REU at the Smithsonian: Research Training Program is a ten-week, museum-based Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site featuring the unique opportunity for 11 undergraduate students (5 biology, 4 geology, and 2 anthropology) to explore research and study in the natural history sciences through unparalleled access to the collections, facilities and scientific community of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. The NMNH is home to the best assemblage of natural history collections (124 million) and professional scientists (185), offering inspiration for new discovery and essential evidence about the world around us, including documentation of changes in the earth and climate, evolutionary history of plants and animals, and human origins and culture. Program participants are provided housing, travel, stipend, and research support.

Since 1980 the Research Training Program has actively participated in the education and training of students seeking to become the next generation of natural history scientists. Emphasis is placed on providing a first-time research opportunity for undergraduates, especially women and minorities, including students who might not otherwise have access to collections-based projects such as those from institutions where research opportunities in the natural history sciences are limited.

Participants pursue individualized, hypothesis-testing research topics in the biological, geological or anthropological sciences. Investigations in the biological sciences include systematics and biodiversity topics with emphasis on description of a new species or redefining a particular group of organisms. In the geological sciences, research focuses on petrologic studies of meteorites, pegmatites and volcanic rocks, as well as volcanologic studies of eruption histories, paleoecology, evolution of terrestrial ecosystems including habitats and climates. In the anthropological sciences projects range from studies of disease in prehistoric peoples to studying skeletal indicators; taphonomy and bias in the fossil record to dietary difference among classes in prehistoric cultures. To conduct their research, participants are given full and free access to all NMNH facilities and resources including the extensive collections, libraries and laboratories. Participants come together several times each week as a group to join an interactive series of lectures, discussions, workshops, field trips, social events, and collection tours. Community interaction and communication is fostered through the Academic Resources Center (ARC), a central gathering space reserved for students in-residence at the NMNH to exchange information and ideas. Participants are seamlessly integrated into the NMNH research community and experience the intellectual life of an active international research institution. Through daily interaction with mentors and other professionals, including numerous scientific visitors, participants build valuable contacts for a future career in the sciences. In all aspects, the Program is designed to prepare participants for major hurdles in young scientific careers - selecting and entering graduate school, designing and conducting research, and presenting and publishing results.

All information and application materials for the Research Training Program are available on-line at: Direct specific inquiries to: Mary Sangrey. Phone: 202-357-4548 / Fax: 202-786-2563 / E-mail

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Biological Infrastructure (DBI)
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Sally E. O'Connor
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Smithsonian Institution
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