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“The Best Summer of My Life”: Undergraduates Research Environmental Issues Facing the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin

“The Best Summer of My Life”: Undergraduates Research Environmental Issues Facing the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin

A summer 2009 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) grant from the National Science Foundation brought together twelve students selected from around the nation to work with an interdisciplinary team of UNR professors, researchers, and GBI staff on issues ranging from the Asian clams invading Lake Tahoe to differing perceptions of wildfire risk in Nevada communities. The ten-week program, “Lake Tahoe to Pyramid Lake: Natural Resource Issues in the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin Regions,” paired students with research mentors on several ongoing projects. Working in the Lake Tahoe-Truckee River-Pyramid Lake watershed, teams investigated water quality, measured invasive species, analyzed landscapes, surveyed water management, and studied links between resource policies and socioeconomics (click here for REU research projects). The student researchers gained valuable training in project development, data collection and analysis, and how to present research findings. A well-attended poster session gave students the chance to share their work with UNR’s research community. “Participating in the REU program,” said one student, “has been a wonderful, viewpoint-changing experience. I gained a lot of confidence as a biologist. I see more options for myself in the future.” Another simply said, “Best summer of my life.” Awarded jointly to UNR’s Academy for the Environment and the Great Basin Institute, the REU jumpstarted research that all are excited to see continue. Recruitment for the summer 2010 REU program will begin in the spring. For more information, please contact Lynn Zimmerman.

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