Washington University in St. Louis
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Teaching, Outreach, and Internship Opportunities

Tyson Undergraduate Fellows Program

In this 11-week summer program, undergraduate students are given the opportunity to work elbow-to-elbow with a faculty, post-doctoral scientist, staff scientist, or graduate student mentor on current field-based research projects.

First-time fellows typically have interest in ecological research but may not yet have the experience needed to conduct their own mentored research projects. Advanced or returning undergraduate fellows are often given the opportunity to design and execute their own field-based ecological research under the guidance of a mentor. Descriptions of current research areas are available on the Tyson Research Mentors page.

An undergraduate colloquium on Thursday afternoons provides professional preparation activities including scientific communication practice, journal discussion, career panels, and research poster development. The weekly colloquium is followed by a research presentation from a visiting scientist and a potluck dinner for the Tyson scientific community.

Tyson is a non-residential field station and daily shuttle transportation from the Washington University Danforth Campus is available if needed. Each fellow receives a stipend to assist with personal living expenses.

After completion of the summer field season, all fellows are expected to present the results of their research at either the Washington University Undergraduate Research Symposium or another similar symposium at their own undergraduate institution.

Former fellows have presented their research at regional and national meetings and several projects have resulted in peer-reviewed publications. Many of our former fellows have entered graduate programs or careers in the environmental sciences.

Support for the Tyson Undergraduate Fellows Program is provided by NSF grants, HHMI funds, internal WUSTL fellowship and internship funds, and Tyson Research Center.


The 2017 application is available here.

Although we prioritize providing research opportunities for Washington University students, outstanding students from other universities are welcome to apply. You will be asked to provide contact information for three references. Please consult the current list of Tyson Research Mentors as you will be asked to indicate your preferred projects. It is highly recommended that you contact a preferred mentor prior to submitting your application.

Application deadline is February 1, 2017
You may be contacted by a research team for an interview in February.
Notification of selection or wait list status will be via email by March 10.
Mandatory start date is May 22.
Questions may be directed to Susan Flowers (flowers[at]wustl.edu) or Kim Medley (Kim.Medley[at]wustl.edu).

Reflections from former fellows
“I learned how to operate in the field and all of the work behind creating, setting up, and working on a project.”

“My mentor allowed us the independence to take responsibility over certain parts of the project but was also there to answer questions. I never felt like I would be looked down upon for asking questions or clarifying protocols.”

“I felt like I was being treated like a graduate student and it was exciting and made me more excited about the research.”

“I learned more about team dynamics in a work setting. Also I learned about the methods behind many ecological research projects; both those being done at Tyson, and the others through reading papers and listening to seminars.”

“I loved working with the whole spectrum of experience - from high school to professors.”

“It encouraged me to think outside of the box as far as possibilities involving ecology/environmental science careers. I realize that while academia is still an option for me, I could also consider going the route of some of the lecturers and working for botanical gardens or a number of other places, or going into education as I really enjoyed the tiered mentorship.”

“The best part was getting to work outside with awesome people. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire summer and I am so glad that I was able to make it a part of my undergraduate experience.”

“My mentor was very passionate about his research and that really showed. He made an effort to connect with us and talk about the research project in detail and how it fit into the ecology as a whole. His excitement and passion was contagious and the summer was incredible!”

“The community at Tyson was my favorite part. All of the researchers and other students were really friendly, compassionate, and interesting. I really enjoyed talking with them about their research and passions.”

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