ACC awarded national science grant to develop innovative research experience course

The National Science Foundation awarded Austin Community College (ACC) $300,000 to develop a unique two-year research experience course for students in STEM-related fields.

“Traditionally, undergraduate research has been limited to students in their junior or senior years,” says Kusali Gamage, ACC adjunct geology professor. “Providing our students with hands-on learning opportunities in their first years sets them up for greater success.”

The project, GP-EXTRA: Engaging and Retaining Students in the Geosciences at Two-Year Colleges, is open to both science and non-science majors and features two programs: a summer undergraduate research experience course and a field activity that allows propagation of research into existing introductory geology courses at ACC.

Through the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience Course (SUREC), students will learn about geology of the ocean crust through directed undergraduate research. The 2-credit course will be open to second-year students interested in STEM disciplines. Students will participate in research activities for 12 weeks at the University of Texas at Austin Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.

The Gulf Coast Repository (GCR) field activity will expose students to scientific research and career opportunities available in geosciences. Students enrolled in Introduction to Oceanography (GEOL 1445) and a selected section of Natural Hazards & Disasters (GEOL 1301) courses are eligible to participate. The field activity, set to begin spring 2017, will take place at the Texas A&M University GCR.

Applications for SUREC will be accepted in fall 2016. For more information on the program and how to apply, contact Gamage at kgamage@austincc.edu.

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