“The Sevilleta Art REU program provided space for engagement in independent research, intellectual discourse with peers and professionals, and a new perspective on desert ecosystems. I found myself immersed in an environment different from my home institution, which introduced new perspectives on how to both operate in and serve our environment. This stimulation seeped its way into my artwork, inspiring me to create site-specific investigations of the flora and fauna surrounding me everyday. My art practice is bettered by the independence that was allowed, where I found new ways of pursuing the concepts driving my work. The unique facilities of the field station challenged me to work within some material boundaries, while pushing me to find new ways of considering the photographic medium. I recommend this program for any artist who is inspired not only by the beauty of the natural landscape, but of its inner workings and the complex relationships it holds. Spending the summer surrounded by an environment of constant surprise and wonderful people was an incomparable opportunity.”

Sarah Rose, 2018

This summer was one of the greatest research experiences I’ve ever had. My research project itself was fun and stimulating, but the real value of the program for me was the network of friends I made and the enthusiastic environment that encouraged me to learn beyond my comfort zone and analyze topics in a more conceptual way. I received valuable advice for my future goals as a scientist, and was encouraged to participate in projects outside of my own. The field station itself was beautiful and well-organized, and the habitat is immersive and inspiring. I would recommend the program to anyone interested in pursuing research, conservation, and biology.”

Jennifer Schlauch, 2018

“The Sevilleta REU program taught me how it is to conduct real independent research! I definitely learned A LOT from this experience and urge others to participate. You are at the hands of many professionals in the field and everything you learn is truly of value no matter where you are in your academic career. I would have never pictured myself being able to work alongside ecological professionals and awesome like minded cohorts— much less in a BEAUTIFUL wildlife refuge setting. It was an extraordinary experience.”

Jennifer Holguin, 2017

“This summer at Sevilleta was everything I could have asked for and more. This being my first research experience, I gained a great amount of understanding about both wildlife and myself. Everything from field work to journal club to our fun camping trips was so eye-opening and I really expanded outside of my comfort zone. This was a wonderful opportunity for everyone to explore our interests, make lifelong friends, and decide whether or not research is right for us. I am now confident that graduate school is the next step for me. I will always be thankful that Sevilleta has provided me with memories and motivation for a future career in science.”

Mary Lloyd, 2017

The Sevilleta REU have been my first experience doing research abroad. I’m from Puerto Rico and did never imagine such wonderful experience awaiting at New Mexico. First, I was astonished by the amount of biodiversity that I found in an arid region. The Sevilleta Wildlife Refuge offers unlimited opportunities for research. Second, the facilities of the station and the SERF are incredible. They cover any need that a researcher might have and this makes a big difference at the moment of choosing a place for doing research. And for last and more important than anything else was the staff and professors that works with the Station. The coordinator and advisor did an amazing job helping us in every way and making our experience comforting one. And all the staff, professors and advisors were fundamental for the process of learning and getting the most of our research experience. I will surely recommend this REU program to all my friends at the University of Puerto Rico and I really hope that my next REU experience would be at least close to this one. Thanks for this wonderful experience.”

Emir Padron, 2016

My Research experience this summer was amazing! I had the opportunity to work on the Gunnison’s Prairie Introduction. The Sevilleta REU provided seminars and research experience which have significantly shaped my future. I learned many different techniques in mammal trapping and observation. I was exposed to experimental design and most importantly the REU stressed the importance of Biology Research. I have had experience in Biomedical Research and Medical Research, and by far this summer was my most enjoyable experience. This summer even though I was up in the early morning hours, the REU was the best summer experience I have had so far. The mentoring provided by the research station staff along with my mentor was influential in my development as a scientist. The research station staff were extremely helpful in guiding my research along with influencing my summer. They provided different seminars which provided an introduction to various topics that could help influence my future research. I hope to do research again on the Sevilleta. As I progress through my career, the experience and knowledge gained on the Sevilleta will stay with me throughout my life.

Joaquin Garcia, 2016

Every day was a learning experience from journal club, seminars, field work to interacting with fellow REUs from across the country. Collaborating with a mentor dedicated to student success has been full of opportunities for personal and academic growth. My mentor matched me to a research project that strengthened my interest in dryland ecosystems. This is an excellent program for exploring your interests and scientific abilities with a hands-on approach. I am more than ever motivated to go on to Graduate School knowing that this and past experiences have prepared me for academic success.

Andrea Lopez, 2016

It is not an exaggeration that this is the coolest program I have ever participated in; I grew scientifically and personally. I met many awesome people from different states and countries, and made lifelong friendships. I found the staff members were accommodating, kind, helpful, and inspiring. I felt they truly cared for me as a person and wanted me to succeed. They fostered a fun and exciting learning environment. I learned so much! We had a statics seminar, weekly ecology topics seminars, weekly public speaking classes, a power point presentation workshop, and weekly scientific papers analysis classes. In addition, they offered panels about how to get into graduate school or go straight into the workforce. I would recommend this to my friends. This program changed my life for the better. I am proud of what I did and excited to pursue a career in scientific research.”

Ashley Frost, 2016

Like many REU students this was my first time experiencing what it was really like to be a field ecologist. I worked on a project mostly independently with the support of many people including the Sevilleta administration and my PI. My experience helped to boost my confidence level as a researcher because I had the freedom to make my own decisions with my project. In addition to this confidence, in my experience at the Sevilleta I learned that a career in research doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sit in a lab all day every day. At my home institution most of the research being conducted is on the molecular level thus what I had experienced before the Sevilleta was limited to lab work. However, after last summer, I learned that an academic career is incredibly flexible. My summer at the Sevilleta confirmed my interested in plant ecology and I have since gone on to another REU program in Colorado with the same mentor from last summer and the support of those I met last summer.

Michelle Gray, 2015

This REU was an incredible experience that has benefitted me in my biology career in so many ways. I got the chance to engage fully in challenging research, learning new research techniques and refining my science writing and presentation skills. The program manager, Amaris Swann, coordinated a well-rounded schedule, complete with workshops in skills such as manuscript writing, speech giving and statistics, a weekly journal club presenting and discussing papers related to our research, and a weekly seminar with visiting researchers presenting their exciting work. We also went on several weekend trips through the beautiful landscape of New Mexico that were educational and fantastic for group bonding. This diverse schedule still allowed us plenty of time to do the necessary field and lab work for our research projects, with the aid and guidance of our mentors.

This is one of two REU programs in which I have participated. I must say that this program was the best planned, with the most support from both mentors and the program manager. I would highly recommend that my fellow undergrads apply, and sincerely hope that this wonderful program is allowed to continue.

Emily Kottler, 2014

Working at the Sevilleta was a turning point in my academic and personal trajectory. The experience I gained there gave me a sense of capability and confidence in my scientific ability. Working side by side with other young excited scientists as well as more experienced scientists helped to shape and inform my scientific perspective and make me passionate about current environmental issues. I loved the Sevilleta.

Elizabeth Black, 2014

My independent research project at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge was pivotal to my success academically and personally. This opportunity provided me with a strong foundation in analytical and field research, especially with supportive and caring mentors. I also gained a greater sense of confidence in my ability to contribute to scientific literature and in my ability as a competent scientist. I cannot thank this REU experience enough.

Wendy Flores, 2014

My summer at the Sevilleta LTER was one of the most impactful academic experiences. As a REU student, I had the opportunity to design my own project investigating the effects of human intervention on the community composition of freshwater macroinvertebrates. The program provided me the freedom of independently designing and facilitating my project in a supportive environment with multiple helpful mentors, a journal club to critically discuss novel ideas and methodologies in current ecological research, a weekly lecture from visiting researcher to learn about the variety of research projects at the LTER site, and a group of highly motivated peers to learn with and from. The program also provided us with the opportunity to present our research projects in a formal setting. Although challenging, the program has made me a more confident and inquisitive researcher, and given me the patience that is necessary to be a successful field biologist. Additionally, through the program I discovered that my interests lie in understanding the dynamic tensions that exist in the interface of society and the environment. I am so thankful for my REU experience and will continue to use the skills I gained that summer in my future post-graduate studies. I highly recommend the program to all aspiring ecologists with a willingness to learn the wonder of field biology in a breath-taking landscape with incredible mentors and supporters.

Cassandra Miller, 2014

As a result of this 11-week program, my academic perspective has entirely shifted in a positive way . I received hands-on mentorship from various partners of the program (faculty members, professionals from the field and professional societies, graduate students, etc.) and was able to attend seminars hosted by these partners. Journal clubs and practical skills workshops were also facilitated by the research mentors at the field station. My involvement with the Sevilleta allowed me to conduct an independent research project under Dr. Scott Collins that I was later able to present to my university’s graduate school and the Ecological Society of America’s Centennial Conference two years ago. I collected my own data and completed around 300 hours of field collection, sampling, and data analysis for my project. Because of the Sevilleta, I had the confidence and research expertise to go back to my home institution and successfully contribute to my department because of my experiences. 

Because of the Sevilleta, I have made lifelong friends and have gained mentors that I still connect with. I have now successfully matriculated into graduate school, like many of the program participants, and am finishing my master’s program this year in Environmental Health. I now am an intern at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the National Center for Environmental Health and attribute my data analysis skills to this internship.

Dorothy Stearns, 2014