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A Retrospective Examination of Two Professional Society–Sponsored Fellowships for Predoctoral Microbiology Students

    Author: Amy L. Chang1
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    Affiliations: 1: American Society for Microbiology, Washington, DC 20036
    AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION AUTHOR AND ARTICLE INFORMATION
    • Published 04 May 2016
    • ©2016 Author(s). Published by the American Society for Microbiology.
    • [open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/legalcode), which grants the public the nonexclusive right to copy, distribute, or display the published work.

    • Corresponding author. Mailing address: American Society for Microbiology, 1752 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Phone: 202-942-9264. Fax: 202-942-9329. E-mail: achang@asmusa.org.
    Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1093
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    Abstract:

    At the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), fellowships are a key means of providing immersive research opportunities for the student sector. To assess the impact of ASM student activities and inform their planning, the Society commissioned a study of two long-standing initiatives in 2015, namely the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF), established in 1993, and the ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship (Watkins) Program, established in 1980. A mixed-methods approach was used to collect data about the participants’ fellowship experience, track educational and employment status, and determine program impacts from 325 individuals (223 URF and 73 Watkins fellows). Challenges presented by the study include the fact that inherent in fellowships is the provision of financial support that affords participants opportunities that might otherwise be unavailable to them. As a result, participant feelings of indebtedness to the Society may have introduced biased study responses. In addition, some respondents were asked to reflect on experiences from 20 to 30 years ago—a lapse in time that may have challenged their memories. Based on measures such as enrollment in or completion of advanced degree programs, employment in science, and publication and presentation history, project participants show evidence of accomplishment. Participants also reported gains in affective behaviors such as confidence and belonging.

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References & Citations

1. Adedokun OA, Zhang D, Parker LC, Bessenbacher A, Chilcress A, Burgess WD2012Towards an understanding of the processes of the effects of undergraduate research experiences on students’ aspiration for research careers and graduate educationJ Coll Sci Teach428291
2. Chemers M, Zurbriggen EL, Syed M, Goza BK, Bearman S2011The role of efficacy and identity in science career commitment among underrepresented minority studentsJ Soc Issues67310.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01710.x http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-4560.2011.01710.x
3. Council of Graduate Schools2010PhD completion and attrition: policies and practices to promote student successCouncil of Graduate SchoolsWashington, DC[Online.] http://www.phdcompletion.org/information/publications.asp
4. Estrada-Hollenbeck M, Woodcock A, Hernandez PR, Schultz PW2011Toward a model of social influence that explains minority student integration into the scientific communityJ Educ Psychol103120622210.1037/a0020743215523743087606 http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0020743
5. National Science Board2014Science and engineering indicators 2014 (NSB 14-01)National Science FoundationArlington, VA
6. Ovink SM, Veazey B2011More than “getting us through:” a case study in cultural capital enrichment of underrepresented minority undergraduatesRes Higher Educ52437039410.1007/s11162-010-9198-8 http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11162-010-9198-8
7. Shoemaker CA2010Student confidence as a measure of learning in an undergraduate Principles of Horticultural Science courseHorticulture Technol20683688
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/content/journal/jmbe/10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1093
2016-05-04
2017-11-19

Abstract:

At the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), fellowships are a key means of providing immersive research opportunities for the student sector. To assess the impact of ASM student activities and inform their planning, the Society commissioned a study of two long-standing initiatives in 2015, namely the ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF), established in 1993, and the ASM Robert D. Watkins Graduate Research Fellowship (Watkins) Program, established in 1980. A mixed-methods approach was used to collect data about the participants’ fellowship experience, track educational and employment status, and determine program impacts from 325 individuals (223 URF and 73 Watkins fellows). Challenges presented by the study include the fact that inherent in fellowships is the provision of financial support that affords participants opportunities that might otherwise be unavailable to them. As a result, participant feelings of indebtedness to the Society may have introduced biased study responses. In addition, some respondents were asked to reflect on experiences from 20 to 30 years ago—a lapse in time that may have challenged their memories. Based on measures such as enrollment in or completion of advanced degree programs, employment in science, and publication and presentation history, project participants show evidence of accomplishment. Participants also reported gains in affective behaviors such as confidence and belonging.

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Figures

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FIGURE 1

ASM contribution to skills development: Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF) respondents ( = 107). ASM = American Society for Microbiology.

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1093
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FIGURE 2:

Gain in professional constructs: Undergraduate Research Fellowship (URF) respondents ( = 202).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1093
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Image of FIGURE 3

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FIGURE 3

Percent gain in communications skills: Watkins respondents ( = 71).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1093
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Image of FIGURE 4

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FIGURE 4

Percent gain in sustaining research skills: Watkins respondents ( = 71).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1093
Download as Powerpoint
Image of FIGURE 5

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FIGURE 5

Gain in professional construct: Watkins respondents ( = 71).

Source: J. Microbiol. Biol. Educ. May 2016 vol. 17 no. 2 189-196. doi:10.1128/jmbe.v17i2.1093
Download as Powerpoint

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