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Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates

Honeybee rests on an apple leaf, a weather station is seen in a row of apple trees, a lady beetle rests on an apple. Text reads: Sustainability, Technology, Food.

Engaging Undergraduates in Research and Extension Training using Technology and Experiential Learning to Enhance Sustainability of Food Production Systems

Summer Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates Internship with the UMass Extension Fruit Team

Undergraduate students at public universities and community colleges are often unaware of the depth and breadth of University Extension programs and their unique role in in connecting scientific research with public education, programs, and services. Cross-disciplinary research and Extension experience can greatly enhance undergraduate education by positioning students for professional careers or for pursuing advanced science degrees. 

This internship opportunity brings together a multidisciplinary team of researchers and Extension professionals from UMass Amherst to support undergraduate research and Extension training for a technology-enhanced agricultural science, applied research and Extension. We emphasize connecting research with practice in ways that support and promote the sustainability of local food production systems.

The successful applicants will have the opportunity to participate in the following program activities

  • Professional-development workshops
  • Field trips to local partner research institutions and farms
  • Networking and collaboration with other UMass interns, research, and Extension programs (CAFE summer scholars, 4-H ambassadors’ program)
  • Training in scientific communication and public education
  • Presentations at local research symposia and stakeholder engagement sessions

Internship Benefits

Through USDA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Education and Workforce Development Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) grant program, 8 internships will be offered each year through the 2026 growing season. These are 15-week full-time paid internships.

Program mentors include faculty and staff from UMass Extension and the Stockbridge School of Agriculture. Projects will involve research at UMass laboratories and apple research and public education conducted at UMass Extension field stations and on commercial farms providing access to unique experiences and collaborative opportunities for integrating and advancing science and public education.  REEU interns will evaluate perennial cropping systems, analyze soil health, monitor pest and diseases and mange automated weather stations The design and implementation of customized stakeholder workshops will help interns develop and advance communication skills especially regarding the translation of science for public use.

Eligibility

REEU applicants must be:

Currently enrolled undergraduate students

Students between high school and undergraduate are NOT eligible to apply

Must NOT graduate before fall 2022

Graduating seniors or recent graduates are not eligible to apply

Able to participate from May 16, 2022, to August 26, 2022

The REEU program is particularly interested in engaging students who currently lack research opportunities, and/or are from groups traditionally underrepresented in the biological sciences. The University of Massachusetts values diversity and is committed to equal opportunity in all its programs.

Transportation assistance will be available for commuting on a case-by-case basis.

Questions about eligibility can be emailed to egarofal@umass.edu

The University of Massachusetts, Amherst prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, sex, age, marital status, national origin, mental or physical disability, political belief or affiliation, pregnancy and pregnancy related condition(s), veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, genetic information and any other class of individuals protected from discrimination under state or federal law in any aspect of the access to, admission, or treatment of students in its programs and activities, or in employment and application for employment. Furthermore, University policy prohibits harassment of students and employees, i.e., racial harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation for filing complaints of discrimination.

Application

Before you begin your application, we suggest speaking with an advisor who will take the time to understand your interests, plans and goals and who can help you decide if this internship is a good fit.

The following documents are necessary for an application to be considered complete: 

Cover letter

Resume

Two professional or academic references (with name, email address, and institutional affiliation)

One letter of recommendation from everyone you list as a reference. Please be sure to inform references they will be contacted by the hiring manager and asked to send letters of recommendation directly to egarofal@umass.edu

Applicants have until April 20, 2022, to submit application packages, references will have until end of business April 23 to submit letters of recommendation.

Attach unofficial or official college/university transcripts with other application documents

All documents must be submitted as a PDF. Please include last name and date of submission in the file title. 

Timeline

Deadline April 20, 2022, midnight EST applications close

Early April: mentors will interview potential applicants

Mid/Late April: offers are sent out. Those not selected will be notified by the end of April.

To learn more about this progect, click this link to view the PDF.

This work is supported by Agricultural and Food Research Initiative grant no. 2022-67037-36619 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture