What is the strategy?
Undergraduate students in a mid- or upper-level biology course are tasked with identifying a research laboratory in the United States that has an active, federally funded research project using the NSF Award search website. Once they identify a laboratory with a funded project, the student must conduct research to understand the proposed research well-enough to present an elevator speech as though they are an undergraduate researcher in the lab. Elevator speeches have received considerable attention lately, with several scientific organizations (e.g., ASCB) providing international competitions for ‘best elevator speech’. Variants on the ‘Elevator Speech’ include the Three Minute Thesis (3MT), which seeks to encourage graduate and undergraduate researchers to distill their thesis or dissertation projects into an approachable, short format talk for a broad, non-scientific audience. George Mason University has recently begun participating the Science Slam event, which although is not short-format, is a competition to present research in an interesting way to a non-scientifically trained public.