Education Program/REU

The RMBL Education Program is a fully immersive, 10-week summer (June-August) scientific research experience.  The program enrolls 40 undergraduate, recent graduate, and early career graduate students.  Each student is paired with a RMBL scientist mentor and completes an independent project. Program participants work and live onsite, within a vibrant community of ~200 scientists and support staff.

Program Flier

What is an REU? What are the other options for attending the RMBL education program?

Of the 40 students who participate in the RMBL Education Program, 10 students will be accepted through the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, funded by the National Science Foundation. Students receiving an REU award may participate in either full-time independent research or independent research/course, as described below. The REU awards cover the full cost of the program, including room, board, and tuition, pay a $6,000 stipend directly to the student, and provide $400 toward travel costs. REU awards are restricted to students who are not only citizens or permanent residents of the United States but also have not graduated from college (Bachelor’s degree) before the last date of the program. Students with high financial need and limited previous access to a research opportunity in the biological sciences are strongly encouraged to apply.

The other 30 students accepted into the RMBL Education Program are eligible for financial support through RMBL full and partial scholarships, or may opt to cover the cost of the program independently. RMBL accepts students who have funded internships or summer research awards from their home universities. The 40-student education program provides a path for applicants who do not receive or are not eligible for an REU award (they are non-US citizens and/or they have already earned a Bachelor’s degree to participate in a research experience).  Expectations and opportunities for all 40 students accepted into the education program are the same, regardless of funding source.

List of REU sites from the National Science Foundation 

Is this program for me?

Students with a sincere interest in field biology research in the mountains should apply. We are looking for motivated students at all stages along the path to becoming a scientist. The RMBL Education Program is an excellent way to decide if a career in field biology is right for you. Fieldwork is difficult and often tedious and we are looking for students with the mental and intellectual maturity to commit to hard work.

There are a substantial number of full and partial scholarships, so financial need should not stop students from applying. Students will receive various levels of support, up to and including a stipend, depending upon the strength of the application, financial need, and student motivation. We encourage participation by students who have experienced identity-based, financial, or other personal obstacles to a career in science and for whom a research experience at RMBL would provide an opportunity to advance in the sciences.

What will I learn?

The RMBL Education Program has two tracks for students:

Full-time Independent Research – 10 credits.
This program targets students who wish to conduct a full-time independent research project in field biology.  During the summer, students will work with their mentors to develop a testable hypothesis, gather data, analyze the data, and produce a written and oral report by the end of the program.

Independent Research and Short Course – 10 credits (8 for research, 2 for the course)

This program targets students who wish to combine independent research with a short, instructor-led course. This track initially provides more support and structure than full-time research, which could be helpful for students new to field research. In addition, students who are especially interested in one of these course subject areas are also encouraged to select this track, regardless of their experience level. For the first 4 weeks of the program, students take the course for two days/week and conduct their independent research project for 3 days/week.  For the last six weeks, they will only conduct their independent research.

Courses offered during summer 2024:

Rocky Mountain Wildlife

Rocky Mountain Ecosystems

The program is full time. All students will participate approximately 40 hours a week, which includes attending biweekly discussions or workshops and a weekly seminar series. Full program expectations can be found Here.

Please be sure to review this page if you are interested in earning college credit for your participation in the RMBL Education Program: Information About Course Credits

Who will I work with?

At RMBL, the student-mentor relationship is embedded in a vibrant resident scientific community, which facilitates superb undergraduate research. Each student’s experience will be unique, depending on their mentor’s research questions, system(s), and approach to doing science. For example, a few students will spend a lot of field time with their mentors. Other students, however, will work largely alone or as part of a lab group, having periodic meetings with their mentors along the way.

Applicants should read through the list of mentors and projects and consider the topics that interest them. 2024 Mentor Projects

Please do not contact researchers directly. If you are accepted into the program, you will be matched with an appropriate mentor. Questions about the mentors can be directed to RMBL’s Research and Education Manager via email.

RMBL is an equal opportunity service provider and employer and operates under a Special Use Permit from the USDA Forest Service, GMUG National Forest.