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NSF REU/RET Site: Preparing the Next Generation of Scholars through Community Geographic Information Systems and Citizen Science

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Academic Level:
For most summer research programs, this is your upcoming status as of the fall. Always check with the individual program's website for details.

K-12 Educators
Undergraduates - First Year
Undergraduates - Sophomore
Undergraduates - Junior
Undergraduates - Senior

Note: this opportunity encourages applications from community college students.

The REU/RET Site at University of Central Florida, in partnership with George Mason University and the Smithsonian Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program, provides intensive, community-based research experiences for 24 undergraduate students and 6 K-12 educators with a focus on developing new researchers and educators from underrepresented groups. The REU/RET Site supports the NSF mission by promoting new discoveries in interdisciplinary science, while supporting 30 students and teachers over the span of three project years. The REU/RET Site also supports the NSF mission of strengthening U.S. science and national research and education priorities by having students and K-12 teachers participate in interdisciplinary research teams, increasing their understanding of research ethics, and sharing their research results with broad audiences through diverse modes of scientific communication. REU/RET participants work with faculty mentors, geospatial technology industry leaders, non-profits, and community members. The Site provides research methods training and advanced fieldwork, and works with participants to share results through co-authored publications, conference co-presentations, social media, and industry visits. The REU/RET Site recruits 75% of its participants from underrepresented groups.

Through the transformative seven-week research program and post-program dissemination of results, the REU/RET Site will: 1) critically assess the opportunities for and challenges to community-based models for international undergraduate research training, especially important as U.S. higher education institutions and industry push for more globally-minded thinkers to increase U.S. competitiveness around the world; 2) engage 24 student researchers (in addition to 6 pre-service or in-service teachers) in community-based international fieldwork focused on GIS and related geospatial research techniques to examine social and environmental disparities; and 3) broadly share conceptual and methodological frameworks for international community GIS and citizen science research and education efforts. It serves as the first international research training program for students and K-12 teachers focused explicitly on interdisciplinary, team-based inquiry using community GIS and citizen science methods. Participants will develop an understanding of and appreciation for community-based geographic and GIS-based inquiry in U.S. and international settings through team-based science, fostering both scientific and technical skills and other essential career skills like communication, problem solving, and adaptability. Knowledge gained by participants will lead to a transformative experience helping students and K-12 teachers develop into more globally aware, ethical researchers that can support U.S. interests across the globe, both in academic and non-academic environments. With the added RET component, additional educational opportunities for K-12 educators and K-12 students will be developed allowing for stronger exposure to geospatial technologies in U.S. classrooms and through open access, online educational materials created by the REU/RET Site.
study abroad program

Participating Institution(s):
(Click an institution to see all programs it hosts)
University of Central Florida (Lead)
George Mason University
Smithsonian Institution

Program Materials:
 • Program Website 
movie  Program Video

This Program can be Described by:
Academic Disciplines:
Anthropology & Archaeology
Digital Media
International Studies
Spatial/Geographic Information Systems
STEM Fields

Citizen Science
Education Research
Geographic Visualization

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This program is funded by:
National Science Foundation (NSF)

Page last updated 7/15/2021 12:44:22 PM
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