2021 Summer Undergraduate Research

Gain Research Skills. Further Department Goals.

We are looking forward to welcoming full-time undergraduate researchers back in-person this summer. We are also looking into offering some part-time virtual summer work as well.

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

Summer Research Application Form

Full-Time Positions Available - apply by March 24

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 2021 will likely include a mixture of field, laboratory, 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 2021. 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 common environmental and plant growth sensors.
    Time Commitment: Full-time, on-campus residence for 10 weeks (400 hours total). Work will begin in late May and finish by early August.

Part-Time, Virtual Positions

Title: Research Assistant
Supervisor: Corrie Grosse
Part-time (40-60 hours total), virtual but access to on-campus resources helpful
Compensation: Approx. $450-700
  • Description: Student research fellow will assist with multiple aspects of research projects, including transcription of films with time stamps, relabeling and organizing files for Line 3 research project, review and improve PDF files of course readings, and other administrative/organization tasks for Dr. Grosse.
    Qualifications: Completion of ENVR 150 preferred. Fellow must be able to work independently.
    Time Commitment: Part-time, virtual positiong. It would be ideal for this researcher to be in the St. Joseph area in order to utilize the library and scanner. It is possible for the researcher to be remote and adjust work expectations accordingly.