I-Discover undergraduate and graduate scholars will conduct USDA-related research with selected mentors in the Department of Chemistry
Faculty Mentor and Student Guide
During the first year, each I-Discover Scholar will be assigned a faculty mentor and an upper division student guide in their area of interest. The faculty mentor will meet with their I-Discover Scholar weekly in the first year to jointly construct a Professional Development Plan, provide a description of what the scholar should expect, and give suggestions on how to avoid common pitfalls. The student mentor will interact with the I-Discover Scholar through the second year of studies, by which time the scholar should be well connected with more advanced students who can provide advice, mentoring, and support for academic progress. The mentor will assist the I-Discover Scholar in finding USDA summer internships after the scholar has been in the program at least six months.
I-Discover Scholars will conduct research related to USDA priorities.
Research and Scientific Conferences
In their first year, I-Discover Scholars will attend the annual UTSA College of Sciences Research Conference as observers to interact with poster presenters. In their second year, the I-Discover Scholars who participated in research will present a poster at both the UTSA College of Sciences Research Conference and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference. In the third and fourth years, I-Discover Scholars will present posters at the UTSA College of Sciences Research Conference and at regional or national conferences in the student's discipline of interest.
I-Discover Scholars will be strongly encouraged to apply for summer internships in USDA laboratories. These internships will provide scholars with the inside track to future USDA jobs or collaborations with USDA researchers.
A weekly study group will be organized to review literature relevant to USDA research projects. Each I-Discover Scholar will be required to summarize a recent research paper on a biweekly basis. The I-Discover program will organize monthly gatherings to foster scholar communication and interaction. Scientists from local corporations, research institutions, and UTSA Biology, Chemistry, and Physics faculty will be invited to discuss trans-disciplinary research relevant to the USDA. The goals of these meetings are to: 1) increase the awareness of I-Discover Scholars to agricultural scientific work and 2) enhance the awareness of other science faculty to agricultural science relevant to their areas of expertise. The UTSA I-Discover program seeks to increase the number of faculty conducting USDA related research and training I-Discover Scholars each year.
Professional Development Workshops
I-Discover Scholars will participate in professional development workshops offered by the RISE and MARC-U*STAR programs. These ongoing professional development, scientific communication, grant writing, and leadership workshops provide enrichment activities that promote the scientific and social skills needed for science careers and increase awareness of the competencies expected of practicing scientists.