Costa Rica Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)
The current 10-week summer program begins May 25, 2020. Students spend the first two weeks on the campus of Texas A&M University (TAMU) preparing for their research, followed by 5 weeks in Costa Rica engaged in active research, and then returning to Texas for the last 3 weeks on campus to finalize projects and present their results at a campus-wide undergraduate research symposium. There are also opportunities to present their research at a national meeting later in the year. Stipends provide financial support for the extent of the program, and all program-related travel expenses are covered by NSF.
REU students will be admitted to TAMU as non-degree seeking students and will be eligible for a wide range of student services across the university. While in College Station at the beginning and end of the program, students will have full access to the outstanding research facilities, computer laboratories, and library at TAMU. Students will be housed in university dormitories on main campus and provided working space in the home departments of their mentors. There will be opportunities to meet and interact with graduate students and other researchers from programs outside the REU. The Office of Undergraduate Research (UGR) and College of Engineering (COE) also organize enrichment activities for all REUs at TAMU that will be available for our participants.
To be eligible for this REU opportunity, undergraduate students must:
- be US citizens or permanent residents
- 18 years of age or older on March 1, 2020
- be eligible to have a passport that is valid for 6 months past the REU summer
- minimum 12 credits at the end of Fall/2019, 12 credits to be taken in Spring/2020, and continually enrolled beyond summer 2020 and expect to graduate no earlier than December 2020
- major in the earth or environmental sciences, engineering, or a related field and (preferably) have taken at least 1 earth science course or 1 physical science course, and if pre-engineering, have taken Calc 1
- demonstrate interest in hydrology, ecology or climatology
- have a minimum grade point average of 3.0
Please note that collecting data in the rainforest can be physically challenging, with frequent long-distance hikes over steep and slippery terrain. Accommodations for students with disabilities can be requested. All housing facilities are ADA compliant.
This internship program generously supports participant's finances, such that no one should be excluded due to financial concerns. Accepted students will received a $600 per week stipend for all 10 weeks and will have all program-related travel and accommodation expenses covered. The program will also cover travel expenses to Texas, and accommodations while in College Station. The program does not cover meals (on and off-campus) while in Texas or off-campus extracurricular activities in Costa Rica, such as zip lining, adventure tours, white water rafting, etc.
The participants selected to be involved with the REU will meet at the College Station campus of Texas A&M University for 2 weeks to:
- prepare a small research proposal with their research mentor (see recent Field Projects)
- prepare field and laboratory equipment
- participate in seminars delivered by the faculty mentors on research methods and field safety
The students will then travel as a group to the Soltis Center for Research and Education in central Costa Rica where they will work with their faculty mentors. Daily activities will vary, but most days are spent in the forest, rain or shine. While at the field station, students will extend their learning through discussions hosted by the participating faculty on hydrology, biogeography, climatology, geomorphology, ecohydrology and tropical environments, and field and laboratory methods. There will be several field trips as well, to meet local experts, learn about local land management practices, farming (coffee, sugarcane, chocolate, pineapple), water management (dams and water infrastructure), and ecotourism.
At the completion of the field study (weeks 8 to 10), students will return to College Station to complete their analysis, write reports, and present their preliminary research findings at a dedicated research symposium.
Soltis Center for Research and Education
The REU students and faculty mentors will spend 5 weeks at the Soltis Center for Research and Education in central Costa Rica. The Center is located in San Juan de San Isidro de Peñas Blancas, about a two and a half hour drive northwest of San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica, and half hour away from the tourist town of La Fortuna. The facility and property were donated to Texas A&M University by former student Charles William Soltis and his wife Wanda Soltis.
The facility sits on 40 acres and is adjacent to 250 acres of cloud forest with primary and secondary growth. The property adjoins more than 110,000 acres of cloud forest that are part of the Bosque Eterno de los Ninos Reserve and the Zona Protectora Arenal-Monteverde. The Zona Protectora Arenal-Monteverde extends to the Center through a forest corridor that descends in elevation from 1800 meters above sea level at Monteverde to 450 meters at the Center.
The facility provides dormitories, laboratories, classrooms, and other modern amenities to support research, education and outreach activities. Specifically, the facility is centered around the Bill and Wanda Soltis Academic Building, which includes a cafeteria and multipurpose room, laundry room, wet and dry labs and 3 classrooms that are equipped with wireless internet and video conferencing. Directly behind the academic building are 8 dormitories that provide housing for up to 60 students and faculty.
Click here for weather conditions
*Note: This nearest functioning station is an hour and a half away. There will be some slight variations.
For further inquiry about the REU requirements and selection process, please contact Dr. Georgianne Moore or Dr. Kelly Brumbelow through the following e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and we look forward in reviewing your application!