Adapting Undergraduate Research to Remote Work to Increase Engagement.

TitleAdapting Undergraduate Research to Remote Work to Increase Engagement.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsSE Cohen, SM Hashmi, A-AD Jones, V Lykourinou, MJ Ondrechen, S Sridhar, AL van de Ven, LS Waters, and PJ Beuning
JournalBiophysicist (Rockville, Md.)
Start Page28
Pagination28 - 32
Date Published09/2021

Demand for undergraduate research experiences typically outstrips the available laboratory positions, which could have been exacerbated during the remote work conditions imposed by the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 pandemic. This report presents a collection of examples of how undergraduates have been engaged in research under pandemic work restrictions. Examples include a range of projects related to fluid dynamics, cancer biology, nanomedicine, circadian clocks, metabolic disease, catalysis, and environmental remediation. Adaptations were made that included partnerships between remote and in-person research students and students taking on more data analysis and literature surveys, as well as data mining, computational, and informatics projects. In many cases, these projects engaged students who otherwise would have worked in traditional bench research, as some previously had. Several examples of beneficial experiences are reported, such as the additional time spent studying the literature, which gave students a heightened sense of project ownership, and more opportunities to integrate feedback into writing and research. Additionally, the more intentional and regular communication necessitated by remote work proved beneficial for all team members. Finally, online seminars and conferences have made participation possible for many more students, especially those at predominantly undergraduate institutions. Participants aim to adopt these beneficial practices in our research groups even after pandemic restrictions end.

Short TitleBiophysicist (Rockville, Md.)