AMES, IOWA (June 17, 2020)  When microbiology students lost internships due to COVID-19, one professor provided an alternative internship and microbiology students signed up for the opportunity.

The internship involves cataloging topics presented in "This Week in Microbiology" an American Society for Microbiology podcast. The podcast features microbiologists discussing current research that relates to everyday life. The students listen to the podcast and categorize timely topics that faculty nationwide can use in classrooms.

Martin Leyhe, a senior in microbiology from Davenport, IA, was supposed to conduct research with Yuba Kandel, an Iowa State University associate scientist in plant pathology and microbiology. He was looking forward to doing lab and field research on soybeans. Instead, he had to return home to Indianapolis and is working at Fort Harrison Indiana State Park and helping catalog the podcast.

"I'm a big fan of podcasts and I'm excited to help share this one with other students," Leyhe said.

Nancy Boury, a plant pathology and microbiology assistant professor, knew faculty could use a resource that tracked topics presented in the podcast.

"I decided to host a digital internship for students to annotate the podcast for easier use by faculty," Boury said.

Boury said she's hoping this project will make it easier for faculty to find topics for classroom use. Faculty use the podcasts in class assignments to relate microbiology issues to everyday life.

"One goal is to provide detailed information about several episodes, so faculty can craft assignments and connect students to current research and discoveries," Boury said. "This is also important because we're in the middle of a pandemic and we can appreciate more than ever that microbiology is part of everyone's life."

About Iowa State

At Iowa State University, students don't get just an average college experience. They get an adventure. After all, we offer students a challenging, career-oriented academic setting paired with a welcoming campus environment. And above all else, we encourage our students to achieve and we provide the support they need to do just that.

Iowa State University is one of the nation's most student-centered public-research universities and is recognized among the top 50 public universities in the nation by US News and World Report. With hundreds of student clubs and organizations, thousands of internship and co-op opportunities, and more than 80 learning communities, the university offers a student experience rich in academic and social diversity. Students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries choose to come to Ames, Iowa, to study with world-class scholars and hone their leadership skills.

Part of what makes Iowa State such a special place for our students to learn and grow is the uniqueness of the faculty and staff who work here. Our faculty and staff have established a leading-edge reputation among peers for innovative interdisciplinary academic programs, an ever-expanding learning community program, and entrepreneurial experiences for students.

Plus, Ames has been recognized as the second-best college town with a population under 250,000. And did we mention we've also been voted one of the top 10 best places to live in America? So it's no wonder why our students love it here.

At Iowa State, students will find 100 majors, 800 clubs, and one amazing adventure.

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