FAQ

I’m not sure if I’m eligible to participate.

The REU is open to all undergraduates from any institution (2- and 4-year colleges and universities) who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents. You must be enrolled in a degree program at the time of the REU (graduating seniors are not eligible to participate in the summer following graduation).

I’m a first-year student this year – am I eligible?

Yes! As long as you are actively enrolled at your institution during the REU, you are eligible.

I’m enrolled in a U.S. university but I’m not a U.S. citizen or permanent resident – can I apply?

Unfortunately, no. The REU is sponsored by the U.S. National Science Foundation, which limits participation to U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

What major should I be studying to be considered for this REU?

The types of REU projects being offered are diverse and we’re looking for students with diverse interests. Students preparing for a career in atmospheric science, climatology, biology, environmental science, science communication, computer science, data visualization, mathematics, or physics with a keen interest in climate change will probably find this experience very rewarding.

I’m worried I don’t have the technical skills/preparation to be successful.

We do not require any prior research experience – part of our mission is to provide that experience. Of course it is helpful if you have some experience with standard computer software (Excel, Word), basic statistics, and working with meteorological or geoscience data – but it is not required. Excellent oral and written communication skills and the ability to work well in small groups as well as independently are positive traits that will help you to succeed in the program.

Can I choose which project I want to work on?

When you apply, we will ask you to rank your top 3 choices. Given that there will be a lot more applicants than available positions, we cannot guarantee that you will be assigned to your #1 choice. But we will do our best to match you with your first choice of project.

How are students selected for the REU?

Selection is a two phase process. For phase 1, all applicants will be considered based on their academic record, academic goals and interests, and fit with the projects they are interested in. Successful applicants from phase 1 will be contacted and required to submit a letter of recommendation for further consideration. A final decision will be made by mid-March, at which time successful applicants will be notified of their project and mentor. Students will have 1 week from the time of notification to confirm their acceptance, so that others can be offered positions if the student declines.

What about COVID-19? Will the REU be live or online?

We are planning a live REU. If health conditions render this plan impossible, we will move the REU to an online or hybrid modality. We are hopeful that we can provide applicants with a definitive decision on this when they are notified of their acceptance into the program (mid-March).

Do I need official transcripts or letters of recommendation?

We require an unofficial transcript from your current institution in order to apply. A letter of recommendation is not required for the initial application, but will be required if you make the second phase of the application process. We suggest that you secure the letter of recommendation well ahead of the application deadline so that you will have it ready to submit if required.

When is the deadline to apply?

All applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, February 19, 2021 in order to be considered.

When will I know if I’ve been accepted?

You will be notified of your progression into phase 2 by March 1, 2021. Final notifications will be sent out by March 15, 2021.

I want to be part of the REU but I can’t commit to the full 10 weeks – is this possible?

No. Each REU participant must commit to the full 10-week program.

I see the dates for the REU are June 1 – August 6, 2021. When should I expect to move in?

Travel and move in will likely occur during Memorial Day weekend, which proceeds the REU start date of Tuesday, June 1.

What is this research conference support I’m reading about?

Every REU student in Summer 2021 who is still enrolled at an undergraduate institution the following year is eligible to receive support to travel to the National Council for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) national conference to present their REU research.

What is a typical day like?

It depends on the schedule you set with your mentor. Here’s what a day might look like if you are working at the NCEI in downtown Asheville:

7:30 – 8:15 a.m.: Breakfast at the dining hall
8:30 : Catch the REU shuttle to downtown
8:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. : REU project work
12:00 – 1:00 : Lunch with your mentor or other REU students
1:00 – 4:30  : REU project work
4:30 : Shuttle back to campus
6:00 : Dinner at the dining hall

There are several group activities (e.g. hikes, visit to regional science center) planned for weekends. Otherwise, the evenings and weekends are yours to explore campus, workout at the gym, just chill out, or head downtown to check out the happenings in Asheville.

Who do I ask if I have questions or want more information?

Email one or both of the co-directors of the REU: Drs. Chris Hennon and Rebecca Helm