Establishing a Sequence of Three CURE Courses in Biogeochemistry

Wednesday 4:30pm-5:45pm Student Union: Ballroom B
Poster Session Part of Wednesday Session


Jonathan Schmitkons, Binghamton University
Joseph Graney, Binghamton University
Nancy E. Stamp, Binghamton University
Megan Fegley, SUNY at Binghamton
Binghamton University's Freshman Research Immersion (FRI) Program aims to improve student persistence in STEM (Science-Technology-Engineering-Mathematics) majors by augmenting their academic studies with the immediate opportunity to conduct authentic research. In the fall of 2016, a biogeochemistry research stream was established during the third year of Binghamton University's Freshman Research Immersion (FRI) Program. Modeled after the program's existing streams in Neuroscience, Image & Acoustic Signals, Biofilms, Biomedical Chemistry, and Smart Energy; this stream is a sequence of three course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) for incoming freshmen students. The sequence of courses consists of: 1) a research methods seminar, 2) training in stream-specific analytical techniques and the writing of a novel research project proposal, and 3) completion and presentation of their proposed research. Initial projects range from the potential effects of antibiotics on the nitrogen cycle to the formation of both ancient stromatolites and their modern analogues. A unique component of this biogeochemistry stream was the incorporation of field-based studies into the FRI model of laboratory based research. In order to help facilitate this field-based component, a select number of biogeochemistry students are presently engaged in a summer-long research intensive experience with goals of collecting pertinent data to help incorporate seasonal variability into several of their research projects.