What We’re About

As a member of the Genetics Crew, you’ll focus on investigating the conservation genetics of wild plant and animal species and using DNA barcoding approaches to study plant, animal, and microbial communities. Studying genetics, ecology, and evolution provides a terrific framework for channeling your curiosity about biological conservation, molecular biology, and natural history to address innovative questions relating to the evolutionary adaptation, and how wild plant and animal populations may respond to ongoing shifts in climate and land use. 

My work on Genetics Crew fits into my future plans in various ways. The experience prepared me well for my future endeavors. As I plan to serve life as a physician, I developed a sense of dependability, maintaining a balanced workload, and the ability to learn from mistakes. In addition, I not only learned organizational and leadership skills I believe will help me in my medical career, but it also boosted my confidence in making decisions. Finally, the people I have met and worked with have enriched my social life which made my life at WWC more fun and productive.

Paddington Mbumbgwa

I love being on the Genetics Research Crew because I get to gain practical lab skills and learn through repetition, while contributing to real-world studies. Doing “real science” is such an amazing experience as an undergrad, and I really appreciate the sense of community and support within my crew, while still having that outside push to attain a high standard of work.

Grace Dougherty

What You’ll Learn

You’ll spend years working alongside your peers with the mentorship of your supervisors.  Part of the experience of work at Warren Wilson is guided critical reflection, which helps ensure that you achieve both your own educational goals as well as our Common Learning Outcomes. These intentional learning outcomes distinguish our Work Program, giving it focus and relevancy that set it apart from a federal work-study or your average part-time job. 

Our Common Learning Outcomes:

  • Professionalism & Work Ethic: accountability, effective work habits, punctuality, dependability, time management, integrity, and commitment to the well-being of the community.
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: working with available resources to creatively address issues and solve problems, and gaining confidence to make decisions.
  • Communication: the ability to convey and receive information effectively with intentionality, honesty, and confidence in both speech and writing.
  • Collaboration & Teamwork: actively collaborate with peers to achieve common goals, Distribute labor fairly, and hold each other accountable as committed members of a group.
  • Civic Identity: understanding your active influence within the community and how your decisions directly impact the work around you.

In addition to our Common Learning Outcomes, each crew in the Work Program identifies crew-specific goals for learning and performance. These are reviewed with you each semester. Your crew-specific learning goals outline skills and abilities your supervisor will teach you during the semester. 

Members of the Genetics Crew work 8-12 hours per week on projects focused on population structure, evolutionary history, global change biology, and conservation genetics. Student crew members will also be involved in multiple aspects of the lab’s research program, from experimental design to data analysis. Students will regularly consult with Dr. Alisa Hove on a plan to enhance their professional growth and meet their future career goals.

Some of the many learning opportunities on the Genetics Crew include:

  • High quality lab research experience in DNA extraction, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and bioinformatic analyses
  • Some opportunities for field work in the College Forest, as well as surrounding areas including Pisgah National Forest
  • Collaboration with researchers at neighboring universities and organizations
  • One-on-one and group mentoring from active research and teaching faculty
  • Training in cutting-edge research techniques and modern instrumentation, and other relevant professional skills
  • Travel to regional conferences to meet with other student researchers and scientists in the southeastern USA