Research is an important part of any science degree. It helps the student to understand the scientific method and to apply the concepts learned in lecture classes. The science faculty is working to provide all students with an earlier introduction into research by bringing more research projects into introductory level science classes. In addition students can apply for NASA fellowships that provide the student with a small stipend for doing research on the CSM campus or INBRE fellowships to do research at one of the local research universities. The number of CSM students involved in research activities is increasing. Many of their projects result in presentations at local or national meetings.
Many of our students participate in tutoring activities, either as a peer tutor or as a student seeking help. All CSM students can seek help from peer tutors in our Achievement Center and math and science students are always in demand as peer tutors. In addition to the Achievement Center, tutors are provided specifically for math and science students through the NSF grant that supports the Marie Curie Scholars Program. Upper level math and science students act as tutors for STEM majors in their first and second year math and science courses. These tutors can be found in the Achievement Center or in the Science Building.
First Year Seminar
All first time college students are required to take a First Year Seminar during their first semester. One section of First Year Seminar, Science and Social Issues, is devoted to math and science majors. In 2009 the topic of the seminar was the pandemic flu. In 2010 the topic will be global water issues with a major component being the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The seminar provides first year students with a chance to get to know other first year students through group projects and discussions in a more relaxed setting.
Summer Research Opportunities
Students are encouraged to apply for summer undergraduate research opportunities at larger universities. Many of the local universities offer such programs: Creighton University, University of Nebraska – Omaha, University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and University of Nebraska Medical Center. Other universities offer such programs and flyers that are received are posted in the student lounge in the Science Building. In addition to these opportunities two CSM students are selected during their sophomore year to participate in the Nebraska INBRE Scholars program. This program provides students with a sizeable stipend for two years and the opportunity to work in a major research lab at one of the area universities during the summer.
Students currently participating in summer research opportunities or internships are:
- Carolyn Behney is working in Dr. Oksana Lockridge’s lab at UNMC on organophosphates inhaled during jet travel.
- Chelsea Dean is working in Dr. Shantaram Joshi’s lab at UNMC on the Kinetics of Expression of Immune Tolerance Genes in CLL Cells During Tumor Progression.
- Lindsey Glock is working at a state park as an intern.
- Alicia Newsome is working in Dr. Michelle Oulette’s lab at UNMC on telomerase research.
Service learning is a way for students to apply the knowledge they have acquired while helping the local community. As faculty learn more about these types of opportunities more classes are starting to include a service learning component.