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Undergraduate Research

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Current research opportunities wtih ENVST faculty: 

Dr. Tabitha Benney from the Political Science Department

Undergraduate Research Positions ($10/hr – Spring/Summer 2018)

Our interdisciplinary research team seeks to understand how complex coupled human-natural systems interact and how this might impact models of resource use and sustainability into the future. In Spring 2018, we will begin work to assess the feedback loops between human and natural systems in high mountain regions where permanent glacier melt requires ongoing mitigation. To study this, we will pilot a survey locally to assess the political and social opinions of humans concerning the problem of glacier melting in high mountain regions of Nepal and Bhutan. Our survey will be tested first on our university population and then administered to local Nepali and Bhutanese populations. These data and reconstructions will be used to motivate and inform the numerical modeling studies of a larger team of scientists who will focus on quantifying glacier sensitivity to climate and aerosol changes, glacier contributions to water resources, and predicting future changes in glaciers and associated environmental resources under future climate and aerosol scenarios.

  •  We are seeking up to four undergraduate researchers for our part-time, hourly paid positions. Our team will begin January 15, 2018 and will continue through the Spring semester. Some summer positions may also be available on our research team. Work on this project includes the following:

    • Data entry
    • Data management
    • Provide written summaries of related topics
    • Collect information on related literature
    • Proctoring the survey in a classroom setting
    • Interviewing target populations
    • Ability to use basic statistical software (SPSS or STATA) is a plus, but not required
    • If you are interested, email tabitha.benney@poli-sci.utah.edu with a brief description of your interest and how this research would help you achieve your academic goals.

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. 
Expectations:  
  • 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 jennifer.watt@envst.utah.edu.   

    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:   

  • An overall GPA of 3.5 
  • THIS application.
  • Faculty mentor will receive the Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor Agreement via email (from ENVST Program).
  • After research is completed, faculty mentor will receive the Undergraduate Research Evaluation Form via email (from ENVST Program).

To earn undergraduate research credit as elective credits students mustmeet the following requirements:

  • THIS application.
  • Faculty mentor will receive the Undergraduate Research Faculty Mentor Agreement via email (from ENVST Program).
  • After research is completed, faculty mentor will receive the Undergraduate Research Evaluation Form via email (from ENVST Program).

 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 Undergraduate Research Application to receive an add code for ENVST 5000 to earn academic credit for your research. 
  • 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 (jennifer.watt@envst.utah.edu) 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: 

  • Complete the Undergraduate Faculty Mentor Agreement form that will be sent via email by the ENVST Program.
  • 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 (jennifer.watt@envst.utah.edu) as soon as any concerns or problems arise.
  • Complete the Undergraduate Research Evaluation form that will be sent via email by the ENVST Program.

 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: 11/20/17