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Cultivating future plant genomics researchers

NSF Award:

Leveraging Untapped Genetic Diversity in Soybean  (University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc)

Congressional Districts:
Research Areas:

A partnership between the NSF-funded Soybean Genomics project, SoyMap, and the American Society of Plant Biologists Minority Affairs Committee resulted in a professional development workshop that attracted nearly 100 registrants from over 25 minority serving institutions. The workshop, held in Albuquerque, N.M., exposed students and mentors to a variety of laboratory technologies including DNA extraction, PCR (polymerase chain reaction), electrophoresis and bioinformatics. Students also learned about summer program opportunities.

Because many of the students and faculty attendees lack access to a laboratory, SoyMap provided in-person instruction and hands-on examples. The goal was to make science accessible, understandable, relevant and fun. Breaking social, educational and intimidation barriers improves the chances of students applying for and obtaining summer research opportunities.    

SoyMap creates and provides genomics resources for soybean researchers. To broaden participation in plant genomics and bioinformatics, SoyMap also provides summer research internships. The large presence of Native Americans and Hispanics in New Mexico and the surrounding areas presents the SoyMap project with a unique opportunity to increase minority participation, as well as benefit from and serve a diverse student population.

However, effective recruitment and support of students relies on many factors. SoyMap's successful outreach program cultivates relationships with minority programs and institutions, listening, learning and adapting to the needs of the minority groups it serves.

For more information, visit the SoyMap Summer Internship Program .


Images (1 of )

  • students participate in a soymap workshop
  • mentors take part in hands-on exercises
  • students practice using micropipettes during a lab exercise
Students participate in a SoyMap workshop.
Michael Gonzales, University of Georgia
Mentors take part in hands-on exercises.
Michael Gonzales, University of Georgia
Students practice using micropipettes during a lab exercise.
Michael Gonzales, University of Georgia

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