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Abstract Detail

Education and Outreach

Keller, Harold W. [1], Byerley Best, Brooke [1].

Selection of students for team-building field research projects: tree canopy biodiversity in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Strategies are presented for effective and efficient recruitment of undergraduate and master’s degree students for a large field research project using a case study involving Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Presentations by project leaders and former students were given at departmental seminars, student orientations, in biology courses, and at conferences, highlighting the project, research results to date, and student feedback. Informational flyers were posted around campus and distributed at annual conferences. Recruitment of students emphasized experiences beyond just research, such as travel opportunities, professional and academic networking, international collaboration, media and outreach activities, and grant-writing and fundraising experience. Student selection included review of transcripts, a written essay, letters of recommendation, and a personal interview. Questions were directed to determine student interest relative to three project phases: Adventure Phase, Laboratory Phase, and Publication Phase. In-person interviews included assessment of student ability to follow instructions and safety protocols, foster team spirit/attitude, and develop interpersonal skills essential for a large collaborative effort. Review of extracurricular activities was especially important, with interviews designed to determine relevant skills from involvement in team sports, 4-H projects, farm experience, regular chores, small business activities, art and music activities, conservation groups, collection activities, leadership positions, and special awards. Selected students were required to keep a personal journal to encourage and improve observational skills and reflection and to participate in group and individual publications. Feedback and methods assessment from former students are discussed along with additional suggestions that others may consider in their development, promotion, and support of field research.

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1 - Botanical Research Institute of Texas, 1700 University Dr, Fort Worth, TX, 76107, USA


Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 18, Education and Outreach I
Location: Sundance 4/Omni Hotel
Date: Tuesday, June 27th, 2017
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: 18010
Abstract ID:289
Candidate for Awards:None

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