The Biology Department is using an $800,000 grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to prepare students to become leaders in science research and medicine. The grant is funding student research experiences, boosting the diversity of students who study science, and supporting faculty and curriculum development. The overarching objective for the project is to increase the number of students who continue majoring in the sciences, particularly underrepresented minority students, through an apprentice-based, interdisciplinary research program in biology.
Research and Mentoring
Lafayette will found a summer research program for students after their first year, increase on-campus and off-campus research programs for upper-level students, and provide additional opportunities for students to cultivate their mentoring skills through involvement in community engagement and mentoring of elementary school students. A key feature will be expanded opportunities for students to work closely with alumni who are accomplished in their fields.
A faculty and peer mentoring program will support students, especially first-generation, low-income, and racial/ethnic minority students, in persisting in undergraduate studies and research. Participation in research correlates positively with persistence in science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines.
Biology faculty will work with professors in other disciplines during summer workshops to infuse biology courses with interdisciplinary lecture-lab modules. These classes will each include a focus on solving interdisciplinary problems.
A new, required interdisciplinary capstone course will bring together prior classes and emphasize higher-order thinking, communication skills, and the ability to solve societal problems.
A new introductory biology course will incorporate modeling and computation as students work in teams and with computer science majors as they learn to address complex problems and issues through interdisciplinary thinking. The class will serve as an alternative to BIOL 102.