A Summer Research Experience at Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest: Investigating and Communicating Change in Ecosystems
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Plymouth State University, in cooperation with the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF), scientists of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study, and the U.S. Forest Service, offers a unique undergraduate summer research experience based at the Hubbard Brook Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The program emphasizes the societal relevance of ecology and ecosystem science.
Students participate in a research project and also engage in outreach projects designed to help develop skills in communicating ecosystem information to broad audiences. Research projects are developed from the major areas of ecosystem research at Hubbard Brook and students work under the mentorship of scientists active in research at Hubbard Brook. In addition, through weekly presentations given by the mentors and other scientists, students are also exposed to a full spectrum of ecosystem research at Hubbard Brook. A second core component of the Hubbard Brook REU, is a science communication workshop designed to help students develop the skills in science outreach and communications that will be increasingly expected of 21st century scientists. Activities include case studies of HBRF’s Science Links™ program, targeted at policy-makers, HBRF’s Environmental Literacy Program, aimed at middle- and high-school science teachers, a citizen-science case study based on PSU’s Center for the Environment’s work in the region, and a career symposium involving representatives from a wide spectrum of science-related fields. The workshop will also include weekly science dissemination activities designed to improve the skills needed to translate science to various audiences.
Students interested in using science to address environmental issues, as well as those pursuing careers in research, education, resource management, and applied environmental science will find the program to be rewarding and challenging. The program is designed to appeal to students interested in both ecosystem research and the communication of ecosystem science to broad audiences.
The program runs from May 28 through August 6, 2014 and all students are expected to be in attendance on the start date. Students receive a $5000 stipend for the 10-week program, as well as free housing. Food costs are paid by the participants and run approximately $42/week. Students live at Hubbard Brook Research Foundation’s Pleasant View Farm adjacent to the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest. The farmhouse at Pleasant View is set up for co-ed living with students and researchers. Meals are prepared for the REU group by the REU participants. All students in the REU program are expected to share and cooperate with cleaning, cooking, and related chores.
Approximately one month before the program begins students are mailed pre-program readings from their research mentors, as well as a few examples of successful science communication reports, such as HBRF’s ScienceLinks™ program.
The Hubbard Brook REU is highly competitive. For the summer of 2014, we are accepting eight students for the program. Applications are due on February 7, 2014.
Undergraduate student participants supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. High school graduates who have not yet enrolled, and students who have already received their bachelor’s degrees, are not eligible.
REU sites are an important means of extending high-quality research environments and mentoring to diverse groups of students, and it is a priority of the program to increase the representation of students from groups underrepresented in ecological research. In addition, REU sites serve to increase involvement of students in research who might not have otherwise had the opportunity, particularly those from academic institutions where research programs in STEM are limited.
Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation to Plymouth State University (award # 1156844). Dr. Michele Pruyn, associate professor of plant biology at Plymouth State University, serves as the principle investigator for the project.
For more information, contact:
Hubbard Brook Research Foundation
25 Dobson Hill Road
Thornton, NH 03285