We document the four-year long experience aimed at improving student readiness to engage in research. A key ingredient has been the development of a multidisciplinary modeling course that integrates four teaching and learning strategies. Preceded by two sets of scaffolded projects, the course culminates with an inquiry-based learning (IBL) assignment on a topic that is relevant and supported by mentoring. Benefits include the development of modeling skills marketable to external entities, presentations at the University colloquia and symposia, peer-reviewed conference or journal papers, and application software releases. This paper describes the course structure, its evolution over time to meet various challenges, and provides examples of student work.

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