College Podcast, Undergraduate Research Podcast, UG Research Podcast, High School Students, College-bound UG Research, undergraduate research, Miami University, Ohio"> Podcast | Prof--Joyce-Fernandes-of-Miami-University-on-UG-Research-High-Impact-Practice-HIP-e1ota3r

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Episode Notes | Transcript | AskTheGuest

 Hi Fives (5 Highlights)   Click for 2.5-Minute Listen

Joyce Fernandes is a Professor of Biology & the Director of Undergraduate Research at Miami University in Ohio.

Professor Fernandes’ journey into research, took flight while studying Fruit Fly as part of her PhD. It brought excitement and enthusiasm to her graduate program as she created new knowledge.

But, her first encounter with UG Research occurred when she joined the Faculty at Miami University.

Miami University has been supporting UG Research for well over 3 decades.

On our podcast, Prof. Fernandes talks about UG Research at Miami University, the role CUR plays, Impact of Research on UG Students, Success stories, and finally Advice for High Schoolers.

Hi-Fives from the Podcast are:

  1. Why UG Research is Important
  2. Benefits of UG Research
  3. Students’ Participation
  4. Impact on Students
  5. Advice for High Schoolers

Episode Notes

Episode Title: Prof. Joyce Fernandes of Miami University on UG Research: High Impact Practice (HIP).

Prof. Fernandes’ journey into research, took flight while studying Fruit Flies as part of her PhD. It brought excitement and enthusiasm to her graduate program as she created new knowledge.

But, her first encounter with UG Research occurred when she joined the Faculty at Miami University. Now, she is the Director of Undergraduate Research at Miami University in Ohio.

On our podcast, Prof. Fernandes talks about UG Research at Miami University, the role CUR plays, Impact of Research on UG Students, Success stories, and Advice for High Schoolers.

In particular, we discuss the following with her:

  • Prof. Joyce Fernandes’ Background
  • UG Research at Miami University Ohio
  • Student Success Stories
  • Skills for Research

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • Introducing Prof. Joyce Fernandes, Miami University Ohio [0:47]
  • Hi Fives - Podcast Highlights [2:13]
  • Professional Background [4:30]
  • Why is UG Research Important? [8:32]
  • Benefits of UG Research to Students [9:59]
  • Prof. Fernandes’ UG Research Role [13:08]
  • CUR’s Role [16:06]
  • Student Participation [18:01]
  • Success Stories [22:29]
  • Impact on Students [25:25]
  • What’s Next for UG Research at Miami U [27:52]
  • Advice for High Schoolers [29:37]
  • Closing Thoughts [31:16]

Our Guest: Prof. Joyce Fernandes is a Professor of Biology & the Director of Undergraduate Research at Miami University in Ohio. Prof. Fernandes received the Bachelor’s Degrees in Chemistry and Microbiology from St. Xavier’s College in Goa, India. She received her Master’s Degree in Microbiology from MS University in Baroda, India. Prof. Fernandes received her PhD in Developmental Biology from University of Mumbai, India.

Memorable Quote: “...that's what I've really liked about research, is that it is uncharted territory, and there's excitement along the way, it can be as exciting as you make it out to be.” Prof. Fernandes on UG Research .

Episode Transcript: Please visit Episode’s Transcript.

Similar Episodes: UG Research

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Episode Transcript

Transcript of the episode’s audio.

<Start Snippet> Joyce F  0:14  

You know, they are just graduating from an undergraduate experience and they should be able to communicate with a wider audience. And so one of the things that I am engaged with right now is to help students tell their stories, research stories, to a more general audience, a more public audience, and to get others excited about the potential of the work and why this work should be done.

Venkat  0:47  [Introducing Prof. Joyce Fernandes, Miami University, Ohio]

That is Joyce Fernandes, Professor of Biology & the Director of Undergraduate Research at Miami University in Ohio.

Hello, I am your host, Venkat Raman.

Professor Fernandes’ journey into research, took flight while studying Fruit Fly as part of her PhD.

It brought excitement and enthusiasm to her graduate program as she created new knowledge.

But, her first encounter with UG Research occurred when she joined the Faculty at Miami University.

Miami U has been supporting UG Research for well over 3 decades.

6 years ago, Prof. Fernandes became the Director of UG Research at the University.

Venkat Raman  1:39

Prof. Fernandes joins us on our podcast to talk about UG Research at Miami University, the role CUR plays, Impact of Research on UG Students, Success stories, and finally Advice for High Schoolers.

Before we jump into the podcast, here are the Hi-Fives,  Five Highlights from the podcast:

Joyce F  2:13  [Highlights - Hi Fives]

[Why UG Research is Important]

Research was important because it became a way of life, you know, during and during graduate school during my postdoctoral experience, in the end, the thrill of planning and experiment not knowing how it would turn out drawing conclusions, you know, waiting for the unknown to reveal itself.

[Disciplines]

And overall, you know, the elements like critical thinking, problem solving, being independent workers and thinkers contributing to innovation. Those are the sorts of benefits that undergraduate research provides.

[CUR’s Role]

And we have this program called FYRE fire with a Y, FY R E, firstly, Research Experience Program. And so we have been using that to engage students early on to get them trained in the process of research.

 

[Success Stories - Oboe Reed]

Once they are done, you know and you see this specially when students have been in your lab for a minimum of two years, you know, you can see what they have finished up with because they are now able to write a proposal, they're able to read and discuss a scientific paper they're able to present their work. You know, in a public forum, some of my students have accompanied me to conferences and we have presented at conferences.

[Advice for High Schoolers]

I think number one, you know, disciplines at at college at the college level, those are generally something that students don't know much about. And so I think they need to know more about that is to know about what disciplines are available.

Venkat Raman  3:57

These were the Hi5s, brought to you by “College Matters. Alma Matters.”

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Venkat Raman  4:08

Now, I'm sure you want to hear the entire podcast with Professor Fernandes.

So without further ado, here is Professor Joyce Fernandes!

-----------------

Venkat Raman  4:20  

So maybe the best place to start is give us a little bit about your background, and then we can start getting into ug research.

Joyce F  4:30  [Professional Background]

Okay, so my background is in the field of developmental biology. That's what I got my PhD in. And in fact, before my PhD, I was actually a microbiologist. So I had training in microbiology and chemistry those were my majors in, in college and then I did my masters in microbiology. And then later on went on to do a PhD in the field of developmental biology.

And when I would go back and read my teachers, you know, they would say, well, you left microbiology what how happened and you'd have never considered it that way. I was just in the pursuit of experiences that kind of made sense to me. So, it so happened that during my PhD, I was choosing labs in the process of choosing labs and I had interviewed with a professor doing yeast microbiology, there was another one studying the malarial parasite. And none of them actually appealed to me.

And then I happen to switch into a lab that was doing fruit fly biology. It was on all faction, and you know, I was still not bound by anything. And then they told me there was this young professor who was going to join a little later and I kind of said, Okay, I'll see what he has to offer. And when he came, and he described his work to me, I was so captivated. And I said, I am going to get on that train wherever it is going. And that's how I ended up doing fruit studying fruit flies. And it was a developmental biology lab that looked at the development of muscles. And I was the first one in the lab, I was his first graduate student.

So I was studying the fruit fly, indirect flight muscles, that was my foray into research at the PhD level in a field that was like really exciting to me, because it looked like nothing had been explored before. So and, as I said, my professor who, who was new, you know, he just had this way, about his description, we about him full of enthusiasm and excitement. And I knew that was where I wanted to be. So, you know, never thought that I was leaving microbiology and entering into a different field. So that was my real start with research. Independent research is in the field of developmental biology.

And then, after I finished my graduate work, I went on to do a postdoctoral research experience in a lab that was a neurobiology lab, a developmental neurobiology lab. And so that became my area of interest that I have carried on until now is in developmental neurobiology, and studying all things developmental neurobiology, with respect to muscles, motor neurons, and clear glia. Actually, that cell type entered my life now while I was an independent investigator, a principal investigator as a faculty member, so we just happen to stumble on it. And that's, in itself, an exciting story.

So I was a microbiologist. I was also trained in chemistry. So I did, I was a double major chemistry, microbiology. I did my masters and microbiology, and went on to do a PhD in developmental biology and then postdoc in the area of developmental neurobiology. And that's what I've continued to do. Now.

Venkat Raman  8:11  

Awesome. Sounds like a huge journey, but very rich journey. There. It is.

Venkat Raman  8:22  

So you were starting to say research. So how did or why did research become important to you and more so undergraduate research?

Joyce F  8:32  [Why is UG Research Important?]

So undergraduate research became important after I came to Miami University, research was important because it became a way of life, you know, during during graduate school, during my postdoctoral experience, in the end, the thrill of planning and experiment, not knowing how it would turn out, drawing conclusions, you know, waiting for the unknown to reveal itself. And then digging deeper, that's what I've really liked about research, is that it is uncharted territory, and there's excitement along the way, it can be as exciting as you make it out to be. Yes, you know, the day to day work is is, you know, very, could be looked at as boring, treacherous, you know, drudgery. But I think you've got to look at the bigger picture to say, why did you get started? What were you hoping to find? How are you doing so far? What else can you do if something's not working? So, in general, I think, the uncharted territory but has always appealed to me, and then when you are the one that finds something new, that's just pure joy.

Venkat Raman  9:48  

Why is it important for the students? I mean, it's personally very rewarding to you, but why do you, What do you think it provides students, say undergraduate students,

Joyce F  9:59  [Benefits of UG Research to Students]

So Undergraduate Research, if you look at in the education world, it's considered HIP, let me step back a little, HIP, which is a High Impact Practice. And what it means is that students that are able to encounter Undergraduate Research and experience that are actually being able to apply it to basic content that they learn, right. And so it's an application kind of a thing, it's hands on minds on. It is, you know, gets away from the textbooks, and you're actually generating new knowledge, you are involved in generating new knowledge. I mean, you do that as a researcher, and you know, being in an academic environment, you extend that to undergraduate students and include them in that process. And so when I came to Miami, I knew coming in that, you know, this was a place where undergraduate education is important, and that these undergraduate research experiences are something that you engage students with. And so it was just natural to step into that role. It was completely new to me when I joined Miami as a new faculty member, because I had previously only worked with as a postdoc with graduate students. So with undergraduates, it is undergraduate research is a co curricular experience. So it is intended to happen along with, you know, the coursework that they're taking. And so it gives them more of an opportunity to apply some of the concepts they're learning into the, into the research that they do. And so, as I was mentioning earlier, it's a high impact practice for that reason is that it solidifies what you have learned in the classroom through content courses. And then you know, there are other benefits to it, like the mentoring, right, they are able to get the one on one mentoring, they are able to engage with the near peer mentors in the research group, they're able to engage with graduate students, wherever that is possible. At Miami, we have good doctoral program as well. Our biology department is one of the few departments across the institution that have doctoral programs. And so there is that interaction with the graduate students, it's another level of mentoring. So there are multiple levels of mentoring. They are able to as a result of, you know, things like workshops and enrichment activities that are available throughout the institution, be able to connect the undergraduate research to either future careers, to internships, to examine graduate education as a possibility. And overall, you know, the elements like critical thinking, problem solving, being independent workers and thinkers contributing to innovation. Those are the sorts of benefits that undergraduate research provides.

Venkat Raman  13:02  

So what's what's your role coordinating UG research at Miami.

Joyce F  13:08  [Prof. Fernandes’ UG Research Role]

So my office, which is the Office of Research for undergraduates was established about six years ago. And there has been a history of undergraduate research even before that we've been doing engaging students in undergraduate research for almost 35 years or so. But this office was created just to have a central place of visibility and awareness that for students and so what my office currently does, is it coordinates our award programs so that you know, students write for proposals and get funded. If their proposal meets those the guidelines if it is scored well, in a review process, we do that we hold the Undergraduate Research Forum, that's an annual event that happens on campus. We also administer workshops, we connect with various entities stakeholders across the institution that have a bearing on undergraduate research and bring them into the picture as well and help and collaborate on skills development, but which is which unnecessary for better engagement with with the research process.

Venkat Raman  14:17  

Now is this are you finding that this is across lots of disciplines or is it more STEM oriented? How is the...

Joyce F  14:29  

Atleast at Miami we have the students engaged in undergraduate research. Do so across the disciplines. We have in fact, students that may be in one discipline that may be doing research and another discipline so we have cross disciplinary engagement as well. So for example, a student that's a biology major with probably let's say, a pre med focus might actually be doing or considering research with a faculty member who works and Family Studies and Social work because you know, there are faculty members As they're who are interested in you know, disease conditions of health conditions on caregiving in the families. And so that is a that is something that our pre med students are really interested in. So you could have a biology major working on a Social Work and Family Studies project. So there are various examples of those sorts of working across disciplinary boundaries at my institution. So yes, there is a preponderance of students in STEM, because historically, you know, that is where it has been, it has been more visible. But you know, one of my roles at the institution is to make sure that there is visibility and awareness of research and all these other areas, what research and business looks look like, what does research in the creative arts look like? You know, we may not call it research, but there is problem solving and the creative process and engaging in the process of research that is going on.

Venkat Raman  16:00  

So how does CUR help you guys? I mean, what what kind of role are they playing? What kind of help are they providing?

Joyce F  16:06  [CUR’s Role]

So I think what happens with CUR, so we are institutional members. And so what that means is students and faculty at the institution are automatically members, and they can avail of the resources that could provide so they have access to the journals that CUR provides, they have access to, you know, these community blogs that are there, they have access to knowing when events are happening, you know, that are organized by car, those sorts of things. But I think a very important role that car plays is if if you are engaged as a counselor, which I am. And I am also involved in, in some committees. So I'm involved in the advocacy committee, it gives me an understanding of what other institutions are doing. And it helps me to bring that information to my institution to sort of enhance and strengthen. So I think it's a two way street. One is that we have access to resources that CUR has. And the other thing is that, you know, we can be also, you know, showcasing helping curb by providing things like, you know, stories about what goes on at Miami, and counselors, counselors help playing, being a career counselor really helps to bring her to your institution. So I think there are different levels at which being associated with this organization is helpful.

Venkat Raman  17:47  

What are you finding at Miami in terms of when students join research when, you know, they start undergraduate research? Are they starting off in the freshman year? Are you finding that in the upper classes,

Joyce F  18:01  [Student Participation]

So traditionally, it's always been in upper level classes. And that's usually because students get to interact more with professors who are teaching their classes, and the professors will usually mention, hey, you know, I'm doing undergraduate research. If anyone's interested, you might want to check out our lab and things of that nature. I know, in my 200, level class, sophomore level class, I'm always talking to students about the work that I do, because it's directly connected to my cell biology topic that I teach. And so, you know, that's how I think a majority of students hear about research and research opportunities. And then by the time they kind of pull up their socks and are ready to do approach a professor and get started with the work, they're usually in, you know, later in their sophomore year earlier in the junior year. So I would say a majority of students are juniors and seniors when they're doing research. And one of the things we have tried to do at Miami is to encourage that to happen earlier. And we have this program called fire fire with a YFY R E, first research experience program. And so we have been using that to engage students early on to get them trained in the process of research, you know, developing those skills, library skills, writing skills, searching for opportunities, how would you do that? What are centers of research that we have centers of research excellence that we have on campus? Why those important you can get to know a bunch of faculty members there and explore collectively what work they do those sorts of things. So we get them started in their first year and with the hope that they will continue in their sophomore year to choose research labs that best suit their interests. Now, another way that research also happens is in research based courses. And in fact, we, you know, when we were looking at data from our institution to see how many students do one on one mentoring, it seemed too low, you know, why do we not have any more students, you know, doing independent research? Well, that's those are just one on one, mentored projects. But then voting members also incorporate research into their courses. And if you start looking at that, then you might see that there are more students engaged in research in the process of research, right, so identifying a problem, being able to figure out how to best approach it proposing a solution, they may not necessarily do the work, but then others might, you know, be able to actually conduct an entire project during the course of a semester. And so these are your cures classroom based undergraduate research experiences that allow students that undergraduate research experience, so there is a wide variety of ways in which students can access undergraduate research opportunities.

Venkat Raman  21:03  

So what what fraction of the students you mentioned, the one on one was low, but if you count for the class based research, of course, based research, how many students what percentage of students do undergraduate research.

Joyce F  21:19  

So it's difficult, it's difficult to say, because, you know, you have to kind of choose the parameters, what counts as undergraduate research. So we what we did recently, we did a, we did a search, using the term the appearance of research in the title, as well as in the description, then we had, you know, a better sense for, you know, whether or not this was, at least in part covering a part of the research process. And I would say that, definitely, you know, at least a quarter of students are doing it, I might actually need to get back with you on that and see if the number is any higher, but at least 25% are doing that. And more I would say.

Venkat Raman  22:06  

What I thought would be interesting is that if you have any anecdotes or stories that you might have, you know, which success of, and I don't mean, sort of, were the world's greatest research or anything, but, you know, impact to the students, and also maybe impact to the discipline.

Joyce F  22:29  [Success Stories]

So, yeah, so when you say, you know, success stories, I mean, I'd like to think that when a student has had an meaningful undergraduate research experience, you know, they and they're able to utilize it to further themselves. I think that is a success for them. In terms of things that stand out, I mean, what I might, you know, I'm thinking about some astute students that have come through working with my lab or working with projects with me, in classes that I have taught.

And one particular student comes to mind who actually was able to as a result of his undergraduate research experiences, he was so motivated by that he actually was able to find a year long Postdoc position at the National Institutes of Health. And so that was super, because this kid was completely funded for an entire year by that by that lab, so that and he was just over the moon with that. And then he went on to, he went on to use that experience, again, to get into medical school, and his applications were really competitive. So that is, you know, one story that stands out for me.

And then I have other students who have, for example, done undergraduate research in my lab, so you know, studying fruit fly muscles, and neurons, neuromuscular junction, and this one student came back, you know, after her med school interview and said to me, Dr. F, you know, they asked me all about my project, they asked me about what the dorsoventral axis was, and I like section the fruit fly Tauruses. And I was able to tell them and so, you know, this is students finding meaning after they leave your lab and look at that experience, from a different angle. So, you know, this is a success story that happened after she had left and she came back to tell me about it.

So, you know, as I said, Every story, every experience that a student has, if they're able to use it to further their careers, that's a success for them. But yes, these two sort of stand out to me just because of the sheer excitement that these students had that you know, in an arena outside of Dr. Fernandez lab, this was meaningful to them. So,

Venkat Raman  24:48  

No, those are great. There's a great high impact. What did you call it? HIP? I love it. I love the acronym.

Venkat Raman  25:00  

One other angle that I really like to sort of understand is how we, you know, what difference is it making for these kids or students who come and go through undergraduate research? I mean, you know, if there was a before and after kind of thing with their skills or with the characteristics, abilities, what do you what do you think changes a lot, or changes or makes a difference?

Joyce F  25:25  [Impact on Students]

I think independence and confidence, I think that is what they get out of it. Because, you know, you see them coming in, as very, you know, they're bright eyed and bushy tailed, right? They are, they might not know what they're getting into a little apprehensive. But once they are done, you know, and you see this specially when students have been in your lab for a minimum of two years, you know, you can see what they have finished up with, because they are now able to write a proposal, they're able to read and discuss a scientific paper, they're able to present their work. You know, in a public forum, some of my students have accompanied me to conferences, and we have presented at conferences. So that is what you see the change that you see, I mean, I sell them know, what happens to them after they have left unless they get in touch with me and tell me like those stories I was telling you about. But But I think the before and after that we see, you know, research mentors see is, you know, the point that pre when the students come in, in the post when they're getting ready to leave the lab. So I would say confidence and independence is what I see the most.

Venkat Raman  26:42  

Got it. So you've been, you know, you started this office, and you've been doing it for a bunch of years. Now, you said six years. And

Joyce F  26:57  

I have been doing it for five years, the office actually I didn't start the office, the office was established. I'm the second director of the office, there was a need felt by our committee or Senate committee for undergraduate research, you know, who propose that we, that this happened that is we've had such a strong history of undergraduate research, so why not have an office dedicated to it? Which is, as I said, present and visible to students, because otherwise it was one person holed up in, you know, an administrative building that was doing all the administration. So I think we have become more visible now. And that is part of our charge is to raise awareness and make it visible, not only on campus, but beyond campus.

Venkat Raman  27:44  

No, I think that's, that's spot on, then. What do you what are you looking to do with it? What's next? I guess that's a question.

Joyce F  27:52  [What’s Next for UG Research at Miami U]

So what's next? Okay, um, I think you can always do better. Sure. And one of the things that are going on now, one of my favorite projects is to empower students to tell their research story. We, as research mentors fall into this place where we become not become we are nodes in our own discipline. And we tend to talk node with our students. And, you know, they are just graduating from an undergraduate experience, and they should be able to communicate with a wider audience. And so one of the things that I am engaged with right now is to help students tell their stories, research stories, to a more general audience, a more public audience, and to get others excited about the potential of the work, and why this work should be done. So I've been working with our University Communications, I've been working with our alumni engagement officers, or admissions officers or career services, and we've been kind of brainstorming about how we can use offices to provide students with the skills to tell the research stories to the common person.

Venkat Raman  29:20  

Which sort of is a nice segue to what do these high schoolers need to do research? I mean, what a freshman stepping on campus, what should they have, so that they can participate in research, undergraduate research.

Joyce F  29:37  [Advice for High Schoolers]

So I think they should have an open mind to explore what undergraduate research means and how it might be beneficial. I think number one, you know, disciplines at at college at the college level, those are generally something that students don't know much about. And so I think they need to know more about that. there is to know about what disciplines are available. And I think that is something that they should learn about is what are the different disciplines what is possible. And the fact that, you know, Kinesiology is a thing, Gerontology is a thing. So learning about these disciplines and being open to the experiences that they might be, they might they can be engaged in.

Venkat Raman  30:25  

Okay, so you don't think that in high school, they don't need to do anything new? Should they have done research? Or is that

Joyce F  30:33  

no, I don't think, no, I don't think they should have done research. Because again, it's something undergraduate research is something that they will experience on campus, which will be a different skill set. And so I think they, they don't need to prepare themselves in any way, just having an open mind to exploring college. That's the mindset that's needed.

Venkat Raman  30:58  

So we're going to start winding down. I thought, before we do that, if you have any closing thoughts on research for, you know, anything that you want to tell college freshmen or fellow mentors, fellow researchers, anything that you want to share.

Joyce F  31:16  [Closing Thoughts]

So to college freshmen, again, I would reiterate the point that it's time for explorations. So go find out about what's going on on campus, don't be afraid that you don't know about it. Because yes, you want to learn to my peers, I would say we need to attract students, not by giving them the details, but by talking to them about the significance of what we do, and speaking to them at their level and engaging them where they are at and to bring them along to where they hope they can get to.

Venkat Raman  31:52  

Cool. So, Joyce, thank you so much for taking the time. And talking about undergraduate research. I see a lot of passion in your voice, both for research and as well as for developmental biology are some variations of those. But I'm sure I would like to talk to you more in the future, but for right now, take care. Be safe. And thank you so much.

Joyce F  32:19  

Thank you for having me. This was a pleasure to do with you.

Venkat Raman  32:23  

Thank you Joyce. Bye bye.

--------------------

Venkat  32:30 

Hi again!

Hope you enjoyed our podcast with Prof Joyce Fernandes of Miami University Ohio, about Undergraduate Research.

Specifically, Prof. Fernandes covered:

  • How Research Impacted her;
  • Role of UG Research;
  • UG Research resources available to their students and faculty;
  • Student Success Stories;
  • Finally, advice to high schoolers.

I hope you pursue research during your undergraduate years and explore Miami University for your undergraduate studies.

For your questions or comments on this podcast, please email podcast at almamatters.io [podcast@almamatters.io].

Thank you all so much for listening to our podcast today.

Transcripts for this podcast and previous podcasts are on almamatters.io forward slash podcasts [almamatters.io/podcasts].

To stay connected with us, Subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or Spotify or visit anchor.fm forward slash almamatters [anchor.fm/almamatters] to check us out.

Till we meet again, take care and be safe.

Thank you!

Summary Keywords

Podcast for High Schoolers, College Majors, US Colleges, College Podcast, Undergraduate Research Podcast, UG Research Podcast, High School Students, College-bound UG Research, undergraduate research, Miami University, Ohio.


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