Breakout session: Programs that work
Independent research programs

Breakout session
Programs that work
Independent research programs

Friday, September 5, 2003
5:30 - 6:15 pm

Mary Allen, Jean Glasscock Professor of Biological Science- Wellesley College


Wellesley College has been very active for a long time in addressing these issues. A number of the programs implemented are:

  1. Undergraduate research for majors as well as non majors During both the summer and academic year many opportunities exist for students to carry out mentored research, supported both by the College and external funding. Both the Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry have had continuous NSF-REU Site funding since 1988. This program brings half of the students to campus from other institutions. Our 4 HHMI Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program grants have also funded students carrying out research since 1988. Recently this program funds students doing research in labs around the country as well. The on-campus students participate in an interdisciplinary program (Biology, Chemistry and Physics) that includes inside and outside seminars, public speaking and poster presentation workshops, career and graduate panels and field trips. The program culminates with an all-campus poster session and celebratory dinner.

    An academic year mentoring program for underrepresented minorities has brought up to ten first year and sophomore students into faculty laboratories each year. Supply money is given to the laboratories in each of these cases. The College now awards small stipends to faculty mentoring students in the summer.

    With funding from our NSF-AIRE grant, we began a summer research program for social science students to complement the program in the natural sciences. Also with AIRE funding we began a Sophomore research program for Work Study students for up to 10 students. The College is now taking over the funding of these programs.

    Successes: Many students participate (ie, 48 on campus and 20 off campus in STEM this summer) and most continue research, major in the STEM areas, and continue careers in STEM. Difficulties encountered: finding enough faculty lab space to allow all the students who wish to participate to participate and finding the best way to motivate early students in the mentoring program.

  2. All day research presentations Days on campus. Classes are dismissed one day in the fall and one day in the spring for students to present research done on internships and in on-campus research.