Main Article Content
Students studying the biological sciences make up an increasingly large portion of college students, yet limited research exists on their cognitive development. To create a theory on their cognitive development, this article offers a literature review which covers the professional development of STEM students, Perry’s Scheme of cognitive development, and the development of students who participate in undergraduate research. Additional context about the college environment of the biological sciences has also been included, showing how women and students of color will experience the field differently than their white, male peers. The theory of cognitive development follows the same outline as the “Central Dogma” of genetics where cells complete transcription, translation, and sometimes reverse transcription. Following the same nomenclature, students follow transcription at first—simply regurgitating material. Then they move into translation, where they create their own knowledge, and then reverse transcription, where they apply their newly discovered knowledge to the field at large. This article argues that to help their students fully develop, professors should implement active learning techniques, work to retain women and students of color, and encourage undergraduate research for all.
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