The goal of this NSF funded program is to provide undergraduate students with experience in hypothesis-driven collaborative research utilizing field based and/or laboratory methods every summer and fully engage them in projects associated with the ecology and evolution influencing Chihuahuan Desert biodiversity.
In their application, students will have the opportunity to select from more than 10 faculty driven projects/topics, each focusing on a biological discipline related to Chihuahuan Desert biodiversity. Students will receive meaningful exposure to research methodology as described in each of the project summaries from the faculty participants below:
Anthony Darrouzet-Nardi - Plant ecophysiology and soil biogeochemistry in the context of global change
Eli Greenbaum - Herpetology and Molecular Systematics
Michael G. Harvey - Diversity, Evolution and Genomics of Birds
Jerry D. Johnson - Population and Community Ecology, ecogeography, reptiles, birds
Elizabeth LaRue - Ecosystem Science, Remote Sensing, Plant Species Distributions and Structural Diversity of Ecosystems
Philip Lavretsky - Population and Evolutionary Genetics
Vanessa L. Lougheed - Aquatic Ecology, ecological roles of ephemeral water bodies at IMRS
Vicente Mata-Silva - Field Biology, Herpetology, Desert Ecology
Marguerite Mauritz - Ecosystem Science of the Chihuahuan Desert
Jennie McLaren - Plant community and ecosystem ecology
Michael L. Moody - Botany, Plant Evolutionary Genetics, Molecular Ecology
Kelly S. Ramirez - Soil ecology, plant-soil interactions, microbiome, restoration
Elizabeth J. Walsh - Evolution and ecology of freshwater invertebrates
The program will provide a cohort of summer participants with a high quality experience that combines education and novel research projects utilizing the 40,000 acre Indio Mountain Research Station and surrounding Chihuahuan Desert sites as well as the state-of-the-art facilities at UTEP. Participants will also receive training in bioethics, one-on-one and group mentoring, and training in other relevant professional skills (e.g. oral presentations and applying to graduate school).
Each participant will be guided directly by different members of the CDB faculty team, but they will participate in a number of activities that will keep them as a cooperative summer cohort that shares research interests in biodiversity studies and thus will benefit by understanding each other's work and contributing to each other’s growth as practicing scientists.
The major emphasis of this program is developing skills for performing independent and collaborative research. Participants will be integrated into the research groups of individual faculty mentors. However, given that the program has a unifying theme, participants will be sharing common research interests as well as goals for academic and professional development. Consequently, participants will meet as a group for discussions, training, formal presentations, workshops and seminars. At the end of the program, students will present the results of their summer’s efforts at a UTEP-wide science symposium.
Important Dates & Info
Deadline for application: March 7, 2022
Program Duration: 10 weeks
Start Date: June 1, 2022
End Date: August 6, 2022
Note: Students are expected to arrive in El Paso on Tuesday, May 31 and depart on Sunday, August 7.
Undergraduate Students admitted to the program will receive:
- $6,000 for 10 weeks
- Housing in shared apartments for non-UTEP students
- Travel reimbursement to/from El Paso of up to $600
- Meal stipend