FWS project creates multiple opportunities for students to broaden their involvement in research, for other disciplines to participate and build multidimensional initiative, and for college to become integrated under one common subject tapping the potential of all.
Individual Student Research
A total of 17 MVC FWS students conducted individual research during the length of the project, 2015-2018. The combined data from the individual research projects have been presented at conferences. In addition, the project initiated a partnership that was established between the MVC Student Employment Office and Student Financial Services that resulted in hiring two research students under the Federal Work Study program during the 2016-17 academic year. This collaboration is ongoing and will continue as a means for providing financial support, STEM work experience, and continuing individual undergraduate research projects for MVC students.
Integration with Other Disciplines
FWS incorporates a multidisciplinary approach to its undergraduate research. PI Joanna Werner-Fraczek, Ph.D. conducted a workshop on research-based learning to the MVC faculty during the college's faculty professional development, FLEX Days, in fall 2016. This generated interest in math, geography, computer science, Spanish and anthropology faculty who became interested in collaborating with the FWS project. Future projects have been developed, including engaging math students in statistical analysis in swallow's preferences for nest locations, and other projects detailed in this proposal. Spanish students already studied the symbolism of swallows in Latin literature and music. In spring 2018, anthropology students will study the presence and importance of swallows in Native American culture.
FWS sponsored three MVC Annual Swallow Day events. The 2017 Swallow Day included research poster presentations from science students participating in the project, and from Spanish students who presented posters on the importance of swallows in the Latin culture. The presentations were accompanied by Latin music included lyrics about swallows in relation to Latin culture. The purpose of the Annual Swallow Day was to increase college and community interest in swallows, increase awareness of our local swallow colonies, and initiate curiosity about how the continuing urbanization of our region impacts local swallow populations. The event also included student presentations and science seminar delivered by the guest speaker Nicolas Peterson from the California Wildlife Department. Nicolas Peterson discussed his agency's efforts to protect various wildlife species in the Riverside Region. More than 150 students and faculty members attended the event. In spring 2018 TED Talks speaker, Joseph Kerski, deliver a webinar on the role of GIS in today's world: Geotechnologies Essential for Learning, Vital for the Planet.
Collaboration with MVC's Library created a Swallow Literature Collection in 2016. The collection was expanded in 2017 to include publications related to the molecular biology research (DNA barcoding and primer designs.) Part of the research project in BIO-11H during spring 2017 included students establishing networks with researchers in the area to collect literature that enhanced the library collection.
Student research results (posters and flyers) have been presented to the college community on the display boards located in the Science and Technology building, and Honors launch.
Students and PI Werner-Fraczek presented the scientific results of the FWS project to the Riverside Community College District Board of Trustees three times over the course of the project. Twice the college website featured the "Who lives Here" slide shows that compiled selected photographs from the student-conducted camera trapping project.
The MVC community has been constantly updated on the developments and successes of the FWS project by media releases and college website.
Student Involvement in Community Projects and Initiatives
USDA Native Plant Protection Project fieldwork team
Besides coursework assignments, students participating in the FWS project have multiple opportunities to visit and be involved in other initiatives. Since the beginning of the FWS project MVC students participated in:
- Urban Tree Project
- Global Bird Count Project
- UCR Botanical Gardens visits
- San Bernardino County Museum visits (Photos)
- MVC's Swallow Club
- Swallow Day Events
- USDA Protection of Tricolor Winged Blackbird Habitat
- USDA Native Plant Protection Project
The ultimate goal of FWS is to increase enrollment, retention, completion and transfer rates of students in STEM disciplines by engaging them in meaningful undergraduate research experiences. As such, FWS has actively conducted outreach to families and youth in Moreno Valley to educate them about STEM education and career opportunities, and disseminate the exciting research MVC students are conducting with the project. The Press Enterprise, the local newspaper for western Riverside County, published two articles featuring the project. Articles appeared both in print and in online outlets for the paper, which has a daily circulation of approximately 92,000. The project has its presence on the college website. The FWS has a permanent booth at the Welcome College Day, and the Senior Days organized by MVC for local high school students.
PI Werner-Fraczek visited Arizona Middle School in May 2017 where swallows also nest on school buildings. She spoke with students about the birds and about the MVC efforts to protect the swallows by studying about them. The visit concluded with a student walk to map nests.
In March 2017, PI Werner-Fraczek delivered a presentation about the research-based learning taking place at MVC under the FWS project to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) field office in Riverside, CA. The presentation explained how MVC's collaboration with the Western Riverside County Region California Department of Fish and Wildlife has been strengthened by BIO-12 students participating in two projects. Students participated in Protection of Tricolor Winged Blackbird Habitat by planting rose bushes in the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. They also participated in the Native Plant Protection project by weeding designated plots in the Jurupa Park. The USDA recognized MVC's students by publishing an acknowledgment in the field office's monthly bulletin.