New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
An innovative element of the Biomedical Engineering Community of Undergraduate Research Scholars for Cancer (BME CUReS) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site at The University of Texas at Austin is partnership with Texas 4000, a non-profit organization engaged in advocacy and philanthropy for cancer research. Texas 4000 engages students at the host university in 18-months of leadership training, cumulating in a capstone experience of a 10-week charity bicycle ride during the summer. The timing of the BME CUReS REU and Texas 4000 charity ride are coordinated such that the research experience begins when Texas 4000 students embark on their bike journey and the research experience concludes when Texas 4000 students arrive at their target destination. The undergraduate research experience is enriched by interactions with Texas 4000 students, such as through visits from Texas 4000 students who have already completed the ride the previous year, videoconference discussions with Texas 4000 students during their summer journey, and REU students sending encouraging cards to the Texas 4000 students en route. Our goal is that through such activities the BME CUReS REU students will increase their understanding of the important roles of advocacy and philanthropy in advancing cancer research and keep the ultimate goal of improving health in mind. Likewise, the intent is that the Texas 4000 students will increase their understanding of how researchers are trained and what the everyday experiences of research are like. In addition, novel community-building methods of the Texas 4000 have been adopted by the BME CUReS REU Site. For example, in analogy to the Texas 4000 students’ “rider dedications,” the BME CUReS REU students begin each weekly seminar with “research dedications” in which program faculty, staff, and trainees share brief accounts of to who they dedicate their research efforts this week. Similarly, the BME CUReS REU students write a blog describing their summer journey towards becoming cancer researchers, which parallels the social media posts of the Texas 4000 students on their summer-long charity bike ride.
Cousins, M., & Gonzales, L. K., & Dolan, E., & Flowers, K. E., & Becker, C., & Suggs, L., & Markey, M. K. (2016, June), Work in Progress: Enhancing the Undergraduate Research Experience through Partnership with a Non-profit Organization Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27223
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