Initial Publication Date: June 29, 2012

Pairing 2YCS with research-focused universities

John Taber, IRIS Consortium

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Given the value that has been shown for early research experiences for undergraduates, including for students who have yet to decide on a major, IRIS would like to partner with other organizations to develop, or help build on a student research program that integrates research opportunities at two-year and four-year schools. We have experience running a national distributed REU program for upper-level students with math, physics and/or geoscience background, but need to learn more about the needs and interests of first and second year students, as our current program has evolved into one where most participants have completed their junior year. One of the challenges that I anticipate is to identify research mentors who are prepared and motivated to provide the level of support that will be needed for the younger students. This would be in contrast to our current REU, where the research mentors have come to expect students with significant physics and math backgrounds.

As with our existing program, we envision students working at an IRIS member institution, with multiple students at an institution, and with more support (mentoring, writing, science training, etc) than our current REU. We would like to learn from other effective programs so that we could effectively connect students at our Educational Affiliate member institutions, which currently include several 2YCs, to nearby more research-focused universities.