The Value of Undergraduate Students

When I was a graduate students, we looked forward to our summers when the lab would be filled with summer students who would gladly spend hours reloading pipette tip boxes or making stock solutions of TBE running buffer just so they could get lab “experience” to put on their resumes. While they were often able to do several experiments in between their tip loading, it was rare that their efforts would be translated into a publishable figure not to mention a peer reviewed journal article.

Well…it seems as though our respect for undergraduate students has come a long way since then. In an article published late last month on their blog, newswise wrote that “Undergraduate Research Is Important Source Of Breakthrough Research and Future Stem Ph.D.s.” According to Newswise, “undergraduate institutions and students across the nation are actively engaged in breakthrough research” and many undergraduate project students go on to pursue pHD degrees in the future. This study wa sponsored by The Council on Undergraduate Research which is comprised of 600 institutions and more than 5,000 individuals.

Bio-Rad Laboratories recognized this trend several years ago when it launched the Biotechnology Explorer product line which provides teachers with tools for giving their students a “hands-on” real-world science experience from the comfort of their own classroom. More recently, Bio-Rad has launched kits such as the Cloning and Sequencing Explorer Series which cover more advanced topics that are more appropriate for the college classroom.

What are some of your experiences with undergraduate students in your lab?

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