30 December 2009

2010: The year we are renewed?

I’ve been receiving emails already asking about the UTPA REU program for summer 2010.

We don’t know if we will have any new students in the program this year.

This program is funded by the National Science Foundation, and our current grant is ending this year. We have submitted a proposal to continue our program for several more years, but do not expect to hear any word on the next round of reviews until sometime in late winter or early spring.

If our program does continue, we’ll be sure to let you know. Trust me. We will not be quiet about it.

02 December 2009

Northwestern University materials science REU program

The institution: Northwestern University

The program:
  • 21 June to 20 August 2009
  • $4,000 stipend
  • On-campus housing
  • Research areas includes biomaterials, polymers, nanocomposites, photonics, nanoparticles, molecular electronics, ceramics

Eligibility: Students currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in science or engineering who are US citizens or permanent residents are eligible.

Deadline: 15 February 2009

More information: http://www.mrsec.northwestern.edu/content/educational_programs/reu.htm or email Martha Tanner at mrc@northwestern.edu.

01 December 2009

Harvard Forest research program in ecology

The institution: Harvard Forest field station of Harvard University

The program:
  • $5,520 stipend
  • Twelve week session from 24 May – 13 August 2010
  • Excellent on-site housing and a full meal plan included
  • Assistance with travel costs to and from Harvard Forest is provided
  • Projects in summer 2010 will focus on:
    • Invasive plants, pests & pathogens
    • Plant biology, population and community ecology
    • Large ecosystem experiments and permanent plot studies
    • Conservation biology and biodiversity
    • Forest ecosystem response to global change
    • Soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics
    • Reading and conserving the New England landscape
Eligibility: Students should have a demonstrated interest in ecology. No previous field/lab experience or minimum GPA is required.

Deadline: 5 February 2010.

More information: Visit http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu/education/reu/reu.html for on-line application.

30 November 2009

UTPA - UTHSCSA Summer Research Program

The institution: University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio

The program:

  • 10 weeks at the Health Science Center in San Antonio, from 7 June – 13 August 2010
  • $3,200 for living expenses
  • Nearby housing available

Eligibility: Students after their first year of undergraduate studies with successful completion of basic course work in the sciences (biology and/or chemistry).

Deadline: 1 March 2010

More information: Contact Dr. Scott Gunn or visit http://uthscsa.edu/csb/utpasummer.asp

03 October 2009

HESTEC Science Symposium 2009

Dr. Susan Golden
The HESTEC science symposium was held earlier this week, and the REU program was pleased to host one of the three featured speakers, Dr. Susan Golden. Dr Golden discussed why pond scum might be able to, if not save the world, fly a few planes. Turns out that cyanobacteria are a good candidate for producing biofuels, and Dr. Golden, thanks to her work on one particular organism, has a good idea of what its genetics are like, making them promising for genetic modification.

Dr. Golden was followed by two other distinguished speakers, Drs. Eloy Rodriguez and Robert Curl, both of whom were taking about very small scales (organic chemicals) that might have very big impacts.

The Science Symposium also features a student research poster competition, and this year, the Department of Biology’s winner was an REU student, for the second year running!

Kristen Hopperstad (center) received a plaque and a laptop computer for her ongoing research with Dr. Brian Fredensborg (left). The day was, as the photo suggests, all a bit of a blur.

05 September 2009


Our next visiting mentor, and featured speaker at this year’s HESTEC science symposium, will be Dr. Susan Golden. Dr. Golden is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California San Diego.

Dr. Golden is best known for her work on daily (circadian) rhythms in cyanobacteria. She is also currently investigating the possibility of using these small organisms to generate biofuels.

Please come listen to Dr. Golden’s talk at 9:00 am on Monday, September 28 in the Engineering auditorium, ENG 1.300.

Doctor Golden on the web

07 August 2009

Send off seminar

Yesterday we held an undergraduate research symposium featuring both the veteran REU students and the students in the HHMI program. The REU students had a chance to pull together their research from the last year, and give a short talk about what they had found.

Jess Valdez
Jess Valdez with her title slide.

Amery Yang
Amery Yang, following her talk, waiting for lunch.

Ashely Longoria
Ashley Longoria with her supervisor, Brian Fredensborg, looking every so slightly concerned about something.

23 April 2009

Texas A&M Imaging and Biomarkers REU program

The institution: Texas A&M University

The program:

  • 1 June 2009 &ndash 7 August 2009

  • Ten week research project led by a faculty mentor

  • $450/week stipend

  • Allowances for housing, meals and travel

  • Seminars, field trips, and career development workshops

  • 1.0 credit hour of undergraduate course credit

  • Access to university recreational facilities


  • Desire to participate in research as evidenced by application responses and faculty recommendation

  • Completion of at least the sophomore year of the curriculum for an academic major in engineering, computer science, or the life sciences

  • 3.00 GPA or above

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident

  • Graduate no earlier than December 2009

Deadline: 1 May 2009

More information: http://etidweb.tamu.edu/hsieh/REU

11 April 2009

What you don’t want to know about recommendation letters

Multi-Man from The ImpossiblesI was reviewing applications for a program today (not the REU, something completely unrelated), and was reading through an application folder, fairly far down in the stack. I got to the recommendation letter. It was very positive, but...

I’d seen it before.

I went back, and sure enough, found that two applicants had asked the same person for recommendation letters, and the referee had used the same damn form letter for both.

As a reviewer, it’s totally maddening. It reflect poorly on the referee, but you really can’t do anything about it. Worse, the poor applicants typically are going to have no idea that they’ve been stuck with a form letter.

Then there are reviewers who write two line recommendations, letters that say, “This student was in my class. This student got this grade in my class. I recommend them.”

Recommendation letters are tricky things for students applying to programs. They are out of your control. You rarely have any way of knowing who writes good letters and who takes the lazy route and writes form letters.

Roulette tableBut is it a pure roulette table, where “you pays your money and you takes your chances”? Not entirely. There are ways you can maximize your chance of getting a strong recommendation letter.

Put yourself in the letter writer’s position. If you’ve taken a class from a professor, how much you enjoyed that class or how well you did does not determine how good a letter that person can write for you if the professor doesn’t know you. Did you ever ask questions in class? Show up for office hours? Engage in conversation?

Don’t think about how much you know about them, think about how much they can know about you. After all, who could you write a better letter for? Your best friend who you’ve known for years or a casual acquaintance you’ve seen at a few social events?

In other words, make it a point to get to know a couple of professors. To the point that when you walk into their office, they will say, “Hi [Insert your name here],” instead of, “What section of the class are you in?”

08 April 2009

Shout out from former visiting mentor

Matt Garcis interview
UTPA alumnus and former REU visiting mentor Matt Garcia is featured in the newest issue of Los Arcos. And nobody paid him to say the nice shout out he gave to the REU program (and programs like it).

What advice would you give current students who are interested in pursuing a research career?

Over the summer I had the opportunity to come back to UTPA and conduct a seminar and career workshop with some biology department students in an undergraduate research program – Research Experiences for Undergraduates. This is the first step for someone interested in a career in research science, to get involved and apply for programs like this. Nothing can replace the experience of actual hands-on bench research, and you’ll know very quickly whether this is the right career path. Research is the type of position that requires self-motivation and determination. It is a roller coaster ride with extreme highs and extreme lows and being able to deal with that is the ultimate litmus test of being a scientist.

Matt Garcia, we love you!

Proctor & Gamble Research your Future in Science

Proctor and Gamble logoThe institution: Procter & Gamble headquarters, Cincinnati, Ohio

The program: Research your Future in Science Seminar will be held the first week of August 2009.

Through hands-on involvement, tours, and presentations, participants will learn what it is like to work as an R&D researcher at P&G. P&G Researchers will showcase various work areas, providing exposure to analytical labs, product formulation, products research, etc. Participant are placed in the fast-lane with the opportunity to interview for a 2010 P&G Researcher Summer Internship prior to any other intern recruiting.

All travel and accommodations will be paid by P&G for those selected to attend.

We seeking students with;

  • Proven/exhibited leadership on or off campus.

  • Technical expertise in field of study.

  • Ability to solve problems.

  • Ability to engage and work in a diverse working environment


  • Currently enrolled as a first or second year Bachelor’s or first year Associates degree student in a science.

  • Curiosity and desire to learn how Science is used in the workforce.

  • Candidates must be a U.S. citizen or national, refugee, asylee or lawful permanent resident.

Deadline: June 2009 for this year’s seminar.

More information: Go to http://www.pg.com and apply to job requisition number RND00001492.

12 March 2009

University of Texas Medical Branch PREP program

Can't take part in an REU program because you’re graduating this spring? This may be the program for you!

The institution: University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston

The program: This one year program is for students who have received or will soon receive a bachelors degree. It immerses students in an active research lab where the excitement of biomedical research is obvious and nurtured with the hopes of encouraging them to pursue doctoral training in the biomedical sciences.

  • $20,000 / year salary with full health benefits

  • Enrichment activities to build skills and confidence to succeed at the graduate level

  • Mentored supportive environment for each student with individualized development programs

  • Help applying to any national graduate program

  • GRE preparatory class

  • Academic skills and research integrity training

  • Ability to take a graduate class to gauge level of preparedness

  • Access to research faculty and facilities

  • Fast track to a Ph.D.


  • Graduation with a biological science major (e.g. biology, microbiology) or quantitative or computational science major (e.g. physics, chemistry, mathematics, computer science, engineering)

  • Some experience with research or have successfully completed laboratory-based coursework

  • A GPA of 3.0 or greater

  • Interest in biomedical science and issues and an aptitude for graduate coursework

  • Less than 3 years from BA/BS degree

  • Must be from a group under represented in science as defined by the NIH (African American, Hispanic, Native American). Economically disadvantaged or those with disabilities will also be considered.

Deadline: None. Applications considered year round.

More information: Contact PREP Director Norbert Herzog (email nherzog@utmb.edu).

09 March 2009

Texas Academy of Science meeting 2009

The Texas Academy of Science meeting was held last Friday, 6 March, and both UTPA and the REU program was well represented.

Texas Academy of Science meeting 2009
The obligatory REU cohort shot. L to R: Ammie Ortiz, Amery Yang, Stephanie Castellanos, Ashley Longoria, Stephanie Jimenez, Jess Valdez.

And now... posters!

Ammie Ortiz

Pop quiz! One of the two students above is not an REU student. Which one?

In addition to these posters, current REU student Stephanie Jimenez gave an oral presentation, as did former REU student Natali Mejia.

Pictures by Hudson DeYoe.

04 March 2009

Texas A&M REU progam

The institutions:

  • Texas A&M University

  • North Carolina State University

  • Ohio State University

  • Penn State University

The program:

  • Program runs from 25 May to 31 July 2009.

  • On-site exhibition and presentation of research project.

  • Experience in cutting edge genomic research techniques.

  • Working with internationally recognized scientists.

  • Professional development through participation in a challenging and relevant research project.

  • Assistance in evaluating career direction.

  • Mentoring by outstanding faculty, post -doctoral research associates, and graduate students committed to providing an environment that fosters professional development.

  • One time payment for round trip travel cost.

  • Competitive stipend and room and board.

  • Opportunity to spend up to a week at one of 3 collaborating laboratories nationwide.

  • Participation in the campus-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium


  • Must be a U.S. citizen or hold permanent U.S. visa status.

  • Must be currently enrolled as a full-time undergraduate student.

  • Majoring in a biological or related natural science, engineering, statistics, or computer science.

  • Completed at least their first year of study by the summer.

  • Applications are encouraged from students attending institutions with limited research opportunities and from students who are members of groups underrepresented in the sciences, such as women, racial minorities and the physically challenged.

Deadline: 16 March 2009

More information: http://www.cifr.ncsu.edu/educationresources/

23 February 2009

University of Houston summer research info session

Dr. Christina Chan, program director for the NSF-AGEP program at the University of Houston will on campus at noon on Thursday, 26 February 2009 in MAGC 1.302 to talk with undergraduates students in the College on the NSF-AGEP summer research program (10 weeks, $4000 stipend) and about University of Houston graduate programs.

Pizza will be served!

Student profile: Amery Yang

What is your project about?

My project is about measuring oxidative stress in hyper-accumulators and non-accumulators through the biochemical aspect. I will be running assay tests such as SOD, TBARS, CAT, Protein Carbonylation, and Protein Analysis. I will be in charge of two plants: Streptanthus farnsworthianus and Streptanthus polygaloides.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

I have learned about many research opportunities that can expand my research experience and knowledge about careers in research. I have enjoyed my time in the lab. To me, I don't view research as job. I get to have fun and learning at the same time. I have also enjoyed talking with the speakers and getting to know how they decided to do research as a career goal.

What are you looking forward to?

I'm looking forward to the upcoming TAS meeting where I will be participating in the poster sessions. I am also looking forward to meeting future speakers and being able to talk with them.

20 February 2009

February seminar: Robin Fuchs-Young

Dr. Robin Fuchs-Young was in town yesterday as the third REU visiting mentor of the academic year. She gave a seminar on her work describing the interaction between a tumor supressor gene, p53, and receptors for the hormone estrogen, and how the interplay between these two affects breast cancer.

Although students were subdued during her talk, several had questions to ask her afterwards!

Dr. Fuchs-Young met with faculty and REU students individually, and also spoke briefly in the research ethics class that REU students are taking about some of the ethical issues she had cause to think about in her professional career.

We thank Dr. Fuchs-Young, and hope she enjoyed her visit despite taking her from her many other commitments (which required some last minute changes to her travel plans!).

L to R: Amery Yang, Ashley Longoria, Robin Fuchs-Young, Stephanie Jimenez, Ammie Ortiz, Jess Valdez, Stephanie Castellanos.

14 February 2009

In the news

The REU program was featured in The Pan American this week.

11 February 2009

Student profile: Ammie Ortiz

Ammie OrtizWhat is your project about?

My research is on the stresses of the seagrass, Thalassia testudinum. There are different types of stresses but our focus is mostly on the stresses caused by salinity. Some problems that seagrasses face in the bay (Laguna Madre) are reduced salinity levels. Reduced salinity levels are induced by an influx of fresh water from rain showers and at times hurricanes. Large amount of freshwater can drastically reduce salinity levels from normal 35 part per thousand to low levels of 14 part per thousand, nearly wiping out the seagrass beds. Unfortunately, this event recently occurred when Hurricane Dolly hit our coastline and reduced salinity levels to as low as 1 part per thousand (freshwater) in the Laguna Madre. We recreated the event by taking T. testudinum from their natural environment to a controlled tank area and currently monitoring their response to both reduced and increased salinity levels.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

Time management and patience would definitely be something I’ve taken from this entire experience so far. Also, the “hands-on” experience in both field work and lab has given me more knowledge and a better appreciation to scientific research. The mentors/professors, too, have made this a great experience for me. They help out in every way possible and encourage us to do more for ourselves.

What are you looking forward to?

I look forward to gaining more insight of the research world as I continue to work on my REU project and meet other successful scientist. Keeping close communications with my mentors/professors is definitely something I’m looking forward to as well, since they are the experts in this field so who better to ask advice. Lastly, with everything I’ve learned and continue to learn, I hope to get accepted to grad school considering that I have more experience in the research field all thanks to this program.

Summer internship at National Science Foundation

The institution: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA

The program: Interns will be mentored by NSF program officers who are involved in implementing science policies and in managing/ directing programs focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The interns will have opportunities to further develop their research, communications (oral and written), and other professional skills as well as to become a part of a peer network that includes students from across the country who are serving as summer interns in other QEM or NSF internship programs. Interns will be expected to prepare, and discuss with their mentors, individual development plans; conduct a research project under the guidance of their mentors; submit mid-term and final written reports to QEM; and make oral presentations throughout the summer.

In addition to the ten-week summer internship, interns will be expected to implement science-oriented outreach activities during the academic year when they return to their home institutions to continue their studies. These activities would focus on pre-college students residing, or attending school, in neighboring communities. Interns who successfully complete at least six academic year outreach activities (three per semester), and provide written documentation at the end of each semester, will be eligible to receive an additional stipend of $1,000/semester.

  • 25 May - 31 July 2009

  • Round-trip airfare

  • Assistance with local transportation costs

  • Summer housing on a local college campus

  • $3,000 stipend for undergraduate students and $4,000 for graduate students


  • Citizen or national of the United States

  • Junior, senior, or graduate student

  • Currently enrolled in a science or engineering degree program at a minority-serving institution or at a non-minority institution with a track record in producing science and/or engineering graduates from underrepresented groups

Deadline: 6 March 2009

More information: http://qemnetwork.qem.org/internship.htm

09 February 2009

Student profile: Ashley Longoria

What is your project about?

My project is based on behavior modification of four related killifish after being exposed to Euhaplorchis californiensis. I am investigating the if this parasite specializes in one of species, then another.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

I have learned that biology is a growing field, and there is so much to still to discover! What I have enjoyed the most from working in the lab is getting the feeling of being the first to examine this unexplored area.

What are you looking forward to?

I am currently working on my project, and in hopes will get excellent results on my research.

05 February 2009

Student profile: Stephanie Castellanos

Stephanie CastellanosWhat is your project about?

Soil ecology, looking at different types of soil organisms and the uptake of them in various soil and plant environments.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

I enjoy gaining experience in a lab setting as well as going out into the field and collecting samples. It is also nice to have mentor professor who is helpful and encourages a future in research. I enjoy meeting other folks in REU program who share similar goals.

What are you looking forward to?

For the year to end! Just kidding. I look forward for graduate school where I can apply my knowledge and experience from taking part in the REU program.

04 February 2009

Audobon Texas Careers in Conservation internship

Audobon TexasThe institution: Mitchell Lake Audubon Center in San Antonio. This facility is located on a 1,200 acre natural area with a 600 acre lake and 600 acres of wetlands, ponds and uplands.

The program: Interns conduct on-the-ground research projects and assist in conservation education programs at the site. Each undergraduate student is assigned a research topic and is required to develop a proposal that includes background, justification and methodology.

  • 20 May - 3 July 2009

  • Stipend

  • Housing and partial travel allowance for students outside San Antonio area

  • Collaborate with graduate students and faculty from local universities currently conducting site-based research

  • Meet with conservation professionals employed by city, state, and federal agencies, along with businesses and other non-governmental organizations


  • Completion of two years of university study

  • Academic training in natural resources, natural sciences, environmental sciences, education, recreation, or related field is preferred

  • Natural history background and interest in environmental research or education is preferred

Deadline: 1 April 2009

More information: Email Iliana Pena at ipena@audobon.org

03 February 2009

2009 applications now online!

The application form for those interested in joining the REU program for 2009-2001 is now online!

During the application process, you will be asked to provide:

  • A personal statement describing your reasons for wanting to join the program and career goals

  • Names of two referees who will be providing recommendation letters

Please contact program mentors to discuss research opportunities.

You do not need to have any previous research experience, or be a biology major. No single criterion is used as a "cut-off" for applications. Factors such as having good working relationships with other students and mentors, willingness to learn, and persistance are important, as well as GPA. Students now finishing their first or second year of study are particularly encouraged to apply.

Student profile: Jess Valdez

What is your project about?

My project is observing how temperature variation affects the sprint speed of Sceloporus olivaceus. My test subject is a local species of lizard commonly known as Texas Spiny Lizard. It can be found in trees and other types of terrain.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

In participating in the REU program I have learned that there are many opportunities in expanding my career as a research biologist. I have enjoyed the many speakers and mentors that have visited our campus and I have also enjoyed working on a project that I am very passionate and enthusiastic about.

What are you looking forward to?

I am looking forward to presenting my research to the public and publishing a paper. I am also looking forward to obtaining my Master's and continuing my career.

02 February 2009

University of Alabama at Birmingham SIBS program

The institution: University of Alabama at Birmingham

The program:

  • 1 June - 24 July 2009

  • $2000 stipend

  • Free on campus housing

Eligibility: An 8-week program where selected undergraduate students will conduct laboratory research under the guidance of individual UAB faculty members.

  • Sophomore year completed

  • 3.0 GPA or higher, especially in science, math and related areas

Application deadline: 13 March 2009

More information: http://www.uab.edu/sibs or email rlorenz@uab.edu.

30 January 2009

January seminar: Robyn Lints

Dr. Robyn Lints
Dr. Robyn Lints from Texas A&M University was the REU program's most recent visiting mentor. She spoke to students and faculty on her work with the worm species C. elegans. One of the unusual and not very well-known features of this species is that there are hermaphrodites -- which can fertilize themselves -- and males, but no females. Dr. Lints is doing research on the neurobiology of how the males recognize and mate with hermaphrodites (who frequently do not particularly want to be mated, from all appearances). She had some truly amazing transgenic techniques she was using to investigate these questions.

Dr. Lints met with faculty and REU students individually, and also spoke briefly in the research ethics class that REU students are taking about some of the ethical issues she had cause to think about in her professional career.

We thank Dr. Lints, and hope she enjoyed her visit despite having over 8 hours of delayed flights (shudder!).

L to R: (back) Ammie Ortiz, Jess Valdez, Stephanie Castellanos, Stephanie Jimenez, Robyn Lints, (front) Ashley Longoria, Amery Yang

28 January 2009

Meet and greet

REU student Stephanie Jimenez with UTPA distinguished speaker Dr. Robert Ballard.

27 January 2009

UT System LSAMP summer research academy

The institution: Various University of Texas system universities.

The program: Students will conduct research, meet graduate students in the program of their choice, attend research group or lab meetings, and participate in special meetings designed to help with future plans for graduate school. Opportunities will be provided for visiting with other scholars and learning about the graduate school application process through videoconferencing.

  • $3,000 stipend

  • Up to $500 travel funds

  • About 10 weeks of on-campus housing

  • All expenses paid invitation to annual UT System Student Research Conference in September 2009 in Austin, Texas


  • Full-time student with a major in science, engineering, or mathematics

  • Completed 30 semester credit hours

  • Minimum 2.8 GPA

  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.

Application deadline: 15 February 2009

More information: http://research.utep.edu/lsamp

Student profile: Stephanie Jimenez

What is your project about?

I am currently working with a new crayfish (Marmorkrebs) that is completely parthogenetic. Because this animal was only recently discovered (mid 1990s), there is much to learned. This means that my projects are varied and include some genetic experiments and several different types of behavioral experiments. In the future we hope to begin work on some ecology and neural anatomy experiments.

What have you learned or enjoyed so far?

So far the best part of REU for me has been the kind of one on one relationships I am building. Not only am I working more closely with the faculty but I have been able to build friendships with the other students in the program. I have also had the opportunity to meet other scientists (outside the valley) that I would have never met. All of this has helped me exercise my people skills which I know will be vital as I continue my career.

What are you looking forward to?

In the short term, I am most looking forward to giving a talk at the Texas Academy of Science conference. Although I have done a poster presentation at Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology in Boston (with REU) I think that this talk will give me some much needed practice with public speaking.

In the long term, I think I am most looking forward to entering graduate school. This next step for me is going to be a journey and challenge that I have spent a lot of time and effort preparing for.

20 January 2009

First spring 2009 seminar: Mate recognition

Dr. Robyn Lints of Texas A&M University will be giving her seminar, "Mate recognition behavior in the nematode worm C. elegans: Knowing a good thing when you find it" in SCIE 2.108, at noon, Thursday, 29 January 2009.

More information about Dr. Lints and her research is at: http://www.bio.tamu.edu/facmenu/faculty/LintsR.htm

15 January 2009

National Institutes of Health STEP-UP

The institution: Varies.

The program:

  • The research experience is provided nationally by experienced investigators in their laboratories. Students are matched with a research mentor at their choice of a research institution when possible

  • 8 to 10 consecutive weeks during the summer

  • $4000 student allowance and housing allotment

  • Travel expenses to the Annual Undergraduate Research Training Symposium in May and the Annual Undergraduate Scientific Session and Research Presentations in August at the NIH

  • Limited housing is available under special circumstances

Deadline: 15 February 2009

More information: http://stepup.niddk.nih.gov

NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program

The institution: Varies.

The program:

  • 10–15 week research experience at a participating NASA Center under the supervision of a NASA technical mentor.

  • $6,000 stipend

  • Round-trip airfare or ground transportation allowance to and from the NASA Host Center.

  • A location allowance may be provided for students at specific high cost NASA Centers.


  • U.S. citizenship.

  • Classified as a sophomore, junior or senior before the expected commencement of the internship session.

  • Major or demonstrated coursework concentration in engineering, mathematics, computer science, or physical/life sciences.

  • Demonstrated strong interest/commitment to one of the above career fields or disciplines (e.g., science/math/engineering fairs, clubs, or awards; tutoring/mentoring; internships or other related experience).

  • 3.0 grade point average or better.

Application deadline: 23 January 2009

More information: http://www.epo.usra.edu/usrp/

13 January 2009

Robyn with a Y and Robin with an I

The REU program is pleased to announce our next two visiting mentors. Both speakers will be giving departmental seminars at noon in SCIE 2.108.

29 January 2009

Later this month, we will be hosting Robyn Lints from Texas A&M University. When I visited A&M, she showed me some very cool stuff on C. elegans.

More information about Dr. Lints and her research is at: http://www.bio.tamu.edu/facmenu/faculty/LintsR.htm

19 February 2009

In February, we will host our second Robin (this time with an "I"), Robin Fuchs-Young. Some of you may have met her at HESTEC; she's visited our campus a few times, and we are pleased to have her back for a longer visit.

More information about Dr. Fuchs-Young and her research is at: http://sciencepark.mdanderson.org/faculty/fuchs-young_r/

09 January 2009

REU in Environmental Microbiology at UNLV

The institution: University of Nevada, Las Vegas

The program: The program provides undergraduates with an opportunity to perform independent research under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Mentors have projects in: adaptation of Pseudomonas to diverse soils; biology of Shigella flexneri; characterization of polar microorganisms; ccology of boiling and near-boiling springs; endolithic, desert and geomicrobiology; impact of anthropogenic nitrogen loading; magnetotaxis of bacteria;
microbial diversity of deep subsurface aquifers; mutagenesis in nutrient limiting conditions, and; sporulation of Bacillus anthracis.

  • 1 June to 7 August 2009

  • $4,500 stipend

  • Round trip airfare

  • Food allowance

  • Complimentary housing in a UNLV dormitory

Application requirements:

  • One page career essay

  • Transcripts

  • Two letters of recommendation from science instructors

Application deadline: 7 March 2009

More information: http://sols.unlv.edu/reu_main.html

08 January 2009

The Minority Health Disparities Undergraduate Summer Research Program

The institution: University of Arizona

The program: The objective of the program is to help prepare, motivate, and support students who aspire to obtain a Ph.D. and pursue a career in research. Each student is paired with a faculty mentor who conducts research in the biomedical sciences (particularly pulmonary, heart and vascular, and blood diseases and disorders) in which they have a specific interest, participate in weekly seminars offered by UA faculty on health issues disproportionately affecting minority populations, attend weekly workshops on graduate school preparation and presentation skill development, attend a GRE Prep Workshop, and present their work at the University of Arizona's end of summer research symposium.

  • A financial award of $4,000 for 10 weeks of research and other activities

  • Round-trip airfare to Tucson from anywhere within the United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico

  • Six units of transferable research course credit

  • Housing will be available at the University of Arizona residence halls

Eligibility: For undergraduates in the summer between their junior and senior year, or students who have completed their baccalaureate degree but not yet been accepted into a graduate program.

More information: http://grad.arizona.edu/imsd/undergraduate-summer

Minority Pre-Doctoral Research Training at UT Southwestern

The institution: University of Texas Southwestern

The program: 10 week program in the summer of 2009. Details to be announced pending successful funding.

A certain number of slots are expected to be reserved for UTPA students. Contact a UTPA professor to work with the institution.

Although the application indicates that only Texas residents will qualify for the
program and that this program is not for students interested in pursuing the MD/PhD degree, students from UTPA will be considered regardless of state of residency and student with future interests in the MD as well as the MD/PhD degree will be considered for this program.

Application: https://www4.utsouthwestern.edu/applications/utsumrapp.htm

Mentorship for Environmental Scholars

The institution: Varies.

The program: The Mentorship for Environmental Scholars (MES) Program is a nine-week paid summer internship that provides exposure to laboratory research in the areas of biotechnology, computer science, environmental science and engineering to underrepresented college students. The MES program actively recruits qualified undergraduates from MIs for extensive training that will pilot them towards gainful employment in various research and management positions within the Department of Energy (DOE).

More information: http://www.uncfsp.org/spknowledge/default.aspx?page=program.view&areaid=1&contentid=178&typeid=mesinternship

Ecology in Context: Independent Research in Ecology for Undergraduates

The institution: Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Millbrook, New York

The program: Ten undergraduate students will join the Cary Institute research community in 2009 to complete a research project of their own design; be a part of an exciting research community; work closely with leading ecologists; exchange ideas with a diverse group of students, scientists and educators; have access to state of the art facilities; explore ecology career options and rewards; see how ecological research has an impact on our society.

The program emphasizes the community nature of the scientific enterprise, fosters reflection and builds self confidence and skills. To complement their mentored research, students have many chances to interact, give and receive feedback and support, and participate in a rich assortment of enrichment activities, workshops and field trips.

  • 26 May - 14 August 2009

  • $5,100 stipend, plus $600 allowance for food and free housing in Bacon Flats Lodge

  • Some assistance is available for travel to and from the program as well.


  • Undergraduate freshmen, sophomores, juniors or first semester seniors.

  • U.S. Citizen

Application deadline: 1 February 2009

More information: http://www.ecostudies.org/reu.html

REU at SICB 2009 in Boston: Science in the snow

Two UTPA students in the REU program traveled out to Boston to the annual Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting to present their REU research.

On the bus to do a little sightseeing and shopping before the meeting. You normally don't see southern Texas women this bundled up... L to R: HHMI student Sakshi Puri, REU student Stephanie Jimenez, and REU student Ashley Longoria.

Shopping accomplished (note bags), now on to the sightseeing. Visiting Harvard University. L to R: Ashley, Sakshi, REU overlord Zen Faulkes, and Stephanie.

Ashley talking to a customer in front of her poster at the Monday poster session.

Stephanie explaining her crayfish to an visitor on Monday.

At the airport, ready to head back home after a successful and fun conference. L to R: Sakshi, Ashley, and Stephanie.

Stephanie's had enough!