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Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program

Program Features

The REU Site Program in the Division of Biology at Kansas State University has been structured to include activities that will contribute to the professional development of the participants as young scientists.  Highlights of our summer program include:
  • 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 Librarythe 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.
Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to come to Manhattan, Kansas for the summer program.  Each student will receive a travel reimbursement of up to $500 to help cover costs of travel.  If participants live in a nearby state, the best travel option is usually to bring a personal vehicle for the duration of the summer.  It is possible to travel by train to the Amtrack station in Topeka, and then take a shuttle to Manhattan.  If traveling a long distance, the least expensive arrangement is usually to fly.  Manhattan has a small regional airport (MHK) with direct flights from Chicago and Dallas (American Airlines).  Another option is to fly into the international airport in Kansas City, Missouri (MCI), and then arrange shuttle service to Manhattan on the KCI Roadrunner (about a 3 hour trip).


Specific Program Features:

Significant Financial Support
Participants in the REU program will receive a stipend of $5,250 for the 10-week program, a meal allowance, reimbursement of travel expenses up to $500, and a $600 allowance for consumable research supplies. During their stay at KSU, REU participants will be housed adjacent to campus. Accommodations are fully furnished and contain shared kitchen facilities, separate washrooms for men and women, and laundry facilities. REU participants will have access to the on-campus resources of KSU, including Hale Librarythe Lafene student health centerthe Peters Recreation Complex, and a range of university-sponsored social programs. If an REU participants works on their project for additional weeks outside of the regular 10-week period, housing is available at Konza Prairie and housing costs will be covered by the REU program. If possible, their research stipend will be supplemented by their mentor. Participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements to and from Manhattan, Kansas at the start and end of the summer program.


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. 

Ethics Training

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.