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July 1, 2016 - Week 5 Newsletter

RECCS is a 9-week summer student research program in critical zone science for Colorado community college students funded by the National Science Foundation and coordinated by CIRES Education Outreach and the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory.

For the most recent RECCS happenings, check out our blog.

RECCS Student Researcher Spotlight

This week our featured RECCS student researcher is Scott-Wesley Bean (standing). Scott-Wesley is working with mentors Noah Fierer, Associate Professor and CIRES Fellow and graduate student Tess Brewer (seated). The team is based in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Scott-Wesley Bean
Watch Scott-Wesley's elevator speech!

Research project: Effect of resuscitation factors on spore-forming and non-spore-forming soil bacteria

Scott-Wesley Bean is from Castle Rock, Colorado but is currently living in the Bear Creek Apartments at CU Boulder this summer while participating in the RECCS program. He has always had an affinity for the sciences, but it wasn’t until after he started attending college that he realized his passion for biology. The more he has learned about biological systems, the more he has honed in on his interest in cellular and molecular biology. For a while Scott-Wesley thought he’d be a professional oboist!

This past spring, he finished a semester at Arapahoe Community College and plans on transferring to Metropolitan State University in Denver in the fall. He aims to obtain a B.S. in Biology with a cellular and molecular concentration and a minor in chemistry.

Scott-Wesley's goal is to complete the RECCS program and obtain his degree in order to continue to broaden his research experiences and develop his skills in biology and chemistry laboratory settings. He would love to work as a lab technician and be part of a variety of research projects. In the future, Scott-Wesley can envision himself becoming a professor and sharing his passion for research with students.

Busy in the Fierer Lab

Scott-Wesley plates soil sample dilutions to investigate factors affecting bacterial dormancy in soils.
After incubating a total of 78 low-nutrient agar plates, Scott-Wesley scrapes off the bacterial colonies in preparation for DNA extraction.
The final amplicon (DNA copy) ready for sequencing! Now that he has completed the data collection phase of his research project, Scott-Wesley will be analyzing the results once he receives the data from the sequencing center.

Intern Tips

  • Meet with your mentor to review your research project progress to date and discuss your final work plans
  • Remember, the RECCS staff are here for you and your mentor so reach out for support

Intern Deadlines

  • Draft/outline of the results and discussion section, due on July 18
  • Talk to your mentor about submitting an abstract for the GSA conference (submission deadline is July 12)

Communication Workshop Update

In this week's scientific communication workshop, we covered a lot of material! First we debriefed the methods section, specifically thinking about how to communicate methods information on a poster and ways of communicating visually rather than in a comprehensive list. We then moved to discussion of the results and discussion parts of scientific communication, including a lot of discussion about graphics. We talked about types of graphs and when to use them, how to use tables,and how to show sites with maps and use simple diagrams. We talked about captions and how to reference our figures in the text; and we also discussed data fabrication and falsification, as well as the importance of being ethical with our data.  Finally, we talked about abstracts and the difference between summary abstracts and promissory (conference) abstracts in preparation for the upcoming GSA abstract submission deadline. While this week's formal assignment is a draft/outline of the results and discussion section, due on July 18, we encourage all our students and their mentors to think about whether submitting an abstract to GSA would be appropriate and, if so, to get an abstract written and submitted before the July 12 deadline. Our next communications workshop, where we will also discuss the AGU Virtual Poster Session conference opportunity, is on July 13.

Mentor Tips

  • RECCS has reached the halfway point! Now is a good time to meet with your student researcher to assess their data collection to date, confirm plans for analyzing their data, and review their time frame for competing the program deliverables.
  • Reminder, the final week of RECCS is dedicated to the students attending a poster session and presenting a PowerPoint presentation on their research project.
Copyright © 2016 CIRES Education Outreach, All rights reserved.

RECCS is funded by the National Science Foundation Grant Award Number 1461281

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