Special projects which may be used as Capstone Experience

Professional School Application

Students applying to the following graduate or professional programs: medicine, pharmacy, optometry, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physician assistant programs, occupational therapy, or physical therapy must complete the following items to fulfill the biology capstone requirement:

1. A full length (scored) practice exam for the profession they are seeking (GRE, MCAT, OAT, PCAT, DAT), and provide documentation to corroborate this

         OR

    An official professional school entrance examination with documentation that shows score

2. A final version of the personal statement to be used in the professional school application

3. A copy of the student’s current resume or curriculum vitae

4. A copy of the student’s shadowing journal from direct observation of the human/animal health professional related to the selected career with dates, hours, and contact information

5. A reflective writing piece about the graduate/professional school application process and how the biology coursework was connected to the preparation for graduate/professional school. 

Students must have an approved Capstone Contract completed with the Health Professions Advisor overseeing the experience and a copy of file with the Capstone Coordinator before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone.

Independent Research

     Must be arranged with and approved by biology faculty member willing to direct the research experience.  Faculty research interests are listed on the Biology Department webpage.  A student interested in this capstone experience should contact a faculty member and discuss the possibility of doing research with them.  Students do not have to be enrolled in a course to use faculty directed research as a capstone experience (RCSA grants, doing research with a faculty member, etc.).  However, to get course credit, students would have to enroll in BIO 4930, Individual StudyStudents must have an approved Capstone Contract completed with the faculty member overseeing the experience and a copy on file with the Capstone Coordinator before beginning and before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone.

Laboratory Assistant

     This experience must be arranged with and approved by a biology faculty member teaching a biology laboratory course.  A student interested in this capstone experience should contact a faculty member and discuss the possibility of assisting in their laboratory and what would be the expectations for the student.  If approved by the faculty member, the student will also have to enroll in BIO 4930, Individual Study In Biology, with that faculty member for 1 hour credit.  Students must have an approved Capstone Contract completed with the faculty member overseeing the laboratory course and provide a copy to the Capstone Coordinator before beginning and before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone. There are a very limited number of Laboratory Assistant positions available each semester and they are usually selected by the faculty teaching the course.

Supplemental Instructor

     Supplemental instructors are students who organize and lead sessions designed to enhance other students’ understanding of a course that is historically difficult.  They conduct several one-hour sessions a week.  Presently, the courses that are provided with a SI instructor are Biology 1 and 2, and Cell Biology.  Usually, the faculty teaching the course will have the supplemental instructor attend their classes and then conduct the supplemental sessions.  To be considered for an SI leader position for a particular course, the student must have a strong understanding of the course content and be able to articulate that understanding to others. SI leaders need to be able to work with groups and occasionally, with individual students. Strong computer skills are a plus as some SI sessions may be held online. Please contact Dr. Mel Vaughan ( Mvaughan4@uco.edu; Tel 974-5725) with questions related to the possibility of becoming a Supplemental Instructor in the Biology Department. Students must have an approved Capstone Contract completed with the faculty member overseeing the supplemental instruction and a copy on file with the Capstone Coordinator before beginning and before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone.  There are a very limited number of Supplemental Instructor positions available each semester and these are usually selected by the faculty teaching the courses.

Science Fair

     Each spring, the College of Mathematics and Science sponsors the Central Oklahoma Regional Science and Engineering Fair for high school and grade school students.  UCO Biology students may become involved with the Science Fair and use their significant involvement as a Capstone Experience.  For additional information please contact Dr. Elizabeth Allan (eallan@uco.edu, 405-974-5775).  Once a Science Fair capstone project is agreed upon with Dr. Allan, the student must complete a Capstone Contract with Dr. Allan who will oversee the project and a copy will be provided to the Capstone Coordinator before beginning and before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone.  There are a limited number of Science Fair experiences available.

Natural History Museum

     The UCO Natural History Museum is located in Howell Hall and contains over 44,000 specimens which are available for teaching, research and community outreach.  For additional information about the NHM see the link (http://biology.uco.edu/uconhm/index.html).  If a student is interested in a Capstone Experience related to the NHM, they should contact the collections manager Ms. Lynda Loucks (lloucks@uco.edu, 974-5794). Once a NHM capstone project is agreed upon, the student must complete a Capstone Contract with Ms. Loucks who will oversee the project and a copy will be provided to the Capstone Coordinator before beginning and before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone.  There are a very limited number of NHM experiences available each semester.

Selman Living Lab

     The Selman Living Laboratory is the official field research and teaching station of the Biology Department at UCO. It is located in Woodward County and is available for researchers and students from all majors to use.  For additional information about the SLL see the link (http://www.uco.edu/cms/sll/).  If a student is interested in a Capstone Experience related to the SLL, they should contact Dr. Rebecca Pace (rpace2@uco.edu,Tel 974-5973).  Once a SLL capstone project is agreed upon, the student must complete a Capstone Contract with Dr. Pace who will oversee the project and a copy will be provided to the Capstone Coordinator before beginning and before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone.  There are a limited number of SLL experiences available each semester.

Off-campus service learning partnerships

     The UCO Volunteer & Service Learning Center and the Biology Capstone Coordinator will assist students with arranging this option for the BIO 4840 Capstone experience.  It would require students to engage in a synthetic biology-related community service project with a community partner.  An approved Service Learning Contract must be in place before beginning and before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone.  This must be arranged with and approved by the UCO Service Learning Center and the Capstone Coordinator, and these partnerships are limited in number.  A criminal history background check might be required for some of these experiences. TRANSPORTATION ISSUES: Students engaging in a community service learning project will have to make arrangements for their own transportation to and from the project.  There are a limited number of Service Learning experiences available each semester.

On-campus service learning opportunities

     There are a few on-campus service learning opportunities and special projects for students.  For these to count for the BIO 4840 Capstone course they must have a synthetic biology content.  Contact the UCO Volunteer & Service Learning Center (405-974-2621 Volunteer@uco.edu) for ideas about on-campus service learning projects before discussing them with the Capstone Coordinator.  An approved Service Learning Contract (see link) must be in place before beginning and before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone.  This must be arranged with and approved by the UCO Service Learning Center and the Capstone Coordinator.  There are a limited number of Service Learning experiences available each semester.

Internships

   Students interested in using an internship to complete the BIO 4840 Capstone requirement should visit the Biology Department Internship website (http://biology.uco.edu/biopage/biointernships.htm) and contact the Biology Internship Chairperson listed on the site. The website has information on how to plan and enroll in an internship at UCO, and Internship opportunities.  To get college credit for an internship, students must have junior or senior standing (minimum of 60 hours completed, of which 12 hours must have been completed at UCO) and have completed the equivalent of the Biology Core Courses of the University of Central Oklahoma. The minimum GPA requirement is 2.75 in both Biology and overall course work. Students must be in good standing in all areas with the Biology Department.  An Internship Manual outlines the procedures for getting course credit for an internship. It is available in pdf form and can be downloaded here:  (http://biology.uco.edu/biopage/internman.PDF).  Students are encouraged to identify possible new internship sites related to what interests them.  A criminal history background check might be required for some internship experiences. TRANSPORTATION ISSUES: Students engaging in off-campus internships will have to make arrangements for their own transportation.  There are a limited number of Internship experiences available each semester.

Other Equivalent Experiences Approved by Capstone Coordinator

     There might be additional capstones experiences that could be used to satisfy the BIO 4840 Capstone course.  If a student has any additional ideas, they should discuss the possibility of these with the Capstone Coordinator.  If agreed upon, the student would then complete the Capstone Contract with the Capstone Coordinator before beginning and before the student will be allowed to enroll in BIO 4840 Capstone.