Professor Colleen Naughton with the 2021 FACTS summer bridge program students.

Professor Colleen Naughton with the 2021 FACTS summer season bridge program college students.

While many are getting ready to move off to school after an unprecedented yr, a handful of scholars are already on UC Merced’s campus and dealing away in analysis labs. They’re a part of the inaugural FACTS Bridge Program , a approach for first-year and switch college students to get a head begin on analysis and extra.

The FACTS Bridge Program is designed to immerse college students in agricultural science and analysis. It stands for San Joaquin Valley Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics Tools and Science. The six-week summer season program, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, permits college students to work with school mentors in a centered atmosphere, introducing college students to the world of analysis in agricultural science and know-how.

“The program is meeting my expectations so far,” stated civil and environmental engineering Professor Colleen Naughton , who’s main this system. “We had a workshop yesterday and students shared their research experiences, and they are already working in the labs and in the field with just two full days of research since orientation.”

Recruiting for the FACTS program started through the pandemic, primarily by way of e-mail and webinars, with the assistance of Student Affairs, External Relations, the School of Engineering, and the Center for Information Technology Research within the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute. Of 71 candidates, 12 college students have been chosen utilizing a rigorously designed rubric to cut back implicit bias.

“The number of applicants demonstrates the demand for these type of bridge programs for incoming students that include research,” Naughton stated.

Professor Colleen Naughton instructs the students on campus.

Professor Colleen Naughton instructs the scholars on campus.

As a part of the internship, college students are visiting native agricultural operations, equivalent to an area dairy, Hilmar Cheese Company and the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier. The purpose is for them to construct sensible expertise and their understanding of the area’s agricultural context for their analysis and future careers. They additionally could have lab security trainings, study graduate college alternatives and apply analysis writing methods, amongst different actions. The hope is that these hands-on academic experiences will assist result in a well-prepared and fashionable workforce that may fill anticipated gaps within the nation’s meals, agriculture and associated industries.

The coaching goes past analysis and teachers. The bridge program offers essential coaching in life expertise equivalent to budgeting, finding out and stress administration, all of which is able to assist them succeed on the college.

“My hopes and goals for before the program ends are to get the students some experience and comfort with research and take away some good university/life skills we can integrate from the workshops,” Naughton stated. “I hope to motivate them to pursue agricultural careers and research after the program, because we will need them to help solve the pressing challenges we face currently and in the future with food insecurity, environmental degradation and destruction, and climate change.”

The FACTS Bridge Program was put collectively by CITRIS and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources in collaboration with school from the School of Natural Sciences, School of Engineering and the Department of Public Health. The program will run from 2021-2024. Students involved in studying extra can go to the CITRIS website.


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