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Cary Institute’s REU Program in Translational Ecology in 2021 will give 12 students an intensive, mentored, independent research experience in ecology to:

  1. Support learning of ecology, research skills, linkages of ecology to broader society and translational ecology
  2. Foster personal, social and professional development of students as they build identities as scholars, translators of ecology and productive members of the scientific community
  3. Support reflective practice and collaboration in their professional work
  4. Help make informed choices and succeed in their careers
  5. Contribute to ecology by preparing a diverse, talented and enthusiastic next generation of scientists, while making important discoveries in ecology and undergraduate research.

Participating students and mentor scientists work with program leaders to define specific goals for themselves, their research projects and the program each year, building on the goals listed below.

Student Goals

Goals for students in the 2021 Cary REU program encompass five dimensions:

Students gain knowledge in

  • Core ecology & human-environment interaction concepts, & cross-cutting themes from the Ecological Society of America’s Four Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) Framework (Klemow et al. 2019).
  • Ecology career path options.
  • Translational ecology applications to problem solving, policy & management.

Students become proficient in skills including

  • Six ecology practices from the Ecological Society of America’s Four Dimensional Ecology Education (4DEE) Framework
    • Natural history approach
    • Field work
    • Designing & critiquing investigations
    • Data literacy & modeling
    • Collaboration & teamwork
    • Translational ecology & communication
  • Virtual learning & networking

Students grow in the social dimension of doing science, including

  • Skills at being a good mentee & team member
  • Connections to peers, advisors, advocates

Students develop attitudes to support their professional attainment including

  • Interest, confidence & motivation in ecology
  • Identity & sense of belonging in science & ecology
  • Interest, confidence & motivation in collaboration & translational ecology

Students make concrete achievements, including

  • Complete a Cary REU research paper
  • Share results of their research with others
  • Complete undergraduate studies
  • Make informed decisions about graduate study & a career in science
  • Use their Cary REU experience in the future

Mentor Goals

Goals for mentors in the 2021 Cary REU program include:

  • Develop & test new methods, collect useful data, &/or conduct analyses that help advance the field & their research programs.
  • Build positive relationships with a diversity of students that could continue into the future.
  • Build their interest & ability in mentoring in research & professional development.
  • Experience the satisfaction of making a positive difference in diverse students’ lives.

Programmatic Goals

The 2021 Cary REU program contributes to the field of ecology as we:

  • Engage a diverse group of students – by race, background, type of school, career interest, & perspective – in the field.
  • Provide innovative & effective training for a new generation of translational ecologists.
  • Contribute to understanding roles of research experience in undergraduate learning & vocational development, emphasizing 4DEE.
  • Instill a sense of connection to Cary Institute & our approach to ecological inquiry, collaboration & translational ecology.