It feels like yesterday when we began working on the idea for the SUPER (skills for undergraduate participation in ecological research) Program, and yet, today, our second cohort of students is ready to present their results in a poster session.
Jess Ernakovich and others at NREL conceived the program in early 2012, and our first cohort joined during that fall semester. After a highly successful first year, Jess continued the program and accepted the second cohort in Fall of 2013. The SUPER program provides a wonderful and unique opportunity for undergraduates here at CSU, and we couldn’t be more excited to see it flourishing.
The SUPER program is aimed at lower classmen undergraduate students interested in gaining experience with a research group on campus. The program enhances the student research experience through instruction and active learning activities about the scientific method. Students gain knowledge, skills, experience, and have an opportunity to conduct their own research.
In the two semester long program, students begin the first semester with lessons on “Forming Hypotheses”, “Experimental Design”, “Collecting and managing data”, “Analysis of Data”, “Communicating to a scientific audience and with colleagues”, and “Ethical Approaches to Discovery” (see table below). Each lesson is taught by different NREL scientists and graduate students, the purpose of which is to expose students to the differences in approach that different scientists have.
In the second semester, students pair with a mentor and do an independent research project. To ensure the continued growth of the undergraduate researcher, the student is involved in workshops with the cohort and meetings with their mentor. Heavy emphasis is placed on hypothesis testing, making figures, and communicating the results effectively. During the second semester, students gain technical and cognitive skills in parallel, such that they understand both “the how” and “the why” of what they are doing in their research.
Now, the second cohort of SUPER is ready to show you their results! Please join us for their poster session this Wednesday 4/30 from 5-6 pm in NESB B 302. In case you can’t make it, we will be reporting on highlights of the session and reflections on the growth of the program over the past two years, so check back!