Diversity Committee pilots initiative to increase student access to research across LTER

Network News Spring 2015, Vol. 28 No. 1

In 2013, the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network’s Diversity Committee recommended a novel way to increase student access to research opportunities within the LTER Network. The committee noted that infrastructure was needed that would allow students to apply to several LTER-based summer research programs at one go rather than applying individually to each site.

Heeding the call, the Harvard Forest  (HFR) LTER program augmented its online Summer Research Program application form that winter so that students could opt to share their applications with other LTER summer research programs. In both 2014 and 2015, nearly 90 per cent of applicants opted in.

The applicant pool includes students from all over the country, primarily undergrads but a few recently graduated students, generally US citizens with a sprinkling of internationals. Majors range from computer science, math, and engineering to biology, ecology, chemistry, geology, natural resources, and a few humanities. Applications can be reviewed online in a password-protected database with students’ basic information (institution, major, class year) plus a short essay, one to two letters of reference, and a listing of relevant courses and grades.. Interested program administrators and faculty are invited to contact the HFR’s Summer Program Coordinator, Manisha Patel (manishapatel@fas.harvard.edu) and include information about your program.