ISU George Washington Carver Interns Get Hands-on Research Experience

July 1st, 2013

AMES, Iowa — This summer students from throughout the United States are learning about scientific research through the Iowa State University George Washington Carver Internship program.

The program, which is sponsored by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, introduces both college and high school students to various areas of research at Iowa State.

Theressa Cooper, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences assistant dean for diversity, said the U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) will increase 17 percent through 2018.

“The George Washington Carver Internship program serves as a conduit to bridge the gap between access and opportunity that is not always available to multicultural populations,” Cooper said.

This is the second largest class of interns since the program started in 1993, with 13 high school and 22 undergraduates participating. The interns are from throughout the United States and include students from Iowa, Puerto Rico, Texas, Illinois and Alabama. Since the start of the program faculty mentors have helped more than 300 interns conduct research.

The goal is to enhance research programs through increased diversity, championing the value of graduate education and recruiting students for undergraduate and graduate programs at Iowa State. Interns also participate in weekly seminars, programs, cultural activities and agricultural tours.

The summer research program promotes "science with practice" by immersing students in a variety of research activities. Faculty from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine work to mentor students and involve interns in their research projects.

This summer students are working on projects that include:
• Using plant oils as insecticides
• Marketing new cold-hardy grape cultivars
• Molecular genetic analysis of developmental maize mutants
• Adapting plants to climate change
• Understanding the development of effective vaccines
• Developing slowly digested or resistant starches to prevent colon cancer
• Identifying genes that control important biological traits in animals
• Testing bio-based manure treatment of odorous compounds
• Composition of animal products
• Impacts of viruses and nutrition on honeybee health
• Analyzing DNA repair nuclease
• Environmental factors in turtle sex determination
• Simulating wasp queen interactions, behavior and measuring gene expression
• Chemical analysis of bio-oils
• Analyzing soils for historical data on climate and vegetation
• Transgenic approaches in managing sudden death syndrome in soybeans
• Feed efficiency in dairy cattle

Seven of the students are part of the ISU Science Bound program, which received a $400,000 gift from DuPont Pioneer in April. The grant helps ethnically diverse Iowa students pursue careers in agriculture, science, technology, mathematics and engineering. The gift is expected to impact more than 500 Iowa students over the next five years.

To apply for the internships, students have to be at least 16 years old, U.S. citizens, maintain a 3.0 grade point average and plan to pursue a degree in science. For more about the program go to: http://www.ag.iastate.edu/diversity/gwc.

 

Contacts: 

Theressa Cooper, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, (515) 294-8574, tncooper@iastate.edu
Barb McBreen, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communication Service, (515) 294-0707, barbmc@iastate.edu