Year 1: Research

Year 1 provides scholars with an introduction to qualitative and/or quantitative research methods. Scholars will focus on contributing to long-term, ongoing research projects with various labs and research groups affiliated with the University of Michigan and the School for Environment and Sustainability (SEAS), including the natural and social sciences. Through this 7-week experience, they gain mentorship from faculty and graduate students and contribute to research at the cutting edge in the environmental field.

Past research topics have focused on topics such as: 

  • Agriculture: Evaluating the ecosystem-services provided by cover crops for farmers in Michigan
  • Great Lakes Ecology: Investigating the effects phosphorus has on water quality and fish production in Lake Erie
  • Urban Sustainability: Assessing the re-purposing of vacant lots in Detroit as habitat for pollinators
  • Social Justice: Examining the impact of climate change on Tribal communities in the Great Lakes

At the end of their first summers, scholars get to present their research findings to the University of Michigan community, research mentors, and the general public at the Annual Capstone Symposium. Read more about the symposium here.


Here’s what our scholars are saying about their research experience:

“It was an awesome experience to have been exposed to the world of science first hand. As a geography major who mostly focuses on the physical and social aspects of the world, studying tiny aquatic organisms was a unique and unusual approach to understanding the world from a microscopical perspective.”

“I definitely grew professionally by gaining many technical skills in data collection and lab work. But most of all, I learned about how scientific research works and how spontaneous it can be (mainly because of weather) therefore, being able to adapt was super important. This summer helped me gain more insight and think more about grad school and the type of work I would like to do in the future.”

“I learned a lot this summer in the lab, both in terms of concrete skills like lab techniques and skills like using illustrator, but also how to communicate better with co-workers and work as a team. I really valued how willing members of the lab were to include me in experimental design and the quality of feedback I received on my work.”