We have developed a flexible undergraduate curriculum that leverages the place-based research of environmental microbiomes to increase the number of Indigenous researchers in microbiology, data science and scientific computing. Monitoring Environmental Microbiomes (MEM) provides a curriculum and research framework designed to integrate an Indigenous approach when conducting authentic scientific research and to build interest and confidence at the undergraduate level. MEM has been successfully implemented as a short summer workshop to introduce computing practices in microbiome analysis. Based on self-assessed student knowledge of topics and skills, increased scientific confidence and interest in genomics careers were observed. We propose MEM be incorporated in a scalable course-based research experience for undergraduate institutions, including tribal colleges and universities, community colleges and other minority serving institutions. This coupled curricular and research framework explicitly considers cultural perspectives, access and equity to train a diverse future workforce that is more informed to engage in microbiome research and to translate microbiome science to benefit community and environmental health.

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