October 19, 2015

What's in your backpack?

"Ritz crackers,” says Betsy Madole, ’15, a University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) biology major with a film studies minor. She’d never thought of snack crackers as an essential scientific tool—that is, until she studied the 13-lined ground squirrel.

Madole buried the crackers in the rodents’ bedding and observed their behavior, learning that hibernation probably doesn’t affect their sense of smell. Her curiosity piqued, she spent last summer studying other aspects of hibernation during Biology Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology (BURST), a new 10-week summer program funded by multiple donors. The program allows eight students to spend 40 hours a week doing intensive research with faculty mentors.

“I got the best of both worlds: working with animals and being in the lab,” says Madole, who’s applying for graduate programs in veterinary medicine. “Without BURST, I wouldn’t be as confident as a person or in what I’m doing with my life.”

Watch a short video about the BURST program at UMD:

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