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Blog post by Marianne Cabanel

Blog Post about Our Freshman Seminar

University of California, Davis offers a Freshman Seminar class that introduces students to the world of biotechnical science by mimicking what is performed in a research lab. However, it is not just a simple seminar class—it is a lab in which we have the opportunity to practice skills through hands-on experiences. More importantly, these skills can be applied to real life. The research that we do in this class involves the nectar microbiome, and how bacteria can influence the pollination of the plants.

Out of all of the activities that we have learned in class, gel electrophoresis was the process that I favored doing. This part of the research stuck with me more because I learned about gel electrophoresis in high school. Since I already had a background from high school, it was nice to see what I learned put to use. However, not only was I able to see it applied in real life, but employing gel electrophoresis myself also helped me to understand its application in the scope of our research. The process of gel electrophoresis was also further reinforced due to the fact that we got to do it multiple times.

I am always excited to participate in this class because of the hands-on experiences that my classmates and I get to participate in. Not only are the students learning along the way, but so do the teachers. So, our class collectively goes through the “ups and downs” of research together. We are free to collaborate and bounce ideas off of one another, especially when we are unsure on how to approach the next step in our research. All of these factors are what drew me to this class. I had no formal research experience prior to this, which is why I enjoy this class very much. It has proved to be a very beneficial and informative class.

David Coil

David Coil is a Project Scientist in the lab of Jonathan Eisen at UC Davis. David works at the intersection between research, education, and outreach in the areas of the microbiology of the built environment, microbial ecology, and bacterial genomics. Twitter

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