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Program Overview & Expectations

BIGG Data Research Program Overview Graph

Program Overview

Because demand for bioinformatics capabilities throughout the food, agricultural, and natural resource sectors greatly outweighs current supply, there is a critical need for a diverse, talented workforce well trained in Bioinformatics, Genetics, and Genomic (BiGG) Sciences. The overall goal of the BiGG Research Scholars Program is, therefore, to holistically prepare talented, diverse women for graduate programs and careers in BiGG.

This program, a powerful multidisciplinary combination of genetics, genomics, and informatics/computer science trainees and mentors, will also provide students with opportunities to develop critical thinking, problem solving, and digital competency skills Furthermore, a focus on experiential learning and 21st century skills development will provide communication/ leadership competencies needed for future employment and/or higher education. Research teams will be mentored by faculty with active research programs focused on plants and animals, and by faculty with programs focused on analysis and interpretation of big data. Each team will also have a Graduate Student Mentor who is skilled in the tools needed for BiGG research.

Students will be part of the Summer Research Scholars programs sponsored by the Office of Undergraduate Research ( Social events and excursions will permit students to explore the attractions of the Knoxville area.

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Expectations for Participating Students

We expect that students selected to participate in this program will be present for the full eight weeks of programming. This time frame will allow students opportunities for other activities prior to and after the program. The University of Tennessee will be closed July 5, 2021 for the July 4th holiday.

All students are expected to participate in all scheduled activities of the program. The majority of student time will be spent with the Research Team, but equally important is the training in leadership and communication. Other requirements include Responsible Conduct in Research Training, Bioethics Training, and Laboratory Safety Training. Each week, all teams will meet as a group with mentors and Dr. Gwinn to report progress.  All students are expected to be effective team members and respectful of all participants.

This program is aimed at promoting diversity in the BiGG workforce. Women who share this goal, especially those from underrepresented minority groups, economically disadvantaged backgrounds, or who are the first generation in their families to attend college are especially encouraged to apply.

We look forward to welcoming you to the University of Tennessee for a stimulating, rewarding, and fun experience. Any concerns that affect your ability to fully benefit from the program should be discussed with your Research Mentors and/or the Program Director.

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