. "5. Enabling Undergraduates to Experience the Excitement of Biology." BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2003.
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Bio 2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists
CASE STUDY #9 Undergraduate Research Abroad University of Arizona
BRAVO! (Biomedical Research Abroad: Vistas Open) gives research-experienced undergraduate students an opportunity to become part of the international scientific community by conducting research in another country. With funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Minority International Research Training (MIRT) Grants from the NIH Fogarty International Center, and NSF’s Recognition Award for the Integration of Research & Education Program (RAIRE), the BRAVO! program has sent 88 undergraduate students, 9 graduate students, and 6 minority faculty members from the University of Arizona (UA) to work in 23 countries since 1992. In addition, 15 foreign faculty mentors and 16 foreign graduate students have made research visits to UA. BRAVO! aims to help students learn to do research in a different cultural setting while gaining independence and confidence. It tries to inspire them to discover who they are as Americans, by providing an opportunity to contribute to the worldwide scientific community.
In the early years of the program students generally spent only a summer doing research abroad. More recently, the trend has been toward longer foreign stays since these result in more scientifically productive visits. The level of productivity is shown by the 61 publications and more than 65 presentations at scientific meetings that include the work of BRAVO! students. In addition to benefiting indi
students with a quantitative bent that biology is not a purely descriptive science. These courses should be offered to all students; however, they are especially important for first-year students in colleges where biology courses are normally started only in the sophomore year. Through such courses, biology students can retain and increase their interest in the field.
Recent advances in biological research are exciting; exposing students to the current research at an early stage in their education will help them to see this excitement. Research can be presented by inviting faculty or other scientists to talk about their work; it does not necessarily require students to work in labs immediately. Presenting students with numerous questions that remain to be answered encourages them to imagine their own future role in research. Topics and faculty members should be chosen carefully,