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special feature

Undergraduate Summer Research Program in the Midst of a Pandemic

Insights From the Morehouse College Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Virtual Summer Research Program

Journal of College Science Teaching—Fall 2023 (Volume 52, Issue 7)

By Ethell Vereen, Munichia McCalla, Joshua Fullerton, and Cynthia Trawick

Although many summer undergraduate research programs made the decision to delay, cancel, or suspend their summer experiences in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Morehouse College McNair Scholars Program instead offered a completely virtual summer research experience to 14 Scholars with faculty-led remote research. The program included online curriculum; GRE preparation; and the development of social capital and community between peer and stakeholders in a series of activities with professionals, McNair alumni, and graduate school virtual workshops. It concluded with a virtual research symposium. Evaluations from surveys showed positive results from Scholars and mentors. Student participants indicated gains in confidence on core research skills, knowledge of and interest in graduate school, and research careers. As we navigate through and beyond this pandemic, it is important to recognize and address opportunities and strategies for, and challenges of, conducting research programs remotely, especially for programs geared toward students from groups that are underrepresented in STEM.

Distance Learning Research Teaching Strategies

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