IDEA (Increasing Diversity and Enhancing Academia) seeks motivated and talented undergraduate students interested in participating in a ten week summer research program and six Saturday Intensives during the academic year. Students will work with UNC faculty on cutting-edge science, participate in graduate school preparation seminars, and share experiences with each other. Research opportunities in the fields of Marine Sciences, Geology, Geography, and Environmental Sciences are available. Previous research experience is not required. IDEA provides the foundation and skills necessary to pursue a graduate degree in the geosciences. This program is funded by the National Science Foundation, Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Pathways into Geoscience (IUSE: GEOPATHS – IMPACT).


ERP_IDEA_field and lab work


Students Receive

  • Conduct lab and field research with faculty at UNC or NCCU or participate in an internship/externship with a private company, government agency, or non-profit focused on the geosciences
  • Earn a $3600 summer stipend (30 hours/week) and $300 Saturday Intensives stipend 
  • Participate in weekly graduate school preparation seminars throughout the summer
  • Participate in mid-summer retreat in coastal NC
  • Present your work at the UNC Research Symposium with additional opportunities for presenting at regional or national conferences

Eligibility

  • Full-time student (rising sophomore or junior) attending UNC or NCCU
  • Demonstrated interest in pursuing graduate school or a career pathway in one of the geosciences
  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Must be in, and remain, in good academic standing
  • Women and underrepresented minorities* in the geosciences are encouraged to apply
*Underrepresented minority groups (URM) in the geosciences, as defined by the National Science Foundation, are people of African American/Black, Hispanic American, Native Pacific Islander (Polynesian or Micronesian), and Native American (American Indian or Alaskan Native) descent. Members of these groups have representation in science and engineering less than their representation in the total population (NSF, 2011).

How to Apply

The application process will open on March 1, 2017. Applications will be available on this page

Click here for 2017-2018 application materials.

The application deadline has been extended to Friday, March 24 at 11:59pm. Applications will be reviewed by a selection committee and references will be contacted. If selected for an interview, you will be notified by mid-April. Interviews and final research position placement should be completed by the end of April.

Program Contact

Megan Hughes, Program Director
meganhughes@unc.edu | 919-966-2463

Commonly Asked Questions

Do I need research experience? No, the purpose of this program is to provide you with research experience. Depending on the research project or externship, you may need to have taken certain courses or have a particular skill. Carefully read the desired skills section under each position description. In many cases, certain skills are desired but not required.

Should my application be geared toward my first research choice? No, you are accepted to the IDEA Program first and then matched with a research project. We make every effort to match students with their first choice but several faculty may review your materials.

What research positions are available? Research positions change each year. Specific descriptions will be available on March 1.

Is there flexibility in the start and end dates? Students may start as early as May 22. Students are expected to commit to 300 hours during the summer. Most work 30 hours/week for 10 weeks. However, if a family vacation or summer class interferes with that schedule, there is flexibility to adjust the schedule as long as the research faculty agrees and the student completes 300 hours and turns in all expected work by August 11.

Is housing included? No, students must find their own housing.