Mississippi State University is a center of higher learning, where competitively-funded research is closely tied to the education of students and the public. As a new component of MS State, MGEL is dedicated to providing many learning opportunities for graduate, undergraduate, primary, and secondary students.
MGEL Director Daniel Peterson has long participated in various aspects of primary and secondary education. He has given talks at local elementary schools about science. Additionally, he has served as a judge in various local and regional science fairs.
MGEL has served as host to high school students from the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science (MSMS). These students conduct special research projects tailored to their interests and the needs of the lab. MGEL seeks to both continue and increase its collaborations with MSMS in the future.
We encourage motivated undergrads to pursue university-endorsed research projects, usually assisting a postdoc or grad student. Occasionally particularly adept, knowledgeable, and ambitious students take a lead role. While conducting graduate and postdoctoral work, MGEL Director, Daniel Peterson, supervised special research projects conducted by undergraduates Kevin Boehm (CO State), Deanne Tibbitts (UGA), Brian Gerwe (UGA), and Miguel Arias (UGA). Boehm and Tibbitts both were co-authors on papers (Peterson et al. 1997, 2002a) that utilized data from their research projects. Mr. Boehm is now an M.D., Ms. Tibbitts was an employee at Bresagen (a stem cell research company) and recently started graduate school at the Oregon Health Sciences Center, Mr. Gerwe is in graduate school at UGA, and Mr. Arias is attending graduate school at the National Cancer Institute.
Currently, Ben Bartlett, an MS State undergraduate is conducting research at MGEL. Ben has proven to be a fantastic worker and scientist. Mr. Bartlett will begin graduate school at MGEL in fall 2009.
In addition to providing opportunities for students here at Mississippi State University, we have also worked to provide research opportunities for students from small colleges and universities, most notably "historically black colleges and universities" (HBCUs) in Mississippi and other southern states. A description of our educational/outreach/research partnerships with HBCUs is discussed in detail on our Promoting Diversity webpage.
Dr. Daniel G. Peterson, MGEL Director, teaches two graduate courses in genomics (see Genomics Courses for details).
Because graduate students require a lot of time and support, it is important that faculty members be highly selective in whom they accept as graduate students. Graduate students should be viewed as future colleagues and current collaborators. They are the "life blood" of academic research, and as such, they should be exposed to as many aspects of academic life as possible. MGEL works hard to ensure that its graduate students lead their own 'cutting edge' research projects and acquire the knowledge they need to have successful careers in science and/or academia.