REU Fellows will attend cohort-building sessions with other student researchers where they will learn professional skills, experience key coastal ecosystems, learn new research technologies and methods, practice sharing their research through poster and oral presentations, and engage with panels of STEM professionals from several career paths. Students will interact with FIU faculty and researchers in both field and lab settings, as well as regional experts at key coastal sites. Students will ultimately present the results of their research during a Student Research Symposium help at the end of the 10-week program. Students also write a scientific abstract targeting a specific conference for attendance and presentation of their results after the conclusion of the program.
- Responsible conduct of research training
As soon as students are accepted into the REU program in March, they will have access to the FIU training portal and are required to complete the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course online before they arrive for the REU site program in May. The RCR course provides a comprehensive basic training in RCR and covers the following core areas:
- Networking, Interviewing, & Resume
- Animal Subjects
- Collaborative Relationships
- Conflicts of Interest and Commitment
- Data Acquisition and Management
- Human Subjects
- Peer Review
- Research Misconduct
- Responsible Authorship
During the first week of the summer course in May, the Orientation session will review the basics of RCR, as well as other related topics including ethics and lab safety.
- Communication skills workshops
It is increasingly clear that effective science communication is among the most important skills that today’s/tomorrow’s scientists can possess. To address this need, the REU fellowship will put special emphasis on the importance of strong communication with science content, making findings accessible and engaging to public audiences. To this end, we have planned structured workshops and practice sessions specifically focused on communicating science, including
- Communicating Science – How to effectively communicate science to technical and public audiences through various media
- Preparing an Effective PowerPoint Presentation – How to effectively turn a research project into an informative and engaging slideshow
- How to Write a Scientific Paper – Structure, organization and strategies for writing full research reports, including scientific abstracts
- Integrating Art and Science – Understanding how art can be a useful tool in communicating and expressing environmental issues to the public
- Professional development workshops
We have planned a series of workshop to enhance student’s preparation for pursuing careers in multiple STEM careers, including:
- Networking, Interviewing, & Resume Building – How to build a comprehensive CV/resume, how to talk with a potential research mentor (i.e., elevator pitch), and interviewing skills
- Career Pathways – A panel of near-peer professionals from various science careers (academia,policy, government, non-profits, education, etc.), discuss the range of career options available for STEM students post-graduation
In addition to these workshops, our partners also provide useful career development resources:
- Research methods and data analysis
The students will work with their mentoring teams before they arrive to develop their individual research project. During the first week at FIU, they will participate in a workshop on research design and analysis, so they can plan their specific sample collection strategies and data analyses. They will also tour the lab facilities on both campuses and then participate in demonstrations of specific equipment used in our CREST and LTER programs.
- Workshop: Research Design and Analysis – How to design experiments and conduct data analysis and statistical testing.
- Workshop: Research Methods – Introduction to the basics of mass spectrometry, radiochemistry and dating, identifying and characterizing environmental unknowns, and examples of potential applications of student research
- Student presentations
During Orientation at the beginning of the 10-week program, students will be told the requirements of the program and that they will prepare both oral and poster presentations at the conclusion of the program. They will be provided with a poster template as a guide, so they are aware of the components needed for its completion and can start formulating as their project progresses. During weeks 8-9, students will conduct practice presentations and receive constructive criticism from a group of research mentors. Students will ultimately present the results of their research during the Undergraduate Research Symposium held at the end of the 10-week program. Students also write a scientific abstract targeting a specific scientific conference for attendance and presentation of their results after the summer program.
- Team-building sessions
All of the cohort sessions discussed above aim to build a network amongst the students and across the entire research team. We also have planned additional cohort-building events to facilitate the interaction amongst students and with all of the mentors. During week 1, we will start Orientation with a networking breakfast amongst all student and research mentors, followed by a half-day introductory program, and then the afternoon of meetings between students and their research teams. We will also hold an informal weekly student meeting with the PIs to get feedback on the program and discuss any challenges encountered. The students will all be housed in the same dormitory on FIU’s main campus in adjacent suites to encourage social interactions outside of organized activities and strengthen the student network.