Paper No. 14
Presentation Time: 4:45 PM
BUILDING A LINK BETWEEN UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AND GRADUATE SCHOOL
One of the criteria used for evaluating the quality of an undergraduate program is the number of graduates who are accepted into graduate programs at primarily research institutions. Acceptance into a quality graduate program depends on demonstrating the ability to successfully complete undergraduate research by presenting results at meetings and through publication. However, the gap between the undergraduate and graduate experience can be substantial. The Paleobotanical Laboratory at Arizona State University and paleontology working group at Georgia College & State University (GC&SU) have established a research collaboration specifically designed to bridge the gap between the undergraduate and graduate experiences. Students from GC&SU complete one phase of research at their home institution and then travel to Arizona State to complete the second phase. During their tenure at ASU, undergraduates interact both academically and socially with graduate students and learn first hand what the demands are of a graduate program. Students and faculty from both institutions conduct field studies at Late Paleocene fossil plant localities in central and western North Dakota. The final phase is the preparation of research results for state and national meetings and for publication. The ASU-GC&SU collaboration also provides an outstanding avenue for outreach. Results of student research will be incorporated into displays housed in GC&SU's paleontology museum (opening November 2004). This museum will be a major resource for the GC&SU science outreach program that conducts education programs on campus for school districts in central Georgia. Arizona State University also benefits because they can recruit graduate students with a strong interest in Cenozoic paleontology (GC&SU has five Cenozoic paleontologists).