Protein biomanufacturing processes, phytoplankton populations in the Great Bay Estuary, bioinformatics and molecular genetics were the topics of research presented by NH community college students at a July conference sponsored by the New Hampshire IDeA Network of Biological Research Excellence (NH INBRE). For the past year, community college students have been conducting research alongside instructors and students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering and other institutions as part of a program designed to enhance the science training of NH’s future workforce.
This year, students from Great Bay CC in Portsmouth and River Valley CC in Claremont participated in the program, which enables talented students with an interest in science to work with leading research institutions in New Hampshire in experiences that take them far beyond the classroom.
“NH-INBRE gave me an opportunity to study at Dartmouth, one of the world’s leading research institutions, along with students from across the country,” noted Mike Fullerton of Newmarket, a 2012 graduate of Great Bay’s Biotechnology program. “It was a great experience and I enjoyed the collaborations with other faculty and students doing bioinformatics-based research.”
“Participating in research brings students a greater understanding of science; how it is done, why it is done,” noted Jo-Ann Clifford, a participating instructor from River Valley. “The experience showed students what a future in science-based careers can be like, and helped them hone key critical thinking skills and an understanding of how science impacts the world around us.”
Other participating institutions include Colby Sawyer College, Franklin Pierce University, Keene State College, New England College, Plymouth State University and Saint Anselm College. Dartmouth and the University of New Hampshire are the lead institutions for NH INBRE.
In May, the Community College System of NH made a joint commitment along with the University System of NH to double the number of students graduating from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs in order to fill the “skills gap” in the state and prepare more NH students for STEM-based careers. The NH INBRE program aligns with the systems’ commitment and leverages relationships with other educational partners like Dartmouth and the other participating NH INBRE institutions.