Applied Plant Systems 2018
The Applied Plant Systems Experiential Learning Program (APS) funded by the USDA-NIFA, featured hands-on research, peer interaction and science literacy. The internship program launched in the summer of 2017 and took a triangular approach to developing agriculture and natural resource professionals who are equipped to meet the future challenges of food production and the environment. Led by Weaver Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture Martha Mamo with assistance from graduate coordinator Salvador Ramirez II, an agronomy doctoral student, the Applied Plant Systems Experiential Learning Program aimed to not only provide research experience but also improve undergraduate students’ systems thinking, decision making and ability to communicate with diverse audiences.
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[00:00:00.971](upbeat instrumental music)
[00:00:08.850]Lecture halls aren't the only setting
[00:00:10.760]where the University of Nebraska is working to prepare
[00:00:13.380]students for the changing landscape of agriculture.
[00:00:16.910]Led by Weaver Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture,
[00:00:19.460]Dr. Martha Mamo, the goal of the Applied Plant Systems
[00:00:22.990]Experiential Learning Program, or APS, was to not only
[00:00:27.120]provide a summer research experience, but also improve
[00:00:29.950]undergraduate student system thinking, decision making,
[00:00:33.500]and ability to communicate their science to diverse
[00:00:37.340]2017 APS mentees and mentors were Bodie Fletcher
[00:00:41.630]from Virginia Tech, mentored by Jess Spotanski,
[00:00:44.920]Phoebe Hartvigsen from the State University of New York,
[00:00:48.630]Genesco, mentored by Dirac Twidwell,
[00:00:51.560]Katja Duerig from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln,
[00:00:54.520]mentored by Virginia Jin,
[00:00:56.510]Alyssa Converse from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln,
[00:00:59.440]mentored by Keenan Amundsen,
[00:01:01.500]Marlynn Cadena from the University of Texas El Paso,
[00:01:05.170]mentored by Lisa Durso,
[00:01:07.040]and Jackson Stansell, a student from Harvard University,
[00:01:10.050]mentored by Richard Ferguson and Laura Thompson.
[00:01:12.883]APS improved undergraduate student system thinking,
[00:01:16.210]decision making, and ability to communicate their science
[00:01:18.920]to diverse audiences through coupled training.
[00:01:21.500]The first component of this coupled training model
[00:01:24.150]was their internship experience.
[00:01:26.650]Their research ranged across diverse systems.
[00:01:29.740]For example, Marlynn Cadena used PCR to profile
[00:01:32.478]antibiotic resistant genes in Nebraskan organic farms,
[00:01:37.250]and Jackson used drones to study the impact of rye
[00:01:40.320]as a cover crop on nitrogen efficiency
[00:01:42.890]in a no-till corn cropping system.
[00:01:45.609]To enhance their internship experience and connect
[00:01:49.310]their summer research to future challenges in Agronomy,
[00:01:52.350]we held weekly Think Tank Sessions.
[00:01:54.642]So Think Tank Session themes included team building
[00:01:57.840]and decision making, science communication and science
[00:02:00.560]literacy, systems thinking, and entrepreneurship.
[00:02:04.450]The team building science communication systems thinking
[00:02:07.380]and entrepreneurship Think Tank Sessions occurred
[00:02:10.110]in classroom settings led by qualified mentors.
[00:02:13.960]Two of the Think Tank Sessions occurred as trips.
[00:02:16.590]One, a tour of industry operations in Nebraska,
[00:02:19.490]and the second, a tour of USDA academic and extension
[00:02:22.660]research at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
[00:02:25.380]On this tour, APS mentees toured the Eastern Nebraska
[00:02:28.990]Research and Extension Center, where they met with
[00:02:31.000]Extension Specialist Justin McMechan
[00:02:33.490]who discussed the history and importance of extension.
[00:02:36.420]Virginia Jin, research soil scientist with the USDA,
[00:02:39.900]who discussed the role of the USDA in ag research,
[00:02:43.570]and me, Salvador Ramirez, who discussed academic research
[00:02:47.340]as a graduate student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
[00:02:50.320]Finally, to train APS mentees to communicate their
[00:02:53.210]internship experience to diverse audiences,
[00:02:55.590]we designed a science and literary extension component
[00:02:58.900]led by Leah Sandall and Jennifer Keshwani.
[00:03:01.710]APS mentees were asked to develop extension materials
[00:03:04.710]to communicate their summer research.
[00:03:06.860]Here's a clip from Jackson Stansell's extension video.
[00:03:11.062](upbeat instrumental music)
[00:03:52.790]It is clear that our APS mentees grew from the summer
[00:03:58.040]Based from my experiences in the Applied Plant Systems
[00:04:00.720]Experiential Learning Program, I've been exposed to various
[00:04:03.750]research opportunities that I've really enjoyed.
[00:04:06.730]In the future, I'll definitely be looking into grad school
[00:04:08.820]at the University of Nebraska.
[00:04:10.800]And that Nebraska benefited from their time
[00:04:13.050]here as well.
[00:04:13.883]And welcome back to Pure Nebraska, a hands-on learning
[00:04:16.850]experience helping prepare students to address
[00:04:20.450]the ongoing challenges of food production.
[00:04:22.850]This project is bringing 24 students from across
[00:04:25.390]the country to Nebraska to conduct summer internships,
[00:04:28.950]I should say, related to their career interests and goals.
[00:04:31.880]So joining us now with more on this is Marlynn Cadena
[00:04:34.810]and Jackson Stansell.
[00:04:36.230]Thank you both for being here today.
[00:04:37.660]We appreciate it.
[00:04:38.493]Good morning, you guys.
[00:04:39.326]Good morning, thanks for having us.
[00:04:40.444]Tell us more about the internships that you were
[00:04:43.620]Marlynn, I should say.
[00:04:45.570]So, I'm working with a doctor at UNL and we're working
[00:04:49.690]with soil samples, so what we're looking for
[00:04:51.930]is antibiotic resistance in the organic soils.
[00:04:54.480]So we're trying to create a baseline of information
[00:04:57.690]to kind of compare what organic soil looks like,
[00:05:02.260]which should have no antibiotic resistance,
[00:05:05.050]to be able to compare to, like, a standard.
[00:05:09.355]We look forward to repeating the success
[00:05:11.780]of APS during the summer of 2018 and 2019.
[00:05:16.870]APS is made possible by USDA NIFA funding.
[00:05:20.240]We'd like to thank the University of Nebraska–Lincoln
[00:05:22.290]Office of Graduate Studies, especially Casey Coleman
[00:05:24.990]and Alisha Hanshaw.
[00:05:25.880]And we would like to thank all of those who served
[00:05:28.310]as APS mentors over the summer of 2017.
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