Plenty of Iowa students are in summer school right now but you don’t usually hear about professors doing so. The University of Iowa is hosting faculty members from seven other Iowa colleges this summer as part of a new program called FUTURE. Madeline Shea, directs the FUTURE project and is a U-I professor of biochemistry.
"FUTURE stands for Fostering Undergraduate Talent Uniting Research and Education," Shea says. "Our goal is to develop closer collaborations with our academic colleagues throughout the state, particularly those at primarily undergraduate institutions."
She says the initiative aims to build a network of scientists and science educators in Iowa while strengthening biomedical research in the state. Shea says the seven visiting faculty members are nearing the end of their two-month stays in Iowa City through the FUTURE program.
"As far as I know, at least in the College of Medicine, this is the first project of its kind," Shea says. "We’ve certainly had people come and do a sabbatical with us. I’ve had faculty from other universities come and do that during the academic year but this is like a mini-sabbatical of two very solid months of research and learning about our programs here, getting to use our core research facilities, using instrumentation that might not be on their own campus."
Of the seven faculty members, five brought along undergrads from their colleges to take part in the extensive bio-med research projects. FUTURE aims to inspire undergrads at every college in Iowa, Shea says, to consider biomedical research careers. She’d like to see students and faculty from every Iowa college taking part in the effort.
Shea says, "Many students don’t know what’s available to them and they don’t realize that right here in the state of Iowa are excellent opportunities to do things, to literally save mankind and to reduce our health care costs in the future and to bring better health care to the citizens of Iowa."
Participants in FUTURE this summer are from: Northwestern College in Orange City, Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Luther College in Decorah, Drake University in Des Moines, St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Graceland University in Lamoni and Loras College in Dubuque.