REU Site: Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates in Water Resources
This is a continuation of the Environmental Science theme of a previous REU at the University of Idaho, with but focus on water resources topics. The term "water resources" means: the study of how water moves through and interacts with natural systems, and the physical, social, and economic aspects of human and ecosystem interaction with the water cycle. The overall goal is to involve 10 undergraduates each summer for three years, with at least 70% from underrepresented groups (women and ethnic minorities), in a nine-week summer research experience that inspires them to proceed into graduate study and to enter water resources careers. To achieve this, the Site will provide undergraduates with water resources research experiences that develop students' skills in scientific methods, and equipment and instrumentation use; lead students to greater independence in pursuing their research interests; assist qualified students with under-realized potential in cultivating their capabilities; offer students professional development and teamwork training through shared activities. The project team includes several NSF-sponsored researchers who solve complex problems of current significance in well-instrumented experimental watersheds using leading-edge tools and techniques. Participants in this REU Site program gain first-hand insights into scientific procedures while earning a competitive edge in entering and successfully completing graduate programs and successful careers in water resources. They will achieve this by selecting and participating in research projects under the direction of faculty competitively funded by NSF, USDA, USGS, and NOAA. REU students participate as team members in their mentor's research group. Students also develop collegial relationships as an REU group by participating together in scholarly and recreational activities, such as weekly REU research forums and lunches with professional and academic role models, an "ethics-in-science" workshop, and weekend field trips led by faculty mentors. The students will rotate into other labs for a minimum of one day each to interact academically with their peers. The plan is to have at least 70% from underrepresented groups (women and ethnic minorities), with 50% from ethnic minorities (up from an overall average of 25% for the existing REU Site); at least 80% of the students in each year's cohort from non-PhD-granting institutions (up from the 70% overall average for the existing REU Site); at least 50% of each year's participants co-author publications and/or present their research at national conferences.