Undergraduate Research Experience

Student using lab instrument.

Undergraduates in Bigelow Laboratory's summer REU Program spend ten weeks at the Laboratory conducting independent research with guidance from a scientist mentor. Directed by Senior Research Scientist Dr. David Fields, and funded by the National Science Foundation, the REU Program is designed to give students pursuing degrees in the sciences, mathematics and engineering a laboratory-based research experience with an emphasis on hands-on, state-of-the-art methods and technologies. REU students are immersed in the Bigelow community and participate in seminars, field trips, Laboratory outreach programs, social events, and more.

Each student in the program is paired with a Bigelow Laboratory scientist based on mutual research interests. During the ten weeks, students work with their mentors to identify a research question, develop a proposal, conduct their research, and prepare an abstract and poster. At the end of the program, students present their poster and give a talk at a student symposium.

Research areas vary year to year, but include marine microbiology, ocean biogeochemistry, optical oceanography, remote sensing, bioinformatics, sensory biology and phytoplankton ecology.

The 2023 program dates are May 21 through July 28 and will be held at the Laboratory's East Boothbay campus. Successful applicants receive a stipend, free housing, and funds for travel to and from Bigelow Laboratory. Applications will be open January 1, 2023.

Proof of COVID vaccination will be required to participate in the program.

“This opportunity has solidified my future goals and aspirations as a scientist. I now have a better idea of what I need to accomplish to get the career I want and I feel I am better prepared to tackle those tasks."

“The REU program showed me the process of research – start to finish – in finer detail than I’ve ever seen. I was involved in nearly every minute aspect. I gained more valuable lab experience and used new toys."

“The greatest strength was the communication and community spirit. Not only could I talk to my mentors about anything, at any time, even other people’s mentors were available.”