Developing Future Biologists: creating and assessing a portable short course to engage underrepresented undergraduate students in developmental biology

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Justine M. PinskeyScott Barolo


Many barriers discourage underrepresented students from pursuing science careers. To access graduate education, undergraduate students must first gain exposure to a particular subject and subsequently accumulate related coursework and research experience. Many underrepresented students lack exposure to developmental biology due to limited undergraduate course offerings and finite resources at smaller institutions. To address this disparity, a group of University of Michigan graduate students and postdoctoral fellows created a portable short course focusing on developmental biology, titled Developing Future Biologists (DFB). This weeklong educational initiative provides hands-on laboratory sessions, interactive lectures, and professional development workshops to teach students about developmental biology and increase awareness of scientific career options. To evaluate course effectiveness, we developed a pre-post assessment, incorporating main ideas from the BioCore Guide. Student understanding of basic concepts and perceived experience in developmental biology increased in DFB participants, despite the abbreviated nature of the course. Here, we provide all course materials and an in-depth analysis of the assessment we created. ...Continue Reading

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