Students Encouraged to Apply for the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates

Article by: Louise Jett,
EAST ALTON – The Center for American Archeology (CAA), National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC℠ ) and Illinois State Museum (ISM) are pleased to announce the first year of the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) site.

This NSF-REU site will provide students with interdisciplinary research experiences in archeological and ecological sciences. Participants will gain practical experiences in archeology and ecology field research, data collection and analytic methods, and will generate an original research poster that presents their results to public and scientific communities.

“This NSF-REU site is a great opportunity for undergraduate students to experience what it is like to conduct original, scientific research while receiving a monetary stipend,” said the program’s principle investigator and CAA research associate Carol E. Colaninno. “Participants will work one-on-one with professional researchers in a dynamic learning environment. This truly is an exceptional opportunity for undergraduate students interested in archeology, ecology and related sciences.”

From June 15 to August 7, 2015, students will investigate temporal changes within the environments of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, with a specific focus on fish communities, to more fully understand the longevity of anthropogenic interactions within these environments.

Ecological sampling will be held at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers. Laboratory analysis will be conducted at the CAA, NGRREC℠ and the ISM.

“We are really excited about this opportunity,” NGRREC℠ Education Manager Natalie Marioni said. “This is the first National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates award that we’ve received, and we are very pleased to be able to target students who might not have many research opportunities through their academic institutions.”

While participating in this REU site, students will reside at the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville, Illinois. Archeological fieldwork will be conducted at the Golden Eagle site, the only prehistoric site with an enclosing embankment in the Illinois River Valley.

Applicants should be entering their sophomore, junior or senior year of their undergraduate studies in Fall 2015 with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0). Although all students will receive full consideration, preference will be given to students enrolled in community colleges and four-year, non-research institutions. Students graduating in the spring or summer of 2015 are not eligible for this NSF site.

Applicants should have an interest in interdisciplinary research, archeology, and ecology. Although students will engage mostly in archeological and ecological research, undergraduates with interests in biology, biochemistry, environmental sciences, fisheries sciences, wildlife management, anthropology, and paleosciences are encouraged to apply and will greatly benefit from the educational programming of this REU site.

Participants will receive a weekly stipend of $400 per week for eight weeks. Throughout the course of the program rooms will be provided at no cost. Students are also provided three meals a day Monday through Friday and breakfast and lunch on Saturdays.

Students will receive local transportation to and from various field and laboratory sites and supplied with the required field and laboratory equipment. Students will also receive $300 in travel funds to present their research at the Midwest Archaeological Conference and/or the Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

The application deadline is Monday, April 20, 2015. For more information, including how to apply, visit

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