Flexible and Extendable Scientific Undergraduate Experience

What is FEScUE?

FEScUE advances undergraduate research and training based on the following principles

Scientific Vision: We aim to prepare a new generation of life scientists and mathematicians capable of interdisciplinary collaboration. The lower division gateway courses, the advanced fusion courses, the Team Research and Interdisciplinary Scientific Seminars, and joint faculty mentorship of research projects combine to ensure that students enrolled in the program are immersed in the scientific language and culture of both life sciences and mathematical disciplines and develop the skills necessary for conducting team-based interdisciplinary research. Interactions with more senior undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the research clusters and travel to conferences will increase the studentsí ability to interact and contribute to both disciplines, establish networks with other colleagues and enhance the different career paths that are available to them.

Fundamental Education: Students will enroll in a common set of introductory freshman and sophomore mathematics and life sciences gateway courses, as well as two or more advanced fusion courses that will be cross-listed in a life science department and Mathematics or Statistics. These courses form a strong basis for new cross-disciplinary minors for students in mathematics, statistics, and the life sciences.

Research Experience: The core of our program consists of interdisciplinary team-based research projects directed by pairs of faculty, one from the life sciences and one from mathematics or statistics. All other components of the program exist to support this activity.

Preparing Undergraduate Students for Professional Careers: Our aim is for students to matriculate to graduate school. To encourage their successful application to graduate school we will provide FEScUE seminars that include GRE preparation and group career counseling for professional development leading to graduate training and careers as research scientists.

Flexibility: The mathematical, statistical and biological tools needed to perform research at the interface of mathematics and the life sciences vary widely, and are not readily available in traditional disciplinary courses. We have designed two seminars, the Interdisciplinary Scientific and Team Research Seminars, to provide the appropriate and timely training.

Expandability: Based on current and developing research interests of faculty, we have identified three initial themes of Ecology, Bioinformatics and Structural Biology. A goal of FEScUE is to expand to additional fields as faculty expertise and interest permit. While most faculty involved in establishing FEScUE are from the College of Natural Sciences, our aim is to include students and faculty from other Colleges and Research Institutes, including the departments of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management, Biomedical Sciences, Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, Forest Range and Watershed Stewardship, Microbiology Immunology and Pathology, Soil and Crop Sciences and the Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory. Participation in the Team Research and the Interdisciplinary Scientific seminars provides the mechanism for adding faculty to develop novel interdisciplinary research projects.


Goals and Objectives of FEScUE