Science Education Alliance

The Science Education Alliance (SEA) works with faculty members from more than 100 colleges and universities around the country to engage thousands of undergraduate students each year in authentic scientific discovery early in their academic careers.

Join the SEA

To join the program and begin offering the SEA-PHAGES course in the 2020-2021 academic year, apply early and by Oct 31, 2019.

The Science Education Alliance (SEA) provides faculty members at colleges and universities with opportunities to engage students in research-based curricula early in their academic careers. By doing so, SEA teaches students how to approach scientific problems creatively and critically and prepares them for advanced research opportunities later in their academic careers.

SEA advances science education on a national scale by supporting faculty members in implementing course-based research experiences at their institutions. This practice establishes cohorts of students, educators, and institutions that are connected and have the ability to collaborate nationally.

SEA currently is offering colleges and universities the opportunity to participate in the Phage Hunters Advancing Genomic and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) project, which is a national research-based laboratory course aimed at early-career science students. Students from participating colleges and universities isolate and characterize bacteriophages from local environments, annotate the phage genomes, and submit the annotated sequences to the National Center for Biotechnology Information GenBank database. As a capstone experience, student and faculty representatives from participating schools attend the SEA Symposium, a scientific meeting at which students and their peers share and discuss their discoveries. In the 2017-2018 academic year, more than 5,500 primarily first-year students from 118 different colleges and universities took part. The SEA-PHAGES project has generated approximately 100 publications to date.

Students acquire early, meaningful research experiences that make them feel a part of the scientific community. They are more productive, competitive, and prepared for advanced research opportunities and graduate school later in their undergraduate careers.

For example, the PHAGES course provides students with

an Opportunity for Critical Thinking, via

  • data analysis and interpretation
  • experimental design
  • reading and analysis of primary literature
  • understanding applications of mathematical modeling in problem solving

an Introduction to Scientific Skills and Techniques, including

  • aseptic technique
  • microbiology
  • molecular biology
  • microscopy
  • DNA sequencing
  • genome annotation
  • comparative and functional genomics

an Opportunity for Professional Development, via

  • effective presentation of research
  • networking with other SEA participants
  • dissemination of research findings, including co-authorship on submission to genome databases and peer-reviewed publications – see links in right rail.

The SEA-PHAGES course is open to all colleges and universities. Selection is primarily based on the readiness and commitment of the applying institution to offer and sustain the course beyond the first year.

Applications to join SEA and offer the SEA-PHAGES course are solicited the fall prior to each academic year.

For more information, see the application materials in the Downloads box.

A list of colleges and universities that are members of the SEA-PHAGES project can be viewed at the SEA-PHAGES programmatic page.

View the list of institutions

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