Great Basin College Pipeline Program
Great Basin College offers a Biomedical Sciences Recruitment workshop at the Elko and Pahrump campuses of Great Basin College. The goal of this workshop is to encourage rural students to attend college in the sciences. We will recruit rural first-generation potential college students with a focus on Native Americans a year before they are eligible for the Biomedical Students Pipeline. This population faces challenges in science education common to rural areas (including budgetary concerns in small schools and difficulty in finding highly qualified teachers), low college attendance rates, and Native American issues that contribute to underrepresentation at universities. The Biomedical Sciences Recruitment workshop will encourage the students to continue to take science classes in their senior year of high school and excite them about attending college (be it a four-year institution or a rural community college such as Great Basin College) by exposing them to advanced experiments. The workshop will also direct them into the Biomedical Students Pipeline.
Recent Workshop Topics
- Detection of arsenic. Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AA) will be used to detect small amounts of arsenic in drinking water and other biologically relevant samples.
- Organic synthesis of vanillin. This common flavoring agent will be synthesized easily from eugenol (the aromatic ingredient in cloves).
- Determination of carbon monoxide saturation in blood. Carbon monoxide (CO) bound to hemoglobin is easily differentiated from oxygen bound to hemoglobin by spectrophotometery.
- Identification of polymorphs. Students will isolate their own DNA from cheek cells and analyze their genomes for a common polymorphism such as those found in the Alu family of transposons.
The workshop located in Elko will be one week long enrolling 12 students modeled on the successful Biomedical Students Pipeline Program. It will consist of advanced experiments on the interface between biology and chemistry, use instrumentation, and have a concentration in the biomedical sciences.
Additionally, there will be round table discussions on success in college (especially science and math courses), and a field trip to a research or environmental analytical lab. Curricular emphasis will be placed on learning to think through challenging inquiry experiments, learning something new, and on peer-led or peer-oriented discussions about college.
Upon completion of the program students will be encouraged to apply for the Biomedical Student Pipeline Program the following summer (after the 12th grade). We will recruit two successful graduates per year to return to be paid peer mentors after they have completed a year in college science and math classes.
Pahrump/Nye County Workshop
Expansion to the campus center in Pahrump (rural Nye County, the southernmost county in the Great Basin College service area) will occur in the second year with one instructor and six students. The curriculum here will be similar, but the selection of experiments will differ from those in Elko based on the resources on the Pahrump campus. Two faculty members will be needed to teach the workshop in Elko. One faculty member will work 15 days each year, the other faculty member will work 10 days. This includes preparation for the workshop. Site coordination and recruitment will be accomplished by hiring a part-time person. Extensive long-distance travel needed in recruitment dictates that this position cannot be held by a full-time faculty member. Additionally, a liaison to Native American communities in Northern Nevada (already employed by Great Basin College) will take part in trips to communities such as Owyhee and Duckwater.