Venture - Undergraduate Research Database
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UCF NSF REU Site in Belize

We emphasize engaged, community-based research while preparing students for future academic and non-academic careers in GIS, geospatial technologies, geography, geosciences, sociology, education, community development, public health, and land use planning

U.S. undergraduates join us for a paid summer research experience that will change your entire perspective on what it means to be an international community scholar! Welcome to the website for the University of Central Florida’s Community GIS and Citizen Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site funded by National Science Foundation Award #1560015. Our international REU Site is part of the UCF Department of Sociology and the UCF GIS Cluster Initiative at the second largest university in the United States. We are looking forward to hosting a group of at least 8 outstanding undergraduate students from across the country in summer 2018 in Belize and in Orlando, Florida. We emphasize engaged, community-based research while also preparing students for future academic and non-academic careers in GIS, geospatial technologies, geography, sociology, geosciences, education, community development, public health, and land use planning.

REU Site Research Directions: Selected students will collaborate with our team in 1 of 3 research directions: •Research Track 1: Mapping disparities in flooding & disaster management •Research Track 2: Mapping marine debris & mitigating impacts on coastal communities •Research Track 3: Drone mapping and spatial storytelling for coastal and island communities (new for 2018 with an additional NSF supplemental grant)

The research training program is the first of its kind for U.S. undergraduates given its explicit international focus on community geography/GIS and participatory methodologies. Student mastery of geospatial STEM research skills will be accomplished largely through students creating an open and freely available geospatial data infrastructure to address social and environmental disparities related to marine debris and flooding/disaster management in Belize. This objective will include the creation of an online, interactive geospatial data and mapping portal through ArcGIS Online.


What Type of Undergraduate Students Do We Want in Our REU Site? We want undergraduates with the following traits: •a passion for community-based research •a desire to engage in a life-changing international field research experience •a strong and creative work ethic •a willingness to challenge yourself, while having fun, and being committed to collaborative learning •an interest in living in Belize for the majority of the summer •a desire to learn more about all aspects of research •a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone, learn about yourself, and challenge your world views

The application window is now open for the Summer 2018 REU Site. The priority application deadline is March 2, 2018. Please begin your application using our Google form at

A complete application includes: 1) an application form through Google Forms, 2) submission of a personal statement (limited to 3 double-spaced pages) and unofficial transcripts as attachments to, and 3) submission of 1 reference letter from a faculty, employer, or mentor to The reference letter should be sent directly by the writer of the letter, not the REU student applicant. Applications materials should be addressed to Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne (REU Principal Investigator). Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Potential candidates may be contacted for a follow-up Skype interview within one month of the priority application deadline. Learn more about the application process on our application instructions page. Watch the REU Site Video below to gain a better understanding of the creative approaches we utilize in our international research.

For More information:

Project Coordinator

Dr. Timothy Hawthorne ( ugrsrch )
Posted: 18-02-16
Start Date: 18-02-16
End Date: 18-03-02

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Newest Research Opportunities

Understanding Maternal-Fetal Interactions using 3D Imaging

The Arora Lab ( is seeking enthusiastic and creative undergraduate students to assist in projects focusing on mechanisms underlying changes in the 3D structure of the uterus promoting embryo attachment.
Posted: 18-12-14
Compensation: For Credit
Start Date: 18-12-14
End Date: 19-12-18

Conservation Criminology

Participate in applied conservation social science research integrating conservation biology, criminology and risk and decision science
Posted: 18-11-09
no compensation
Start Date: 18-11-09
End Date: 19-04-30

Organic Energy Storage Lab Summer Intern 2019

The OESLaboratory at the MSU Bioeconomy Institute in Holland, MI has openings for summer 2019 interns. The research covers energy storage, alternative energy, organic synthesis, analytical chemistry, electrochemistry and device design.
Posted: 18-11-07
Start Date: 18-11-07
End Date: 19-02-15

Questions? Contact the Undergraduate Research Office at 517-355-7635 or
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