Community College Field Biology Alliance

The Community College Field Biology Alliance will provide community college students from underrepresented groups in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) the opportunity to experience scientific field work prior to transferring to a four-year university. Students will be mentored by graduate students from UCLA’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology through all stages of an independent scientific project; from development of methods, to data collection on the UC James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve one of the 39 field sites apart of the University of California Natural Reserve System, to the write up of a scientific poster. Further, it is our goal to foster meaningful relationships between the student interns and the graduate student mentors that will last beyond just completion of their project. This will be accomplished through weekly and monthly meetings and community oriented social events. Lastly, during the duration of the program students will also be exposed to workshops and information sessions aimed at assisting in the transferring process and building tangible knowledge of scientific methods that can be applied in their future undergraduate research and graduate studies. Our program structure is as follows: (1) Community College students interested in the natural sciences and conducting scientific research in the field will be invited to apply to this program. The program will run from April to August, culminating in a 10 day trip to the field to collect data and the completion of a poster in time for the UCLA Summer Poster Symposium. (2) Students will be paired with UCLA graduate students in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department whose field research interests most closely align with their own. Students will meet virtually with their mentors weekly and in person monthly. Students and their mentors will develop an independent observational field project that could feasibly be completed with ten days of data collection during the summer. (3)By the beginning of July, students will have completed a literature review and a methods protocol for their proposed field project. In late July, students and graduate mentors will travel to the James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve. This reserve is located approximately 2 hours from UCLA in the San Bernardino National Forest and is a part of the University of California Natural Reserve System. Travel, food, and lodging will be included for all participants. (4) While in the field participants will be assisted by their graduate student mentors in collecting and analyzing data for their proposed project. Before returning home each student will have a completed scientific poster. (5) Aside from enacting their proposed research, students will attend skill-building workshops focused on cultivating tangible scientific and fieldwork skills that can be used throughout their careers. For example, interns will be introduced to ‘R’ Statistical software for data analysis and taught how to use species identification guides in the field.

Signatories: Amanda Robin, Kura Manisa, and Sean O'Fallon

Advisor: Orlando Luna

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