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HHMI Long-term Ecological Monitoring (LEM) Equipment






(Short Term-Learning)

(Medium Term-Action)

(Long Term-Conditions)


Use of equipment and current technology employed by professionals and researchers in Ecology, Environmental Science, and Information Technology


Postdoctoral researcher in Information Technology


Peer and faculty mentors




1) GPS (Global Positioning System; Trimble GeoXT and accessories)—spatial data collection


2) Ruggedized handheld computers w/ GPS cards (Trimble Recons)—biological and spatial data collection


3) Server and related software--hosting web-based database for Long-term Ecological Monitoring (LEM) project data and information


4) Fondreist water quality monitoring station—remote data collection for stream monitoring


5) Digital Nikon camera—data collection


6) 15” Mac Book Pro—laptop—for downloading and processing data



Training of students by peer, postdoc, and faculty mentors in the use of equipment and technology


Summer on-campus research by undergraduate interns will reach more undergraduates through the contribution of information (and the development of research protocols/experiences) to existing Biology courses, EVS courses, and other courses in the W&J curriculum ( through the use of a dedicated server and website for data access—Web-based database for LEM project (WebLEM )


Training of students by peers, postdoc, and faculty mentors in the organization, construction, maintenance and querying of a large and complex database (spatial and biological data--WebLEM)


Training of students by peers, postdoc, and faculty mentors in the use of GPS and GIS (Geographical Information System) for relating spatial data to biological data—necessary for examining ecological processes




Number of students, faculty and projects utilizing equipment and technologies


Postdoc mentor and student mentees will set up and maintain WebLEM for field collected spatial and biological data


Mentoring experience for Postdoc through work with undergraduate researchers on WebLEM


WebLEM serves as a searchable database for faculty and students who will use the data for other research projects and in courses currently offered at W&J


WebLEM serves as a searchable database for faculty and students who will use the data for other research projects at other institutions doing similar research




Students will become competent in the use of the equipment for collecting and processing data in the field and then uploading the data to the WebLEM on a daily basis


Postdoc’s experience results in tenure-track teaching position after completion of postdoctoral experience


Students will be able to train peers and faculty in the use of current technology used in ecological studies


Knowledge of the appropriate use of technology will increase student acceptance rates into graduate programs and professional positions following graduation




Use and knowledge of advanced technology used in ecology will increase the probability of successful completion of graduate and professional programs/positions in Biology and other disciplines related to the LEM project

Through the use of technology all participants in the LEM project will have a greater understanding of science and the nature of biological and ecological research


Washington &Jefferson College On-campus Summer Student Research

Evaluation Questions for OUTCOMES

Possible Indicators/Measures

Possible Data Collection Methods and Information Sources

Rank/Priority (include brief rationale)

  1. Was the training on the use of the technology appropriate for student researchers, interns, and faculty?


  1. Does the training and use of technology contribute to our student’s understanding of ecological research and science.


  1. Will the use of this technology strengthen existing programs (and new) programs in the sciences and other disciplines at W&J?


  1. Will the training and use of technology make students more attractive to potential graduate and professional programs/employers?


  1. Students and faculty are able to successfully incorporate the use of technology into ecological (and related) research and coursework.


  1. Students and faculty can successfully train others in the use of the technology.


  1. Use of technology expands beyond use in the LEM project into other research projects and courses that address questions in ecology and environmental science


  1. Students using the technology do better in ecology and environmental science courses (and related courses)


  1. a) Continue to major in science

b) Graduate with science degree

             c) Pursue additional research experiences before    


             d) Expect to continue in research post-research


             e) Value summer research experience that includes technology training—satisfaction surveys (SURE)


  1. a) Pursue science and research-related activities after graduation, particularly through their job/education (post-graduation surveys—1, 5, and 10 years)

b) Pursue science and research-related activities five years after graduation, particularly through their job/education (post-graduation surveys—5 years)

c) Pursue science and research-related activities ten years after graduation, particularly through their job/education (post-graduation survey—10 years)


  1. a) Applied, received, and accepted academic faculty positions, including type of faculty positions (e.g. tenure-track)

       b) Employed in research or science jobs (e.g. academic

       research, industry, government, NGO’s, associations,

         and societies)

       d) Mentoring undergraduate students

       e) Earned honors and awards in research and



  1. Success in desired career track


  1. Successful mentoring and training by students/faculty of other students/faculty in the use the technology—peer mentoring and training


  1. Written evaluation of student research project which includes a metric for measuring student competency in using technology (GPS, GIS, and/or database management) through formal testing or presentation of the project results as a poster or oral presentation


  1. Using surveys to track the number of students and faculty using the technology and the WebLEM in their research and courses


  1. Tracking over time the individual and average grades for courses utilizing the technology and tracking Major Field Test in Biology scores in the ecology and evolution sections of the test


  1. a) Student Exit Questionnaire—for research and courses

b) Interview with student about the value of the experience and the use of technology and it importance in their research

c) Supervisor, Mentor , Summer Program Director, and Selector Feedback

d) Focus Group



  1. a) Tracking Questionnaire

b) Contacting Undergraduate Institution and Selector

c) Alumni search

d) National Surveys (NSF, AAMC, etc.)

e) Grants, honors, and awards

e) Publication searches

f) Citation Impact


  1. a) Tracking Questionnaire

b) Alumni search

c) Interview

d) Focus Group

e) Peer review through panels, awards, etc. gauging research and mentoring contributions


  1. a) Student, faculty, and administration surveys and


       b) Increase in support for undergraduate student

       research activities


  1. a) Tracking of number and quality of undergraduate student research  experiences at a given institution

       b) External awards/funding for undergraduate student

       c) Institutional funding for undergraduate research

       d) Faculty research grants


Information to answer questions 1, 2, and 3 should be relatively easy to answer since in-house and external surveys (SURE) can be administered to students/faculty immediately after, or during, their research/course experiences.  Question 4 will take time to answer and will require more long-term assessment through surveys of alumni.  These kinds of surveys often allow only limited analysis since the percentages of responses are often very low.