Environmental Studies

Summer Research

Gain Research Skills. Further Department Goals.

We are looking forward to another summer of undergraduate research.
  • Open to students in all majors and minors.
  • Application: apply by Friday, Feb 9

2024 Positions

Title: Phenology Research

Supervisor: Troy Knight
Full-time (40-hours/week, 10 weeks), in-person position on campus
Compensation: Approx. $6000

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, Sustainability, and Climate Change

Supervisor: Joe Storlien
Full-time (40-hours/week, 10 weeks), in-person position on campus
Compensation: Approx. $6000

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 2024 will likely include a mixture of field and laboratory work, with some additional focus on drafting a publication from previous data. An additional small germination study will evaluate the success of peat-alternative growing media for seed starting. 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. Students should have an interest in science, biology, and global climate change and be able to perform work in either indoor or outdoor settings.
Qualifications: Completion of ENVR 175 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: Native Renewable Energy

Supervisor: Corrie Grosse
Remote and self-directed
Part-time (up to 100 hours), remote position
Compensation: Approx. $1500

Description: Support research on Native-led renewable energy projects. Help edit transcripts of interviews with Native Leaders in the renewable energy field. 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 skills are important. Passion for the topi is preferred.
Time Commitment: Part-time, up to 100 hours, flexible schedule.

College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Dr. Derek Larson
Chair, Environmental Studies
SJU Peter Engel 235

Jennifer Kutter
Department Coordinator
SJU Peter Engel 201

[email protected]