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DC3 Instructor Adds Research Opportunities for Students

Published June 15, 2020

Dr. Anthony Aragon, Associate Professor of Biology, is receiving training this summer, which will enable him to add genomic-research opportunities for the students he teaches at Dodge City Community College (DC3).

The program, which is called the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP), is a nationwide collaboration of more than 100 institutions that integrates active learning into the undergraduate curriculum through Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) centered in bioinformatics and genomics. It began in 2006.

“During the GEP training, I will be introduced to genomics research projects that can be incorporated into most of our biology courses including general biology, cell biology and genetics, and microbiology,” Aragon said.

The GEP currently has four different ongoing research projects, and they also provide curriculum materials, training, and technical support for these projects, Aragon said.

“With the GEP projects it will allow the students to participate in novel genomics research, which will enhance their critical thinking and communication skills,” he said “It will also introduce them to data analysis, bioinformatics and will lead to a better understanding of genomic concepts.”

According to the list of schools that currently participate in GEP programs, DC3 is only the second in the state of Kansas, Aragon said. However, the GEP program will be just one of three research opportunities for DC3 students. The other two existing research opportunities are the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and Bridges programs.

“Just like those other programs, the GEP will give them a chance to do research, which could lead to the chance to present their findings at national conferences, and they may also be included on publications,” he said.

Originally, Aragon said that his free GEP training was scheduled to be a three-day, face-to-face, workshop in July at Washington University in St. Louis. However, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been changed to a two-week online format at the end of June.

“I’m excited about Dr. Aragon’s work with the Genomics Education Partnership,” Dr. Jane Holwerda, DC3 Vice President of Academic Affairs, said. “I’m especially excited for his students who will have firsthand experiences with genetics-based research with an expert in genomics. Classroom and lab experiences like these can stimulate life-long passions and open doors to rewarding research careers in the sciences.”

By Lance Ziesch