Mitchell selected to participate in national research program

STATESVILLE, NC – Mitchell Community College was recently selected to take part in Cohort 11 of the Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program, an initiative administered by the University of Pittsburgh and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Science Education division.

SEA-PHAGES, an undergraduate research program focused in the biological sciences, currently includes 147 colleges and universities in their network. Mitchell will be the eighth school to join from North Carolina and only the second community college (the first, Durham Technical Community College). The program is designed to immerse students in authentic, valuable and accessible research.

SEA-PHAGES will allow Mitchell to offer nationally renowned undergraduate research opportunities to students. As a part of the program, the college will partner with North Carolina institutions such as N.C. State University and Western Carolina University as well as tier-one research institutions across the United State such as Johns Hopkins University, Ohio State University and Virginia Tech. Parks Collins and Justin Leonard, Biology instructors at Mitchell, led the initiative to apply for inclusion in the SEA–PHAGES program in order to expand opportunities for students to learn and develop as scientists. “Viruses make up the largest component of biomass on the planet, but we know so little about them. By isolating and sequencing viruses that infect soil bacteria,” Collins explained, “students will develop a sense of project ownership and be engaged in original research.” The program will begin at Mitchell in the Fall 2018 semester. For more information on the SEA–PHAGES program at Mitchell, contact Parks Collins at (704) 878-3343 or

Mitchell Community College serves 10,000 students annually through a variety of curriculum, continuing education and workforce development programs. With campuses in Statesville and Mooresville, Mitchell offers quality, affordable education options to residents of Iredell County and the surrounding area. For more information, visit or call (704) 878-3200 (Statesville Campus) or (704) 663-1923 (Mooresville Campus).