Updates for Summer 2015 coming soon

Many details currently appearing on this site are still for Summer 2014. By mid-November we'll have our Summer 2015 updates in place, ready for you to browse and apply!

REU in Water in the Earth System

Join our program and work with faculty and grad students to explore earth, air, and water! 

Pending Funding

Earth sciences field work

2014 Dates and Stipend

Start: June 2, 2014
End: August 6, 2014
Stipend: $5,000

Contact Info

Dr. Mindi Searls
Research Assistant Professor


Who Should Apply

Related majors and areas

  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Civil Engineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Sciences/Studies
  • Geosciences
  • Meterology
  • Natural Resource Sciences
  • Physics


Participation in the Nebraska Summer Research Program is limited to students who meet the following criteria:
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Current undergraduate with at least one semester of coursework remaining before obtaining a bachelor's degree
For more information, refer to the eligibility page.

How to Apply

Steps and Required Items

To apply, follow these application steps to submit the following materials.

Application Timeline

  • Fri., Nov. 15, 2013 — Application opens
  • Sat., Feb. 1, 2014 — Priority deadline
  • Mon., Feb. 17, 2014 — Application deadline
  • Sat., Mar. 15, 2014 — Decisions complete
See more timeline information.

Events and Benefits

Program Events

  • Campus and department orientation
  • Department seminars and presentations
  • Professional development workshops (e.g., applying to graduate school, taking the GRE)
  • Welcome picnic
  • Day trip to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
  • Canoe and camping trip
  • Research symposium


  • Competitive stipend
  • Double-occupancy room and meal plan
  • Travel expenses to and from Lincoln
  • Campus parking and/or bus pass
  • Full access to the Campus Recreation Center and campus library system
  • Wireless internet access
Learn more about academic and financial benefits.

Research and Mentors

Earth sciences field work 2

The summer research program in Water in the Earth System is administered by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. The SROP was established in 2012.

Students work with faculty mentors and conduct cutting-edge research related to water.  Projects range from water resourcing, microbial community structures, and predator-prey interactions to water contamination and glacial flow on Mars. This research can be applied to real-world challenges in environmental sciences and prepare scholars for future endeavors studying the earth, air, and water. Individual projects are designed to be completed within the 10-week timeframe of the summer program.

The primary objective of our SROP is to support and develop summer scholars into independent researchers. As such, the format of the research activities is designed around the development of research skills, interaction with interdisciplinary research teams, and opportunities to present research findings.

2014 Mentors and Projects

School of Natural Resources
Remediating Contaminated Soil and Water.
The REU participant will develop second and third generation oxidant candles and then test their ability to treat a variety of contaminants. Through these experiences, undergraduate students will learn water chemistry and soil science principles and become trained in the procedures used to remediate contaminated soil and water.Read more about this project
Biological Sciences
Predator-prey Interactions and Population Scaling
This summer, REU participants will study predator-prey interactions and population scaling patterns in the lab using protists in aquatic microcosms.Read more about this project
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Water Resource Predictions
The student will learn how field data are taken into account in hydrologic models in order to improve water resource predictions. Students working on this project will have an opportunity to contribute to the full process of field data collection, processing, and integration into computer models, and may choose to focus on one or more of these aspects depending on background and interests.Read more about this project
School of Natural Resources
Sedimentation Rates Along the Platte River Valley
The summer scholar will work with coring methods and analyzing samples for organic matter and particle size distribution as well as optically-stimulated luminescence dating methods. Specifically, this study will focus on estimating changes in sedimentation rates and styles over the Holocene and late historic period in study areas chosen from three stretches of the Platte River Valley.Read more about this project
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Fossil Diatoms in Antarctic Paleoenvironmental and Paleoclimate Reconstructions
The REU participant will examine modern benthic epiphyte assemblages to develop correlation to host macroalgae in order to better understand the paleoecological signatures in the deep-sea diatom epiphyte records. The student will have the opportunity to develop questions and the plan of research to address their questions, as well as interact with graduate students and visiting international scientists.Read more about this project
Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Glaciations on Mars
This REU project will use remote sensing of relict glacial landforms to shed light on the scope of Mars' periodic ice ages and those glaciations. We will also look at Earth analogs to try to understand the similarities and differences between ice ages and climate change on Earth and Mars. With guidance from Dr. Searls, the REU participant will have some freedom to design and implement an experiment to analyze these relict landforms.Read more about this project
School of Natural Resources
Fate of Pharmaceuticals, Steroids, or Personal Care Products in the Environment
Student will develop experiments designed to show plant uptake, persistence, or biological effect that will help better define the environmental fate and potential route of exposure from pharmaceuticals, steroids, or personal care products.Read more about this project
School of Biological Sciences and Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
The Role of the Microbial Community in Carbon and Nutrient Cycling
This project will involve enrichment and isolation of indigenous microbiota capable of utilizing species of various organic compounds under various stages of decomposition. The student and mentor will also design experiments monitoring autotrophic oxidative dissolution of metal carbonates and CO2 incorporation into biomass, or experiments following change in microbial community structure and metabolism following viral infection. The interdisciplinary nature of the research in the Weber laboratory will not only allow the students to have the opportunity to interact with other microbiologists and virologists but also ecosystem scientists, geoscientists, and engineers.Read more about this project