Support from the Growmark Foundation enhances hands-on learning for students

Microbiology Lab
Dr. Krista Hardyman works with a student in the laboratory on campus. Thanks to the lab kits, students at home were able to complete the same labs.

Dr. Krista Hardyman, associate professor of animal science at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, was awarded $1,500 from the Glenn Webb Education Fund/The Growmark Foundation, which assisted in delivering a quality experience to students who completed coursework virtually this year.  

The funding partially supported laboratory kits for 15 students in Hardyman’s Animal and Food Microbiology course. Students who preferred to work at home this year received a lab kit with the necessary supplies to complete 15 weeks of laboratory exercises at home, using only the provided supplies and a few household items. The microbiology labs introduced students to methods for aseptic technique, collecting and incubating cultures, describing and identifying microbes and more.

Hardyman said the feedback from students completing the labs at home has been positive. 

“They really appreciated being able to work independently and at their own pace, while knowing they are gaining the same experiences and learning the same techniques as they would during a traditional semester,” she said.

The Growmark Foundation has been a longtime supporter the UW-Platteville School of Agriculture, and funding typically supports agriculture students’ travel to conferences and competitions nationwide. While COVID-19 restrictions prevented travel this year, the funding still had a major impact on enhancing the student experience.

“Growmark has consistently delivered support to enhance student experiences in the School of Agriculture,” said Dr. Rami Reddy, director of the UW-Platteville School of Agriculture. “We have applied this year’s support to get the lab kits with necessary supplies, as COVID-19 put restrictions on travel. We are immensely grateful to Growmark for the help and support delivered over many numbers of years and this will continue.”