Colorado Wyoming Alliance for Minority Participation
UNC is a member of the Colorado, Wyoming Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program. We are members of the consortium of fifteen Colorado and Wyoming instructions of higher education working to increase the number of Black/African American, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander, and Alaska Native students earning bachelor's degrees in STEM.
2022 Summer Research Opportunity
Participating in research is a great way to explore what it’s really like to be a scientist! Research and experience show us that active involvement in research connects you with key concepts in your learning and provides valuable experience. This summer, the CO WY AMP at UNC is collaborating with LEAP and the STEM-IEC to offer a paid five week summer research experience.
No previous experience is necessary, and in fact we will prioritize providing opportunities to students who have not had the opportunity to participate in research---yet!
The five-week program runs from May 23 through June 24, 2022, and includes a stipend of $2500. As a program participant you will collaborate with a graduate student on an existing project--spending about 20 hours a week gaining valuable research experience. Your mentor will collaborate with you to set norms for the research experience, establish weekly goals, and discuss the various elements of a research project such as background information, project design, data collection, and data analysis. By the end of the research experience, you will have done a lot of research, written an abstract, and be prepared to present about your experience. Each week, you will also meet with the other students on the Summer Experience program and with Dr. James who is coordinating the program.
How to Apply? Step One
Identify three specific research opportunities for the summer experience that interest you. Check out the six research mentors below. We have included brief descriptions of their projects and some information about what a day of research might look like.
Max Bernard.The project: In my research I am looking to use zebrafish to study eye development. For my research we use heterozygous carriers of a mutant allele for a gene called Pax2a- but first we will need to genotype (PCR) the carriers from the non-carriers. After this is done, we will breed the carriers and identify homozygous mutants. Using these mutants that have non-functional Pax2a we will observe levels of a downstream protein called Ncad through imaging techniques (Cryosectioning, antibody staining, and confocal microscopy). I also have another project in progress using mutant Ncad fish that also will be imaged the same way. What a research day would look like: My work takes place entirely in a lab and the hours are very flexible. A lot of the steps in my work allow for other experiments to take place- so students can choose to either spread out their work over the week or cram it in a few very long days. PCRs typically take 2 hours to run where the machine is working and other things can get done- like the various imaging steps (cryosectioning, antibody staining, and confocal microscopy.) There are also several steps that can be paused and resumed the following day allowing for even more flexibility.
Eligibility for the 2022 Summer Research Experience
If you are an African American/Black, Native American, Hispanic/Latino, Pacific Islander, or Alaska Native pursuing a bachelor's degrees in STEM at UNC you are eligible.
First-generation students in STEM are also eligible for this summer opportunity. (Are you a first-generation student? You are if neither of your parents have completed a college degree).
You do not need to have any prior research experience but you do need to have a cumulative GPA of 2.0. We highly recommend that you do not take classes in summer
STEM at UNC includes the School of Biological Sciences, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, the School of Mathematical Sciences, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Want to learn more about STEM IEC? Contact us via email at STEM.IEC@unco.edu
Amanda Bevan. The project: The Adams Bat Lab is investigating the effects of climate change on bats and associated nocturnal food webs along the Front Range of Northern Colorado. Forests that are recovering from disturbance events are experiencing shifts in community composition, and we are investigating how these shifts are altering insect diversity and bat activity. We are looking for students interested in assisting with insect biodiversity data and learning about bioacoustics to identify the presence of new species in disturbed forests. What a research day would look like: Participants would work in the lab at UNC with the opportunity to do some fieldwork if they are interested. Participants will assist with sorting insect specimens from vegetation samples into insect orders and would learn about bioacoustics and techniques to identify.
Kelsey Krutsinger.The project: The Han lab focuses mostly on liver physiology experiments. Currently, we are working in conjunction with the Hydock lab, investigating the health of the liver with the administration of puberty blocking medication (gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist: GnRHa). What a research day would look like: Our work is entirely in the lab. Most of the work will be completed on specimens/samples collected from a previously completed animal study. If timing works out, there may be an opportunity to work with the animals (rats), however this is voluntary and not required.
Cole Grannan: The project: Potatoes are an integral vegetable crop in Colorado; they make up almost 10 % of the state's income from all crop agriculture. When insects and microbial pathogens cause damage to these crops, it can have a detrimental impact on yield. To protect crops against pests, growers must rely on expensive chemical control agents. In contrast, organic farms must find alternative pest control methods to remain competitive. The use of commercially available biofertilizers has been proposed for organic farming to increase the nutrient uptake of crops and to enhance yield. Recent research has shown that some biofertilizers can activate the plant’s immune responses against insects and microbial pathogens. However, there is little information about field-grown potato immune responses. This research aims to investigate field-grown potato responses to the application of biofertilizers and pests found on-site. What a research day would look like: This research offers both the opportunity to perform field research in an agricultural setting and in the laboratory. The work will primarily be conducted at a farm. The student will be involved in the inoculation of potatoes with biofertilizers and maintenance of field plots.
Anika Shelrud. The project: The Burns Lab studies reproductive biology, specifically focusing on a gland called the corpus luteum. Participants who join the Burns lab this summer will investigate the influence of omega-3 fatty acids on bovine steroidogenic luteal cells exposed to cytotoxic cytokines. The project will expose individuals to primary cell culture, gene and protein analysis, immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, and additional assay procedures. Our lab also has a whole animal research project under way, and students would be more than welcome to learn how to bleed cows and interpret ultrasound data as an added bonus.
Leah Crenshaw. The project: I am studying the impact of landscape factors (habitat fragmentation, human structures, energy development, etc.) on Western Meadowlarks, focusing on their breeding season. Grassland bird populations are the most rapidly declining group in North America. By looking at several predictors of individual fitness (song structure, body condition, and success rearing chicks), I hope to get a better sense of why grassland bird populations are shrinking. My goals are to determine what landscape factors impact the behavioral ecology of grassland birds, share these findings with land managers/the scientific community, and promote the conservation of grassland birds. What a research day would look like: This project will be primarily fieldwork in Weld County grasslands starting at around 4:00 a.m. on field days. (Birds wake up early.) We will be catching and banding Western Meadowlarks, checking up on their nests to see how the eggs/chicks are doing, and recording their songs. On some days, I will be camping in the field, and you will be welcome to camp with me or drive in and out each day. If you choose to camp, we will get camping equipment for you. All field training (ex. how to catch and handle wild birds) will be provided.
Anika Shelrud. What a research day would look like: Monday; starting at 8am, we would make a trip out to the local abattoir to collect ovaries. We would then isolate the corpus luteum (a structure that develops on the ovary) and digest it down to a primary cell culture. We would isolate specific cell types and set up experiments for the rest of the week with our primary cell culture. A full day! If the mentee is interested in learning how to draw blood samples from cows and interpret ultrasound data, we would head out at 5 am, once a week, to CSU.
How to Apply: Step Two
Prepare responses to the questions in the application.
- How will the summer research experience help you accomplish your career goals?
- Do you consider yourself to be a scientist? Please explain why or why not?
Your answers don’t need to be long (max~ 300 words) but they should give us an idea of who you are and why you want to participate in the program.