quarterly, email Logan Gin.

Have news to share?

Use this page on the CUREnet website to submit publications, announcements, and job posts to be featured in the next CUREnet Quarterly newsletter. For additional news and announcements, follow CUREnet on Twitter (@CUREnet1).