NSF Proposal - 9. Broader Impacts

Support of this proposal will have an impact on the infrastructure of education within the PIs institutions, communities and beyond. We will develop a Web site dedicated to extending awareness of green plant biology, diversity and genomics to the global scientific community and the general public. On this site we will provide a synopsis of current activities and make available a comprehensive morphological database, including images.

We remain committed to providing enriching and supportive educational experiences for undergraduate and graduate students. We stress teamwork and support a mentoring network for all members of our laboratories. We will seek additional funding for student participation through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program. To broaden the knowledge base and expertise, students and postdocs will be encouraged to rotate among research groups for extended periods of time. We are active participants in university and community programs to provide research and professional experiences for elementary, high school and undergraduate students. These activities are showcased in our biographical sketches and will be expanded upon in the proposed program. We will participate in existing summer programs for secondary school teachers and students that focus on the use of computer technology to address a range of biological problems, and that aim to increase awareness and understanding of biological issues.

The PIs have previously been involved in a number of initiatives that focus on facilitating and attracting underrepresented minorities to science disciplines, e.g., through public outreach activities. We have and will continue to actively increase the number of underrepresented minorities (African- Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics and the disabled) entering environmental biology disciplines. These include pending NSF proposals to the Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology program (enables minorities to attend Botanical Soc. America meetings) and the Persons with Disabilities Program (supports youths entering STEM-related disciplines). Moreover, the international component of our proposed program will provide resources and opportunities for students to explore collaborations with students and scientists from a diversity of cultures and backgrounds.

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