REU Site Summary

The White Mountain Research Center REU site seeks to build on our program that links nationally recruited undergraduates with accomplished academic scientists. Students work in the unique and challenging environment of the Eastern Sierra Region of California and utilize four lab facilities at different elevations in the White Mountains. The WMRS REU site encompasses a wide spectrum of environmental biology research ranging from paleobiology to landscape ecology. These investigations will continue to expose students to a suite of related research projects while allowing each student to independently explore a particular question in depth. A strength of our program has been a series of education and discussion sessions that include all REU students. Weeklong orientations at the beginning of the program introduce research projects, provide students with knowledge of the area and appropriate mountain skills, and build cohesion. Weekly full-day meetings with all students are led by the PIs and other faculty mentors and discuss research progress for each student, and introduce key scientific concepts. These weekly gatherings thus include aspects of both a graduate-level discussion course and a laboratory meeting and result in increased teamwork as students become interested in the other REU projects. Students thus learn about collaboration and often assist each other with field and laboratory work creating a positive synergism for the entire program.

Post-evaluation Quotes

“Thank you for the summer of my life. I've never learned so much, or enjoyed my days so fully.”

“Science Fridays were wonderful in putting what I was doing into perspective of the world of research and helped me understand how to approach the field. Also, I really enjoyed the design of the program where mentors guided, but also allowed wide ranges of personal adaptation and creativity in performing our research. I liked the independence in a structured environment.”

“The casual nature of the mentors was great because they created a non-intimidating atmosphere where questions could be explored freely regarding science, research, and life in general.”

From our 2005 Puerto Rican students:

“This kind of experience helps me to decide what I like and what kind of scientific I want to be in a future. It’s an honor for me been part of this program. I like that the advisors were always available to help us
in our project but always let us been independent and work for ourselves.”

“I think that the best thing about the REU program is that it helped me understand a lot more about the research environment. I always knew I wanted to be a scientist, but now I feel a lot more secure about going into the field. I feel more prepared for applying to graduate school. If I had the chance to come back next year, I would definitely come again!!!”