Undergraduate Education

BEACON is engaged in undergraduate education across different fronts include contributing to guidelines for undergraduate biology courses that meet current reform efforts. In addition BEACON offers many opportunities for undergraduates to get involved in ongoing research, in the summer or during the academic year, in the field or in the lab.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The BEACON Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) provides funding for undergraduates to join a research lab at Michigan State University or at one our partner field stations and pursue a cross-disciplinary research. Contact Judi Brown Clarke if interested (email: jbc@egr.msu.edu telephone: 517-353-5985)


Introductory Biology for Non-life Science STEM Majors: Using cases and Avida-ED to teach evolution.

As part of the Biology Initiative at Michigan State University BEACON is involved in the development of an introductory biology course designed to expose non-biology STEM majors to the core ideas in biology – information flow, structure-function, transformation of energy and matter, and systems – within an evolutionary framework that incorporates scientific practices.

Avida-ED is a digital evolution educational software environment designed for teaching and learning about evolution and the nature of science in undergraduate biology courses. Additional information on Avida-ED can be found here: Avida-ED

University of Washington Improving Undergraduate STEM Education

Course Based Research Experiences for Undergraduates (CUREs) are in development at the University of Washington.  During the first part of the year long series students design an experiment, perform serial transfers of cultures in the environment they design, perform fitness assays, and communicate their results to peers. During the second part of the year long series students analyze their evolved products from the first part of the course to better understand the molecular machinery of the evolution of antibiotic resistance.

Undergraduate Upper-level Evolution

Also part of the Biology Initiative at Michigan State University BEACON is involved in developing a set of learning outcomes for upper-level evolution courses. Once complete these will be shared with both the education and evolution communities.

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