Renewed Funding Will Bring Another Round of REUs to Bermuda

BIOS NSF REU student group shot

This spring, BIOS microbial oceanographer Rachel Parsons and Education Director, University Programs, Penny Barnes, received some good news from the National Science Foundation: their Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) proposal, “Fall Semester Student Research in Oceanography and Marine Science at BIOS,” was awarded funding for three more consecutive years.  This enables eight undergraduates to spend twelve weeks at BIOS each year, with mentorship from a BIOS scientist as they conduct an independent research project. Students hoping to come to BIOS this fall for a fully supported research opportunity (including travel, stipend, room and board) must apply by May 31, 2015.

For almost two decades, BIOS’s REU program has provided a springboard to future careers in ocean and atmospheric sciences.  While at BIOS, students not only gain new technical skills working in the lab and in the field, but also learn the true meaning of “doing science” as they work their way through experimental design, data collection, and interpreting their results.  Alumni often translate their hard work at BIOS into peer-reviewed publications in prominent scientific journals and into poster or oral presentations at scientific conferences.  However, the best indicator of the program’s success is what REU students have to say about it themselves:

“This REU internship has been a phenomenal experience all around. In these 12 weeks I gained exposure to incredibly compelling research, I got a taste of life on Bermuda, and I cultivated relationships with wonderful people. This program is hands-on learning at its finest. The chance to connect with people from so many different areas of expertise is unbelievable, and opportunity abounds to jump onboard with any ongoing fieldwork or research. This internship is an ideal experience for inquisitive minds and motivated individuals. I recommend it wholeheartedly.”  Keeley Rideout, REU 2014

Scientists lower a glider into the water off the back of a BIOS research vessel

“I would definitely say that the REU has helped me in my career. Aside from having the opportunity to publish a paper, which was my first and very exciting, I learned a lot through the experience. I not only gained strict scientific knowledge but also learned a lot about how to think critically and write comprehensively. All these experiences have helped me in my job now, where I research science startups, from both technical and business standpoints.” – Ameena El Bibany REU 2013

“I had the incredible opportunity to conduct a three-month independent research project at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).  Over the course of the three months, I had the opportunity to go out to sea aboard the R/V Atlantic Explorer, a state-of-the-art research vessel, on two different occasions in order to collect water samples for my experiment. While at BIOS, I was introduced to modern scientific equipment and learned relevant microscopy and molecular biology techniques.  The interns were able to practice their public speaking and presentation skills throughout the three months so that by the end of the internship, they were comfortable presenting their findings to the BIOS community.  In addition, the interns gained valuable experience and feedback writing a comprehensive paper on their research. This was an all-around wonderful experience for an undergraduate student to partake in.  It allows for the opportunity to gain hands-on research experience and broadens laboratory skill knowledge.  Additionally, you meet faculty and peers interested in similar topics as you, and you are able to network with these individuals.  I was immersed in a new environment and loved every minute of it!” – Jennifer Trapani REU 2012

“My experience in the REU Program at BIOS has been absolutely irreplaceable. I believe university students often graduate without understanding the true scope of being a field scientist. I’m so grateful that this program allowed me to gain those invaluable skills, from the technical aspects of working on the ocean to what it means to be involved in a scientific community. The staff at BIOS are a wonderful support system to have behind you; I strongly encourage any undergrad interested in marine science to take advantage of the REU program and apply.” – Stacy Peltier REU 2011

Kelly Spear, a BIOS NSF REU intern, works in the lab taking water measurements

“Having the opportunity to participate in the Fall 2009 Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science REU program was a life changing experience.  Not only did I learn valuable scientific techniques and data processing skills, but I also gained confidence in my ability to organize and carry out a detailed project.  The REU program and specifically the mentors that I worked with were pivotal in advancing my career as a scientist and my growth as an individual.  Because of my experience at the Microbial Observatory at BIOS, I had numerous research employment opportunities after finishing my Bachelor’s Degree. This being said, even if I had not decided to continue on in a scientific career, I would still have felt that I greatly benefitted from participating in the REU program.   From the technical skills that I learned, to the wonderful group of people that I met, I would encourage any undergraduate student to apply for the BIOS REU program.” – Emily Giles REU 2009

Visit /education/reu/ for more information or to download an application.

The 2015 REU program at BIOS is supported by the National Science Foundation’s Division of Ocean Sciences under Grant No. 1460686.  The NSF contact for this program is Lisa Rom, or 703-292-7709.  NSF does not handle REU applications; please contact each REU site directly for application information.