Student labeling samples biotechnology lab

FLCC is the lead institution of a national network of community colleges committed to STEM education reform through student engagement in undergraduate research experiences. The National Science Foundation has funded more than $5.7million in grants to FLCC to support the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative.

How it Works

When you study the sciences at FLCC, you'll work on case studies and see how concepts become reality in the context of a research project. Typically, the students who get involved with CCURI research do so in Conservation and Biology courses.

The CCURI Model


Traditional cookbook laboratory activities have been replaced by activities that expose students to contemporary research methods. CCURI develops a series of case studies that instructors can use in freshman science classrooms. The cases are designed to promote a deep understanding of the process of science, while also exposing students to ongoing CCURI projects. The first year experience in the CCURI model is designed to expose students to the research and engage them in a path toward a STEM career.


After engaging students in the research questions, they are given the opportunity to explore those questions in greater depth. There is no application process to engage is this research. Students who embark on certain degree paths will conduct research as a part of their regular coursework.


The third component of the CCURI model involves connecting community college faculty and students to the research community. CCURI's collaboration with the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) has been a critical component of this part of the CCURI model. Networking gives faculty opportunities to engage in novel research questions. For students, this means making connections to the transfer pipeline so that they can continue their pursuit of a STEM degree.

What Research Looks Like

One excellent example of research is the black bear management project lead by Professor John VanNiel. Students conduct health tests on bears, check in on the cub population, and use camera traps to observe patterns of behavior and emergence from dens.


  • CURE (Course Undergraduate Research Experience): Research is designed to be a part of a single course.
  • PURE (Program Undergraduate Research Experience): Research can be part of multiple courses within a degree program.

Another rare opportunity you can take advantage of at FLCC is submitting your research findings to SATURN (Science Technology Undergraduate Research Notes), a journal that accepts work from community college students.

FLCC students exploring tropical coral reef

FLCC students can engage in real research from day one. Their classrooms are the fields and streams of the Finger Lakes region where their education comes to life.

See Where CCURI Can Take You


James Hewlett
Professor of Biology
Executive Director & Principal Investigator, CCURI
(585) 785-1325