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The Fruits of this Summer’s Labor: Research and Extension Experiences for Undergrads 2022

Extension Educator Jon Clements helping impart a module on the use of Pesticides in commercial orchards.
November 1, 2022

The summer of 2022 was a busy and productive one for the inaugural Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) program. REEU is a program under the Stockbridge School and Agriculture (SSA) in partnership with UMass Extension and is currently funded to run through 2026. It aims to provide research training, professional development, and Extension experience to undergraduate students while reaching out to community colleges through paid full-time summer internships.

This summer, five interns --with a range of academic interests from biochemistry, plant and soil sciences, and political science-- engaged in vigorous independent research, learning modules led by Extension faculty, and field days at UMass facilities and farms across Massachusetts. 

I know that this summer’s experience will stick with me as I find myself inspired to pursue science and research further in the field of agricultural entomology,” said Matthew Bley, incoming UMass M.S. student.

After nearly four months of career-enhancing experiences, this year’s cohort shared their work at a student research symposium, organized by REEU student coordinators Zoe Robinson and Mateo Rull Garza and overseen by Dr. Jaime Piñero (SSA). In attendance were friends and family of the REEU 2022 group, as well as faculty, staff, and students from Stockbridge School of Agriculture, UMass Extension, and the Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment, many of whom were directly involved with imparting workshops, experimental modules, or guest lectures throughout the REEU program.

At the symposium, interns presented research on a wide variety of important topics such as sustainable orchard pest management, enhancement of fruit-growing practices, and the social challenges that migrant farmworkers face in Massachusetts. 

I really enjoyed finally seeing everyone in the same room sharing research and insight,” said Hayley Kozikowsky, REEU alumni and current research intern at Pinero Lab. “Rarely do I meet such a sizable group of people listening to each other so closely, asking so many thought-provoking questions with genuine, raw curiosity."

Recordings of REEU student presentations are available on the 2022 REEU Symposium YouTube Playlist.

Applications for next year’s internships opens in late November and can be found on the newly-launched REEU webpage.