2022 Summer Undergraduate Research

Gain Research Skills. Further Department Goals.

We are looking forward to another summer of undergraduate research. Full-time, part-time, in-person, and virtual options available.

Review the list and descriptions of available positions below. Open to students in all majors/minors.

Summer Research Application Form

Positions Available - apply by 4:00 p.m. February 25

Title: Phenology Research
Supervisor: Troy Knight
Full-time (40-hours/week), in-person position on campus
Compensation: Approx. $6000 (total includes 10-week housing stipend)
  • Description: Student research fellow will work on two projects monitoring the phenology (timing of life history events) of prairie flowers, frogs and toads in Saint John's Abbey Arboretum. The work is part of a long-term monitoring project to better understand local environmental change as it relates to climate change. The fellow can expect to spend two days a week in the field conducting a "phenology walk" recording plants in flower on a set route through the Arboretum. The fellow will spend the other half of their time on analysis of audio recordings of frogs and toads collected from the Arboretum. This will require listening to and creating spectrographs from audio recordings made in the Arboretum over the last four years. Some field work will also be involved with maintaining the audio recorders.
    Qualifications: Completion of ENVR 275 preferred. Fellow must be able to work independently.
    Skills Developed: Plant identification; Learning specialized software for audio recording analysis; Database construction for large multi-year research projects; Familiarization with calls of various frog and toad species in the Abbey Arboretum.
    Time Commitment: Full-time, on-campus residence for 10 weeks (400 hours total), late May to early August.
Title: Soils and Climate Change
Supervisor: Joe Storlien
Full-time (40-hours/week), in-person position on campus
Compensation: Approx. $6000 (total includes 10-week housing stipend)
  • Description: Student fellow will work on the study of drivers of global climate change in soil ecosystems. Soils play a unique role in global climate change issues as they may serve as either a net source or sink of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, depending upon how they are managed. Dr. Storlien has a collaborative project with the USDA-ARS in Morris, MN to evaluate sustainability aspects of winter camelina and pennycress production. Work in 2022 will likely include a major laboratory project with potential field and greenhouse components. Student experiences will include review of scientific literature, learning soil & greenhouse gas sampling techniques, gaining knowledge of plant production & management, and organization & analysis of quantitative data. This fellow will have the opportunity to work on a range of projects with a large, collaborative team and produce research worthy of presentation at Scholarship & Creativity Day as well as a potential national conference in Fall 2022. Students should have an interest in science, agriculture, and global climate change and be able to perform work in either indoor or outdoor settings.
    Qualifications: Completion of ENVR 275 preferred. Fellow must be able to work independently.
    Skills Developed: Soil trace gas measurement techniques using cutting-edge technology (mobile-FTIR); Field characterization of soils and their suitability to support specific vegetation; Identification and propagation of common agronomic weeds and cash crops; Familiarization with scientific literature review and synthesis.
    Time Commitment: Full-time, on-campus residence for 10 weeks (400 hours total). Work will begin in late May and finish by early August.
Title: BIPOC-Led Renewable Energy
Supervisor: Corrie Grosse
In-Person or Virtual and self-directed; full or part-time options depending on student availability
Compensation: up to approx. $4,200 (up to 400 hours) if virtual; approx. $6000 (includes 10-week housing stipend) if full-time/in-person
  • Description: One or more students will support research on BIPOC-led renewable energy projects, particularly Native-led renewables in the United States. Create a database of all BIPOC-led renewable energy projects occurring in each state and Native nation in the United States. The database will include annotated bibliographies of news articles, government documents, and other media. Conduct academic literature searches, input sources into EndNote, and write annotated bibliographies of the academic literature. The goal of the project is to assess the state of play of BIPOC-led renewable energy, serve as the foundation for an academic review article on this topic (with potential for co-authorship with Dr. Grosse and Ph.D. student Brigid Mark), and inform Dr. Grosse's research design for her next book project on Native-led renewable energy. Additional administrative and organization tasks related to research and teaching may also be assigned.
    Qualifications: This position will be remote and requires a student who is self-directed and comfortable working independently. High quality writing and expertise with EndNote, or enthusiasm for learning these skills, are important. Passion for the topic is preferred.
    Time Commitment: Part or full-time, up to 400 hours.