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."
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