We want to truly enrich and transform our students’ lives. To help them succeed in a rapidly changing world, we must take education beyond the classroom. That’s why we work to make sure each of our students at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences experiences some sort of high-impact learning.
High-impact learning immerses you in hands-on experiences along with classwork. You work closely with diverse individuals, including faculty and peers. Some examples of high-impact learning practices are study abroad programs, honors programs, fieldwork, and undergraduate research. Such experiences offer frequent feedback on performance, allow you to apply what you learn in the classroom, and connect academics to professional development. High-impact learning deepens your commitment to a subject.
Of course, we wouldn’t be successful on our own. Each of our departments has its own efforts to boost high-impact learning, as does Texas A&M University.
Record numbers of our students are now engaged in undergraduate research, study-abroad, field work and internships:
- Students completed over 1,100 field experiences and internships in 2013
- 493 students participated in Study-abroad programs in 2013
- Undergraduate research programs had 588 student participate in 2013
Over the next years these numbers should increase even more, thanks to the hard work of educators and the students themselves.
Students tell us that high-impact learning experiences help them build amazing relationships, grow as leaders and teammates, and change their outlook on life. They also feel that these practices are crucial to advancing their professional careers.
They have plenty of opportunities to get involved. For instance, the summer research program in plant pathology and microbiology is funded by the National Science Foundation and the College. Students help develop next generation biofuels, create innovations that enhance sustainable agriculture, and work to ensure the integrity and safety of the global food and fiber supply. The students—a diverse bunch—actively participate in the scientific life of the department and university. Read more about this NSF-REU opportunity.
In entomology, the NSF-funded undergraduate research program has students dive into topics such as genetics, molecular biology and toxicology. They learn key techniques such as DNA sequencing, bioassays and scanning electron microscopy. The program has won awards for attracting students from underrepresented groups.
The Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics NSF-funded program lets students explore wide-ranging possibilities in structural biology, molecular genetics, genomics, enzymology or biophysics. Students participate in weekly meetings exploring the diversity of research opportunities in biochemistry and biophysics, learn to critically read research papers, discuss research ethics and to learn effective oral and written presentation skills. In addition, social activities are provided on weekends. Financial support includes a stipend, living expenses on campus and some assistance with travel expenses.
Read more about our students’ research projects! And check out our emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics topics.
Many of our students do internships with government labs, engineering firms, sports teams, and more. Some majors require internships. For example, undergraduates in the Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences must complete at least 400 hours of work related to their degree with an organization. RPTS students have interned with Southwest Airlines, the Dallas Cowboys, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Department of Defense and hundreds of other places.
Read more on the College page for internship opportunities.
Global outreach and research has always been a top priority for us. Our students participate in faculty-led study abroad programs, exchange programs, international conferences and international service projects.
A dedicated advisor on College staff and a peer advising team help students navigate study abroad experiences. We also provide need-based scholarships for our students.
On one trip, students traveled to a Guatemalan village in the summer of 2012 to work with local leaders and help local schools. They also built relationships that changed their outlook on life. Watch a slideshow of their trip on YouTube.
By serving their community, students grow as scholars, professionals and individuals.
Among many community service projects related to College academics is the The Howdy Farm. To experience agriculture hands-on, promote local food, and facilitate organic research, 350 students per semester are drawn to a piece of turf on campus. The student-organized and student-run farm provides locally grown, organic produce for students dining on campus. Among its goals is to create a more sustainable campus.
Find out more on the College page for community service opportunities.