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Undergraduate Research

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Current research opportunities wtih ENVST faculty: 

Dr. Jennifer Shah:

Dr. Jennifer Watt:  Mountain Pine Beetle Research in the Sierra Nevada

Funding available for 2 Students, each student will earn $1200 each semester for two semesters (for a total of $2400 for the year).  This funding opportunity will provide students with lab work and poster presentation experience.  Research will be completed over the 2017-2018 academic year. 
  • Students will work with Dr. Jennifer Watt on lake sediment cores from the Sierra Nevada.Students will learn pollen and charcoal/plant macrofossil analysis.
  • Students are expected to present their work at the College Research Day in the Spring 2018.
  • Students will meet with Dr. Watt weekly and work independently in between meetings. 
  • If you are interested in the project please  e-mail a brief description of your interest and how this would help you achieve your academic goals to   

    Other research opportunities: 

    Search for current research opportunities with the Office of Undergraduate Research to browse possible research projects. If you find a project you are interested in, contact the faculty listed on the project.  

    Why conduct undergraduate research?

  • Earn credit towards your degree and/or major
  • Earn a stipend via the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (see details below)
  • Earn an Undergraduate Research Scholars Designation at graduation (see details below)
  • Apply knowledge learned in classes to a "hands-on" experience
  • Design a project to learn something new
  • Learn new skills that can aid entry to graduate school or be applied to a career of choice

Both Undergraduate Research and Directed Reading consist of  working with a faculty member and conducting literature review and summary. In addition, Undergraduate Research aims to explore a student's independent question(s).

  •  To earn undergraduate research credit in replacement of the internship, students must meet the following requirements:   THIS application.
    • An overall GPA of 3.5 
    • Must have faculty mentor
    • Faculty mentor must complete THIS FORM
    • Student must complete THIS FORM
  •  To earn undergraduate research credit as elective credits students mustmeet the following requirements:
    • Must have faculty mentor
    • Faculty mentor must complete THIS FORM
    • Student must complete THIS FORM

 Expectations of Undergraduate Student Researchers: 

  • Write an introductory email to a faculty member conducting research in an area of interest including a brief (1-2 sentences each) description about why you are interested in conducting, background of relevant coursework, questions you hope to address and/or skills you hope to gain via research. Politely inquire if any opportunities exist. Attach a current resume or curriculum vitae (CV). This expectation may not apply to students who already have a working relationship with a faculty mentor or who are responding to a posted research opportunity. 
  • Draft a research proposal with the help of a faculty member. We suggest formatting your proposal based on the instructions given by the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). Submission of a proposal to the UROP is optional.
  • Once the student has secured a research project AND faculty mentor, submit THIS FORM to receive an add code for ENVST 5000 to earn academic credit for your research. 
  • Provide a link to  THIS FORM for your faculty mentor to complete.   
  • Apply for the travel and/or small grants funds through the Office of Undergraduate Research to support research efforts (as needed). See details below.
  • Conduct the proposed independent research with a faculty mentor within the proposed timeline.
  • Be professional (courteous, responsible, respectful, prompt, and responsive) at all times.
  • Adhere to policies set forth by the faculty mentor/host lab.
  • Maintain clear and open communication with faculty mentor and ENVST mentor (the two may be the same).
  • Contact Jennifer Watt ( as soon as any concerns or problems arise.
  • Present a research poster at the College of Social and Behavioral Science Research Day (Usually held Spring Semester).
  • If applicable, apply for Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation (URSD). This expectation applies only to students who have conducted two semesters of research. See details below.

Expectations of Faculty Mentor: 

  • Provide assistance to student in developing the research proposal, including clear indication of timeline for completion.
  • Provide clear descriptions of student's duties and provide feedback on student progress.
  • Educate student about background information and methodologies needed to conduct the proposed research.
  • Assist student with troubleshooting.
  • Maintain clear and open communication with student and ENVST mentor.
  • Contact Jennifer Watt ( as soon as any concerns or problems arise.

Expectations of Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program: 

  • Distribute research opportunities announcements.
  • Assist student with assessing potential faculty mentors with whom research could be conducted.
  • Provide suggested coursework for student to be prepared to conduct research.
  • Maintain clear and open communication with student and faculty mentor.
  • Address concerns raised by faculty mentor or student.


Last Updated: 6/6/17