Every summer, thousands of budding scientists reap the benefits of a hands-on, intensive research experience through summer undergraduate research programs. But an unusual program at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine targets that experience at the undergraduates' professors in an effort to produce benefits that reach beyond the individual and help strengthen undergraduate science education across the state.
Now in its fifth year, the FUTURE (Fostering Undergraduate Talent - Uniting Research and Education) in Biomedicine program pairs faculty from Iowa's primarily undergraduate institutions (PUIs) with UI biomedical scientists in summer-long research collaborations. These projects have created a network of long-term research and learning partnerships that extend to all corners of the state.
Program participants, known as fellows, have developed substantive on-going collaborations with their UI partners, including sabbatical research visits, co-authored research papers, and successful grant applications. The benefits extend to the classrooms and labs of their home institutions in the form of new lab techniques, sharing of samples and research tools, and access to the UI's advanced research resources, as well as the connections and know-how to help their students pursue opportunities in graduate and medical education.
Each fellow is also accompanied by an undergraduate student from his or her institution, providing a unique opportunity for student and teacher to learn together.
"The FUTURE program allows us to connect with Iowa's scientist-educators and share the unique resources of the UI Carver College of Medicine with our colleagues and students throughout the state," says Madeline Shea, Ph.D., UI professor of biochemistry and director of the FUTURE program. "These partnerships are enhancing the preparation of Iowa students for careers in biomedical research or clinical practice."
Previously, 21 faculty from 16 Iowa PUIs have participated in the FUTURE program. The 2013 program started May 29 with new fellows from Drake University in Des Moines; Graceland University in Lamoni; Mt. Mercy University in Cedar Rapids; and the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.
In addition, two FUTURE program alums from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon and Morningside College in Sioux City also have been selected to return as Senior Fellows.
To learn more about this year's participants and the program, visit www.medicine.uiowa.edu/futurebiomedicine.
To see a map of participating institutions across the state: http://now.uiowa.edu/files/now.uiowa.edu/future_collegestate09-13_web.pdf.