Sustainability Summer ISRE Fellowship



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What is ISRE?

Intercollegiate Sustainability Research Experiences (ISREs) are competitive summer research programs designed specifically for undergraduate students.


Program highlights

  • 8 - 10 week, paid, hands-on, summer work experience in a research environment
  • Working under the mentorship of a scientist or team
  • Collecting data in the field, computer modeling, and data analysis
  • Presenting your research progress in a talk or poster, and possibly traveling to a conference
  • Participants will experience gains in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and identity that will foster their success in future research and/or professional settings.


Program Details:

  • Students receive a stipend of $4,500 + $500 travel stipend
  • Program Dates: 8 - 10 weeks (dates flexible)
  • Application Opens: December 15, 2019
  • Application Deadline: February 15, 2020
  • Student Online Application  HERE
  • Faculty Letter of Recommendation upload HERE
  • Character Reference Letter of Recommendation (Staff, Advisor, Colleague, etc.) upload HERE 

Application requirements:

1. Good Academic Standing - 3.0 or higher

2. Letters of Recommendation from your faculty mentor and a character reference (i.e. advisor, colleague, or supervisor)

3. Students must submit an application and include a 400-word essay and relevant courses completed (if applicable)


Research Projects and Summer 2020 ISRE sites:

1.  AUBURN UNIVERSITY; Auburn, Alabama

Research project: Field Crop Integrated Pest Management

Faculty mentor: Dr. Katelyn Kesheimer

Project description: Dr. Kesheimer in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Auburn University will be advising a student researcher on a project that accommodates the student’s interests as it relates to sustainable agriculture in Alabama’s grain crops. Potential projects include state surveys for the invasive brown marmorated stink bug in corn or hedgehog aphid in wheat and exploring their associated natural enemy complex as potential pest suppression tactics. The student will have opportunities to interact with grower cooperators, stakeholder groups, industry representatives, and others involved in the agriculture industry. The goal is to provide research-based information to Alabama growers and promote environmentally sustainable options for insect control.

Relevant coursework: Introductory Biology and lab, General Chemistry and lab, Ecology, Statistics

**Sponsored by UK Sustainability and UK Student Sustainability Council



Research project: Natural resource and Agricultural economics

Faculty mentor: Dr. Jerrod Penn - Dr. Penn is an environmental economist at Louisiana State University. His work focuses on the intersection of resource/environmental impacts and policy with sustainability, often on willingness of consumers and homeowners to adopt environmentally-friendly practices.

Project Description: The student project this summer will focus on the adoption of forest certification and wildlife habitat improvement practices among Louisiana homeowners. The student will be involved with survey development, focus groups with stakeholders, data collection/analysis and writeup. Opportunities for experience in honey bees or native pollinator conservation may also arise.

Relevant Majors: Economics, NRES, ENS, Ag/Enviro Economics, Forestry/Wildlife

Relevant Coursework: Statistics, Economics, Environmental Policy, Sociology

**Sponsored by UK Sustainability and UK Student Sustainability Council



Research project: Sustainability Research and Extension in New Mexico

Faculty mentor: Dr. Amanda Skidmore

Project description: This summer internship will be located at the New Mexico State University Agriculture Science Center in Los Lunas, NM. Interns will work closely with the Integrated Pest Management Lab ( and interact with other research programs at the facility, including the NMSU Extension Forages, Horticulture, and Viticulture Programs. The IPM Lab conducts research on native pollinators, habitat management, small farm production, and agroecology. We also provide workshops, education, and outreach projects across the state. The intern will have the opportunity to assist and contribute to a variety of projects and learn from Extension Specialists about multiple aspects of sustainability in the Southwest. Researchers will work with the intern to develop an independent research or Extension project designed to focus on the intern’s specific interests in sustainability.

Relevant coursework: TBD

**Sponsored by UK Sustainability and UK Student Sustainability Council



Research Project: Environmental and Water Resource Economics and Policy

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mehdi Nemati

Project description: Mehdi Nemati in the University of California, Riverside (UCR) School of Public Policy will be advising an Undergraduate Student Researcher (UGSR) for the “Urban Water Conservation” project. Inspired by interdisciplinary collaboration, this research project blends theoretical and empirical economic modeling to inform water policy and water management discussions. This project aims to create a comprehensive water utility level database of water consumption, prices, pricing structure in California and evaluate the credibility and sensitivity for estimates of the price elasticity of urban water demand under different sets of demand assumptions. The UGSR will assist on data collection and statistical modeling as well as writing reports. 

During this project, there would be opportunities to interact with government agencies, stakeholder groups, and private industry with a focus on promoting sustainable and cost-effective strategies for addressing water-related issues, such as water scarcity/drought. In addition, there would be opportunities to engage with the UCR School of Public Policy faculties and students working in many different areas of public policy such as: environmental sciences, water, sustainable suburban development, energy and transportation, poverty and economic development, agriculture and biotechnology, health, immigration, crime and justice studies, education, and cultural studies.

To learn more about Dr. Nemati and his research see: or   

Location: The UCR School of Public Policy is located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and is within easy driving distance of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain, and coastal destinations. For more information about the campus and School of Public Policy see and

Relevant Majors: Marketing, Ag Economics, Economics, Sustainable Agriculture

Relevant coursework: Intermediate statistics, familiarity with Excel is a plus

**Sponsored by UK Sustainability and UK Student Sustainability Council



Research Project: Social Networks and Oyster Consumption

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kelly Davidson is an applied economist in the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Her research focuses on behavioral economics, food choice, and producer decision-making. She designs behavioral experiments and surveys, collecting primary data to analyze stakeholder choices and inform policy related to sustainable food systems. 

Project description:  The undergraduate researcher will assist with a project titled "Social Networks and Oyster Consumption." The project is one piece of the Social Dimensions initiative of Delaware's NSF EPSCoR: "Water in the Changing Coastal Environment of Delaware" (Project WiCCED). This study aims to understand the impact of social networks and peer influence on the consumption of oysters, an eco-friendly food. Using a framed experiment, we will identify the extent to which individuals adjust consumption preferences based on peers' preferences for oysters. By nature of Project WiCCED, the student will have the opportunity to engage with a large interdisciplinary team of researchers, government agencies, and industry stakeholders. The student will gain experience collecting economic data in a framed field or lab experiment. In addition to primary data collection, the student will assist with project coordination and management activities during the experiment. The results of the experiment will be communicated to Delaware oyster aquaculture stakeholders to inform marketing strategies. 

Location: The University of Delaware is located halfway between Washington D.C. and New York City.  For more information about the campus see 

Relevant Majors: DHN, Marketing, Ag Economics, Economics, Sustainable Agriculture

Relevant coursework: Economics, Statistics, familiarity with Excel is a plus

**Sponsored by UK's The Food Connection