Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Biology (B.S.B.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Sue Ellen DeChenne-Peters


A course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) allows whole classrooms to participate in research. The students enrolled in a CURE ask a question, design an experiment, gather data, and analyze that data to discover an answer that was unknown to the student and instructor (Auchincloss et al., 2014). CURE’s provide an alternative totraditional labs which provide the student with the question, the experiment design, and the instructor knows the answer to the question. The benefits of a CURE include an increase in students’ persistence in science, content knowledge, analytical skills and career clarification (Corwin, Graham, and Dolan, 2015). The Wolbachia lab is part of an introductory biology course on the Armstrong and Liberty campuses of a regional university in the southeastern United States. The students enrolled in the lab analyze the bacterium Wolbachia which is parasitic and reduces the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases like Zika. We analyzed the increase of analytical skills and content knowledge among students enrolled in the course. The Wolbachia lab was compared to the characteristics of a CURE. We analyzed difference in learning through the normalized gains of underrepresented minorities, biology majors, and less-prepared students. Predictors of student learning were analyzed using a linear regression. We found a significant increase in content knowledge and analytical skills. There is a significant difference in analytical skills when students are split into groups based on pretest scores. First-generation status and self-efficacy significantly predict learning gains. These results are beneficial to the scientific community since they show that wanted outcomes are attainable without all the characteristics of a CURE.

Available for download on Thursday, October 30, 2025