Undergraduate Research as a Bridge for College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Recruiting
Gwinn, K. D., J. Logan, A. Vanderpool, S. J. Domingo, and C. A. Beyl.  2015.  Phytopathology, 105(Suppl. 4):S4.55 Annual Meeting, American Phytopathological Society. Pasadena, Ca. Aug 1-5, 2015.

Students who participate in undergraduate research programs become part of a learning community and often make career choices based on that experience. The aim of the BRIDGE program at The University of Tennessee (UT) and Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) was to provide opportunities for undergraduate research based in the USDA-NIFA Priority Areas Faculty in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) supervised research projects for six interns from LMU. The two students who have completed the undergraduate program at LMU have pursued MS degrees in Entomology or Plant Pathology. Three students will graduate in May 2015; at least one intends to go to graduate school. Seventeen projects were sponsored for UT students. Most projects were categorized as Sustainable Energy (42%); fewest projects focused on Childhood Obesity (10%). The remaining projects were equally divided among the remaining three priorities (16% each). Most students were majors from colleges of Arts and Sciences (A&S) (58%) or Engineering (30%). The majority of mentors have appointments in CASNR (53%) or A&S (35%). Of the students who responded to interview requests, all who have graduated are working or are in graduate school in an agriculture or natural resource research area and indicated that undergraduate research shaped their career choices. Career plans for recent graduates were split among careers in sustainable energy, professional schools, and science education.