Description of the Plan of Study
Explain how this independent study will meet the standards of an honors-level course. Provide a comprehensive description of the topic or problem to be examined. Include a detailed outline describing work to be completed, such as research, field investigations, written assignments, online journaling, etc. Clearly indicate the topics, lengths, etc. of all assignments.
My experience in Dr. Franklin’s microbial ecology lab will primarily consist of testing water samples from the James River for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. After collection, I will be able to isolate and identify different species of bacteria, and subsequently determine how long each species is able to survive under modified conditions. Lastly, I will examine the implications of antibiotic-resistant bacterial species from a public health standpoint.
I will begin my work in Dr. Franklin’s lab on May 20 and will complete lab orientation and safety training the week of May 20 – 24. After this, I will be able to begin my project. Throughout the ten-week semester, while collecting water samples, testing for bacteria, and manipulating conditions required for bacterial growth, I will diligently maintain a lab notebook. In this, I will detail each day’s activity, the methods used, and relevant results. Although this notebook will be updated daily, I will submit it in two-week blocks (on June 3, June 17, July 1, July 15, and July 26).
Throughout the summer, I will attend Dr. Franklin’s weekly lab-wide meetings, and meet with her individually to discuss my progress every week. This will allow me to better understand the relevance and applications of my project, learn about other research being conducted in the lab, and ensure that my work is progressing well throughout the summer.
As a culmination of my project, I will submit a final lab report after ten weeks. This report will mimic the formal of a scientific research paper, and will include the following sections: abstract, introduction, methods & materials, results, discussion, and appendix. This final assignment will require me to reflect on the methods used for the experiment, organize the results that I obtained, and synthesize their implications. The paper will be submitted on July 26th.
Overall, I will complete 160 hours of dedicated work in Dr. Franklin’s lab, thoroughly record all observations in a lab notebook, and complete a final lab paper for this independent study. This will require me to diligently conduct a research experiment with “real-world” applications, meticulously keep track of the experiment for ten weeks, and finally reflect on the experience and my knowledge of microbiology to complete a formal research. The conscientious effort required for the project combined with the rigor and impact of researching antibiotic-resistant bacteria will ensure that my independent study challenges me as an honors-level course.
Evaluation Criteria: Provide a detailed breakdown of how assignments will be evaluated and what percentage of the final grade each assignment will comprise.
My final grade in this course will be comprised of the following: regularly attending lab and participating in my project, maintaining a lab notebook throughout the 10-week
course, and writing a final lab report detailing the background, methods, results, and implications of the experiment.
40% of my final grade will be based on participation (attending lab and performing necessary activities), 20% will be based on maintaining a detailed and up-to-date lab notebook, and 40% will be based on my final lab report.
My participation will be evaluated based on my total number of hours spent in lab as well as active participation throughout the course of the experiment. My lab notebook will be submitted in two-week increments throughout the summer (June 3, June 17, July 1, July 15, and July 26) and evaluated based on timely and regular updates, level of detail and precision, and inclusion of all relevant information. Lastly, my final paper will be assessed based on proper lab report formatting (including an abstract, introduction, methods, results, discussion, and appendix), the quality of scientific writing, and discussing the implications of my findings.
Scheduled Meeting Time(s): Indicate how often and how much time will be scheduled to meet with the instructor individually (e.g., MWF 11-11:50 a.m.).
In total, I will spend a minimum of 160 hours in Dr. Franklin’s lab within the 10- week course period. I anticipate spending approximately 20 hours per week in lab, allowing for lab work as well as lab-wide meetings, individual meetings with Dr. Franklin, and completing my assignments. I plan to attend Dr. Franklin’s weekly meetings (Thursdays at 10:00 AM), and will meet with her individually after these meetings to discuss the experiment as well as my progress (Thursdays 11:00 – 11:50 AM). Overall, I plan to spend time in Dr. Franklin’s lab from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM on weekdays from May 20 – July 26.