- Opportunities to conduct independent ecological research projects under the guidance of experienced researchers working in ecology, evolutionary biology, and genomics.
- Multiple opportunities to present research results in both informal and formal settings.
- A summer stipend of $5,250 and for the duration of the 10-week program.
- A research budget of $800 for consumable supplies used for the summer research project.
- Accommodation for the duration of the 10-week program in furnished housing. A meal allowance will also be provided.
- Access to the university resources of Kansas State University, including Hale Library, the Lafene student health center, and the Peters Recreation Complex.
- Access to a vehicle for the duration of the program for field trips, commuting to Konza Prairie, and other REU-related local travel.
- Extended dates if students need to start early or continue sampling outside of the scheduled 10-week program.
Specific Program Features:
Significant Financial Support
Conduct Independent Research in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
A major objective of the REU Program is to give undergraduate students an opportunity to conduct independent research. Mentors for the REU Program have expertise in a broad range of ecological and evolutionary disciplines. Visit the proposed summer projects to see specific projects that would be available to students participating in the REU Site program.
A Dynamic Program Schedule
The 10-week REU program is designed to accommodate the different academic schedules of institutions on semester and quarter systems, but this format can be somewhat restrictive. To give the program additional flexibility, incoming students can arrive earlier or depart later if their project would benefit from additional work outside of the regular 10-week period during June to August. Flexible program dates assist REU participants by giving them additional time for their research projects and by allowing them to work with study systems that are constrained by the seasonal phenology of events on the tallgrass prairie. For example, seasonal peaks in reproductive activity among amphibians and grassland birds usually occur in late May, and flowering of some grassland plants does not occur until late August and early September. If special arrangements are needed, participants should discuss the details with their faculty mentor and make plans in advance with help from the REU Program Coordinators.
Weekly Research Seminars
The instructional component of the REU program will consist of a weekly seminar series in the study of ecology and evolutionary biology in changing environments. Participants will meet as a group once a week on Thursday afternoons. Each week, we will have faculty mentors present research seminars on topics related to activities important for the development as a scientist. REU participants will also attend the annual EGI research forum at the end of June, where they will receive an overview of ongoing research projects in ecological genomics at K-State.
Professional Development Seminars
The KSU Biology REU partners with the KSU Graduate School to deliver seminars on professional development on Monday afternoons that are offered to all undergraduates conducting summer research projects at K-State. Seminar topics will include workshops on preparation for standardized exams such as the GRE, advice on how to apply to graduate school, sources of funding for graduate studies, workshops on preparation of a resume or curriculum vitae, and related topics.
A foundation in research ethics is critical for undergraduates in the sciences. Training in responsible conduct of research (RCR) will include seminars outlining the legal and ethical responsibilities of university researchers, the importance of research compliance, and REU participants' responsibilities as researchers with specific focus on biological research, including a discussion of regulations for animal care, use of human subjects, and hazardous waste. REU participants will complete the necessary permits for their work, including enrollment in the Occupational Health and Safety Program for students working with vertebrates and application for site use permits at Konza Prairie Biological Station. Ethics training will include a panel discussion with biology faculty (mainly REU mentors) focused on case studies and mentors' own experiences in dealing with research ethics.
Participation in the Annual Research Symposium
At the conclusion of the summer program, REU participants will give formal presentations of their research results. The format of the Research Symposium is the same as a national scientific meeting: it will be held in a lecture hall and moderated by the program coordinators. Using multimedia facilities, each student will give a 10-12 minute presentation, followed by a 3-5 minute question period. Preparation of formal research results is a valuable experience which contributes to the professional development of the REU participants as young scientists. The symposium disseminates research results of the REU projects to colleagues in the Division of Biology, to the university community, and to the general public. The research symposium is widely advertised on campus, to conservation groups, and docents involved with environmental education of K-12 students, including Friends of Konza Prairie. In the past, the symposium has been well attended with an audience of 40-60 people.