Info for Summer REU: Genes to Ecosystems Mentors

This program is funded in-part by the National Science Foundation, and we aim to improve student retention in STEM fields by providing high-quality research experiences for undergraduate students. The focus of this program is to broaden diversity in the sciences, particularly by increasing the participation of groups underrepresented in science in its activities, such as women, minorities, persons with disabilities, veterans, and others. The summer internship program entails students completing an entire research project, working full-time (40 hrs/week) for 10 weeks from mid-June to mid-August. If your project is selected for funding and you become a mentor, you will have a budget for field and lab supplies to use. The time commitment associated with this program is somewhat substantial, especially given the nature of the program. However, based on past accounts, this experience is very rewarding and can help mentors develop very important mentoring and collaboration skills.

We hope that you will view this as an opportunity not only to pass on skills to your intern but also mentor the next generation of scientists.

Summary of Mentor Expectations

  • Mentoring can be an incredibly rewarding experience that will help you build your skills as a scientist, educator, and communicator. However, being an effective mentor requires substantial thought and time investment before, during, and after the program. Because of this, we require ALL graduate students to discuss and have approval from their advisors before applying to mentor an REU intern. 
    • If absent for a short time, provide a plan detailing support for the mentee
  • If you are selected to mentor an REU intern, you will be responsible for interviewing and selecting your student in February
    • To ensure the goals of our program are clear, and to answer any questions, we require all selected mentors to attend a short training session in early February, prior to interviewing their intern.
  • The ten to twelve projects that receive REU interns from NSF or College First funding is based on but not limited to:
    • Willingness to help us work towards the program’s objective 
    • Projects directly mentored by graduate students
    • Positive previous mentoring experiences with our program
    • Applicant interest in the subject(s) of the project
  • You are expected to work closely with your student every day during the program and at all stages of the research project, including:
    • Understanding the literature related to the hypotheses
    • Developing hypotheses and designing the experiment
    • Collecting and analyzing data
    • Producing a final poster and short presentation
  • Your REU student will mentor a College First student for 8 weeks from July to August every Tuesday and Thursday.
    • You will also be expected to help your REU student navigate this process.
    • This includes attending a training session provided by the College First program with your REU student.
  • We hope that you will continue to engage with your intern after they return to their home university. This may include (but is not limited to):
    • Engaging them in the process of writing a peer-reviewed manuscript 
    • Helping them present their poster at a conference (ideally one you attend with them)
    • Helping them build on their research as part of a senior honors thesis or independent study

Become a Mentor

Before you submit a project or review applicants you will need to register or log in as a mentor. First-year MS students are highly encouraged to mentor undergraduate interns during their first summer.

Create Mentor Account/ Log In
  • To register as a potential mentor:
    • Please create an account on the website: https://app.chicagobotanicinternships.org/
    • New mentors must select "Mentor submitting intern request"
    • Once you have created an account, we will confirm your registration online
  • If you have been a mentor in previous years:
    • You do not need to re-register
    • You can login with your previous username and password, Facebook, Google, or Twitter account
    • You should check with us to see if your account is still active 
      • If not, we will reinstate you

    Submit a Project

    If you are interested in mentoring a student, you will need to submit a short (1 paragraph) project description, with a picture, and key word "subjects" that define your project to the internships website. We realize that many will still be developing their projects at this time, so it is alright for descriptions to be quite general, although we will expect that they become more specific as plans develop for summer work. The deadline for project submission is early December.

      Add project (once logged in)
      1. Under "Mentor" select "My research project"
      2. Click “+ research project”
      3. Under “program” dropdown select – “Summer REU: Genes to Ecosystems”
      4. Record all necessary information – title, short description, image, subject key words etc.
        • When creating your description, please select and add subjects that help to define your project
        • Students will select their subject areas of interest as part of their application
      5. Then click “Submit Request”