Results and Feedback

Since piloting the MIV-REU program in summer 2020, dozens of undergraduate students have been given the opportunity to conduct authentic, meaningful research projects in a flexible and supportive virtual research environment. Here we’d like to share with you some of our program outcomes, statistics and feedback from student participants.

A primary objective of the MIV-REU program is to provide research experiences to students who wouldn’t otherwise have access to traditional on-site opportunities. The data below, from the 2021 program year, shows that most of our student participants face barriers to participation in on-site REU programs. The most common barriers faced by students include travel, financial and personal barriers.

A survey of the 2021 MIV-REU participants revealed that more than 75% of the students faced barriers to participation in an “in-person” REU program.
Comparison of pre- and post-program surveys of the 2021 MIV-REU participants illustrated that, among other positive gains, the students saw significant improvements in science identity and confidence.

One of the goals of the MIV-REU is to increase students’ feeling of belonging and identity as scientists. We conduct anonymous surveys prior to, and at the conclusion of, the MIV-REU program to get feedback from students. Comparison of pre- and post-program surveys shows that students see a substantial increase in feelings of science identify after participating in the MIV-REU program.

Some facts about MIV-REU 2021:

  • Students from 8 states and the District of Columbia, across three different time zones, participated in the summer REU
  • 25% of students in the program were first generation college students
  • Half of the student participants in 2021 were from racial and ethnic groups under-represented in science (as defined by the NSF)
  • While most MIV-REU students are enrolled at 4-year colleges and universities, we had 2 students who joined us from 2-year colleges
  • Approximately 25% of our students had just completed their first year of college, approximately 25% had completed two years of college, and the remainder had completed 3 years
  • Over 80% of MIV-REU students stated that they are likely or very likely to apply to graduate school

In the last two years we have hosted students from 14 states and Washington DC, across four different time zones.
Results from a student’s report describing (A) binding ‘hotspots’, (B) a positive control docking run showing the canonical ligand (agmatine, cyan) and key sidechain (green) interactions, and (C) student-identified key ligand scaffold.

Student Feedback:

  • It was so useful to have a close relationship with other people in my group, so that I could ask questions whenever I needed to.
  • …they treat me like an actual scientist, which makes me feel like one.”
  • “The program was a great experience and it will be fantastic to add to my resume and discuss in grad school interviews.”
  • In pre-tests trainees stated that they were most excited about learning technical skills – post-program, the majority expressed that their ‘…biggest and most important learning was soft skills like communicating, problem solving, overcoming challenges, etc.“
  • I enjoyed the collaborative work environment. I felt close to my fellow MIV REU members and I enjoyed the social events
  • “I gained a much greater sense of how to go about the process of applying to grad school from the pd sessions.”
  • “{one of my favorite things was} getting to know other young scientists like me in different universities.”
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