In 2006, Anoka-Ramsey Community College biology faculty member, Dr. Paula Croonquist, set an example of how faculty can shatter stereotypes of community colleges by developing a one-of-a kind partnership with her alma mater, the University of Minnesota to provide an opportunity for Anoka-Ramsey biology students to gain real lab research experience with actual scientists.
“Since community college faculty are hired to teach, and not to conduct research, the Independent Research Summer Program—IRSP—provides the opportunity for Anoka-Ramsey students to experience cutting-edge scientific research and hopefully fuel their interest in the bioscience field.”
Established as a multidisciplinary initiative, the IRSP includes opportunities for research studies in molecular and cellular biology, genetics, developmental biology and microbiology among other fields.
The program consists of one week of research literature training and orientation conducted and supervised by Anoka-Ramsey faculty and ten weeks of part-time research under the guidance of a University of Minnesota faculty mentor from one of the above bioscience disciplines. Students earn three semester credits upon successful completion of their research project assessed by the presentation of a thesis research paper.
“This is hardcore biological research,” says Anoka-Ramsey graduate and program participant, Vitaliy Baranyuk, who will be entering the University of Minnesota this fall as a junior. “At first I wasn’t overly confident, but after a while I discovered joy in the thought that the work I was doing may actually contribute something to society.
This summer session, four Anoka-Ramsey students participated in the research program:
- Vitaliy Baranyuk studied with mentor Dr. Anindya Bagchi, affiliated with the University of Minnesota’s Masonic Cancer Center and the Department of Genetics, Cell and Development.
- Jaclyn Essig studied with mentor Dr. Jim McCarthy from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Laboratory, Medicine and Pathology.
- Kellie Fiedler studied with mentor Dr. Robin Wright affiliated with the University of Minnesota’s Department of Genetics, Cell and Development.
- Anastasiya Lavell studied with mentor Dr. David F. Garvin from the University of Minnesota’s Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics.
"About one-third of our graduates began their college educations at a community college and we recognize the strengths and talents of community colleges, especially in the area of innovative pedagogy,” says Robin Wright, University of Minnesota Associate Dean, College of Biological Sciences.
Applications for next summer will be accepted January – March, 2010.
Financial assistance may be available through the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Foundation Office or Financial Aid.
For more information on the Independent Research Summer Program, contact Paula Croonquist by telephone 763-433-1587 or email Paula Croonquist.