REU Site: Interdisciplinary Approach to Challenges posed by Invasive Species
A Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site award has been made to the Center for Research on Invasive Species and Small Populations (CRISSP) at the University of Idaho. The project will provide training for 10 students for 9 weeks during the summers of 2012- 2014. The program focuses on 1) threats posed by invasive species to natural and agricultural resources; 2) conservation challenges confronting small or declining populations of native species; and 3) connections between these two issue areas. Student research takes an interdisciplinary, team-based approach with faculty mentors representing diverse disciplines from multiple departments and two colleges. Projects facilitate development of critical laboratory, field and data analysis skills while providing opportunity for interaction among students from different disciplines working under shared research themes. In addition to conducting research, students will participate in weekly seminars and workshops designed to enhance understanding of interdisciplinary research, career/graduate school preparation, critical thinking, natural resource economics, and ethics. Students have access to the laboratories of faculty mentors as well as many shared facilities such as the Geospatial Laboratory for Environmental Dynamics, the Idaho Stable Isotopes Laboratory, and the Laboratory for Ecological, Evolutionary and Conservation Genetics. Recruitment is through NSF-REU and UI websites, as well as direct contacts with institutions serving diverse student bodies. Faculty encourage applications from students from underrepresented groups through close collaboration with colleagues at Native American colleges and by working directly with the University Office of Multicultural Affairs, Native American Center, and Tribal Liaison. Students are selected based on academic record and potential to successfully complete research in a team-setting. Students' progress in academic programs, applications for graduate school or other professional opportunities, and preparation of scientific papers or presentations is monitored. Facebook is used to facilitate communication among faculty and REU alumni. Progress towards the project goals is assessed through metrics such as student degree completion, number of graduate school applications in STEM fields, as well as use of an REU common assessment tool. More information is available by visiting (http://www.cnr.uidaho.edu/crissp/reugrant.htm), or by contacting the PI (Dr. Janet Rachlow at firstname.lastname@example.org) or the co-PI (Dr. Jodi Johnson-Maynard at email@example.com).