The first week for an intern is filled with learning about the project, the lab, the greenhouse, the field and the research team as a whole. For a laboratory-based internship, the summer usually starts with a lab tour and students must successfully complete a lab safety training course. During the remainder of the week students learn how to conduct DNA extractions, create standard solutions, use a spectrometer, dilute primers, amplify DNA using the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and run gel electrophoresis. Initially, for a field-based internship, students are given an orientation to this project, an overview of other research projects at the DB NRRC which involve field, greenhouse and laboratory activities, and complete the required safety training course for field and lab safety. Then the interns are introduced to the current activities being done as part of the project.
- Interns at Cornell are given a tour of Mann library and they learn to use the information resources, they are offered an overview of Dr. McCouch's research and they are invited to an intern BBQ at BTI. After the first week's introduction, interns are given specific research assignments, which they will work on for the next 6 weeks. Students attend a weekly Seminar at BTI, participate in lab discussions, learn about different aspects of rice research, present scientific findings and review relevant publications. They also learn the basics of plant genetics (understanding the concepts of genes, alleles, polymorphisms, and transposable elements), the basics of rice cultivation, and methods of recordkeeping and seed organization.
- Interns at the DB NRRC participate in bi-weekly lab meetings, work with full-time project personnel preparing seed for planting, take data on plants from the field, use the bar-code reader to take data on single plants and panicles; collect seed and brown rice data with the WinSEEDLE image analysis system; and assist with plant management throughout the plant growth cycle in the field and greenhouse.
For both programs, we require that interns give either an oral or a poster presentation as a part of their internship. This helps them to develop additional skills that are required of individuals pursuing a career in the life sciences. We also strive to keep science fun through a number of social functions that are scheduled each year to welcome interns into the community in Ithaca. At Stuttgart, all summer interns and student employees are welcomed at the DB NRRC employee team-building picnic filled with games and food in early June. Throughout the summer there were some special "lab lunches" and break get-to-gathers of all the laboratory personnel.