NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Scholars will report high academic engagement with biology or chemistry faculty. Of the 12 students selected for our initial cohort of Scholars, program faculty have already worked closely during the fall semester with the juniors (and one sophomore) on laboratory projects. These students have been assigned journal articles to read, trained in experimental techniques and lab safety, placed on pilot projects, and included in research group meetings. After our announcement of these Scholars to the campus community, our faculty will begin working closely with the sophomores and freshmen to develop their basic research skills and familiarize them with relevant primary literature.
NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Scholars will complete senior capstone research projects at a rate proportional to or exceeding their representation in each graduating cohort. Junior-level scholars undertaking research projects are already making significant strides in their laboratory work, and we are confident these students are on a trajectory to complete senior research projects successfully, including oral and written presentations of their results and conclusions. Sophomore and freshman scholars will begin intensive projects prior to junior standing, allowing them sufficient time to generate experimental findings toward successful senior capstone projects.
The number of minority and first-generation students pursuing and graduating with majors in chemistry and biology will increase by 10% over the next five years. In assembling our first cohort of student Scholars, we geared our recruiting and selection process toward achieving this outcome. Our call for applications specified that we were particularly interested in minority, first-generation, and female students. Our merit-based evaluation of applicants generated a list of finalists with >90% female students and predominantly individuals with demonstrated financial need, indicating our process is effective in attracting applicants of the demographic groups the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Scholars Program is intended to serve. Of the 12 students ultimately selected for the Program, nine have demonstrated financial need.
The collaborative research of at least half of the NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Fellows will be presented once at a professional meeting and submitted for publication to a peer-reviewed journal. The laboratory groups of our Program faculty have made regular, annual trips to national scientific conferences such as Experimental Biology and regional and national American Chemical Society meetings. With the expected arrival of Fellows in early spring, these individuals will be able to attend the next cycle of meetings with our faculty and students and become familiar with the research presented. Also, our Program faculty have continued their strong publication record in 2016; Ted Meigs and eight of his students published a paper in Journal of Molecular Signaling this fall, and Amanda Wolfe’s lab group has a paper in final preparation for submission to ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. The research projects that generated these articles continue advancing in several directions, and NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Fellows will be placed on these new projects immediately after arriving in spring and will be involved in resulting papers.
Each NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Fellow will mentor undergraduate research students during each of their years at UNC Asheville. Our search timetable for these Fellow positions will bring them to campus in summer 2017. Because their teaching obligations will not begin until summer or fall term, Fellows will immediately begin working closely with student Scholars and other student members of their respective laboratory groups. Each research group currently has 7 or more individual undergraduate projects, and therefore Fellows will quickly become involved in guiding and supervising several ongoing projects.
Each NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Fellow will teach and be mentored as teachers. For the Fellows who arrive this spring, we believe the best way to introduce them to undergraduate teaching is through shadowing biology and chemistry faculty in ongoing courses. Fellows will attend lectures, help with preparatory work for lab sections, give guest lectures, participate in grading, and lead review sessions. Each Fellow will teach with close guidance by Program faculty.
All NC GlaxoSmithKline Foundation Fellows will report understanding a healthy balance between teaching and scholarship. We believe the key to this outcome is maintaining effective, frequent communication between Fellows and faculty members. This process will begin immediately upon arrival of Fellows on campus this spring. Fellows will participate in laboratory group meetings, plus regular meetings with biology and chemistry faculty so that Fellows can learn the "behind the scenes" work of preparing lectures and labs in multiple courses.