Date of this Version
The Marine and Aquatic Research Experience (MARE) is a student-generated, facultyguided not mandated, model for hands-on, team-based, environmental science research for undergraduates, of any class rank and any academic major. MARE is unique in many ways compared to traditional undergraduate research models. MARE was envisioned and established in the fall of 1998 as part of two Research-Based Learning (RBL) Critical Connection Courses (CCC) entitled Design of Inquiry in Science and Implementation of Inquiry in Science. The initial goal was to study the dynamic processes occurring in Winyah Bay, South Carolina. As we began to establish research directions, MARE members organized themselves into crews to allow collaboration between members with similar research interests. Currently, there are 28 members in MARE, composing five crews. As students involved in MARE since the beginning, we have witnessed the evolution of the team as a whole. We felt it was time for us to take a step back and critically examine ourselves. We have formulated a list of the benefits and challenges of working in a team doing scientific research as undergraduates. Following our presentation on student-driven team-based research, there was a roundtable discussion focusing on three main issues: how MARE is funded, what the personal benefits of team-based research are, and what are the roles of the individual members. Overall, we came to the conclusion that team-based research is possible and rewarding due to the unique research and learning opportunities it provides students. The rewards of this experience directly reflect the ideals of Critical Connection Courses and Research-Based Learning, illustrating the possibilities of these educational innovations.