Sustaining Student Enthusiasm for Research Beyond the Classroom Introduction
Friday 11:30am-1:30pm UMC Aspen Rooms
Poster Presentation Part of Course-Based Research Projects
Suki Smaglik, Laramie County Community College
Great strides have been made in recent years to integrate research into the undergraduate classroom, especially in the early undergraduate and community college years. Bringing research experiences to students in the classroom has the benefit of using hands-on, real-life, and/or guided-inquiry experiences, to develop students' critical thinking skills early in their academic career. For first-generation and under-represented students, this can be a life-changing experience. A benefit for the instructor is finding new students with the aptitude to take on a smaller roll in long-term projects. However, often the students get excited to take on a project when they see only the short-term gain. The process of developing their skills over a process longer than a few class periods, or even a full term, can lead to frustration and disinterest when the going gets tough. Using more experienced students to mentor the newer students can help keep the enthusiasm going forward. In the geosciences, field-based research is the draw for many students. The struggle for them comes when data processing and report writing must be completed in order to take the next step in the research process. This presentation will showcase some examples of field-based geoscience research projects taking place at a small rural community college, and describe the state-wide connections being made to help maintain the enthusiasm of our two-year students as they transfer on to 4-year institutions and beyond.