Undergraduate Research and Internships

Environmental Studies student taking notes in the field

While research opportunities in the Environmental Studies program can be connected with several classes, including Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica and Ecology as well as ChangeLab, students can also choose 10-week summer research projects.

The native plant garden on UE’s campus has been developed to incorporate student-driven research through UExplore. Specifically, the experimental area of UE’s native plant garden provides a forum for research into ecological questions, and those often take an environmental bent. One research project in particular focused on monarch oviposition preference among native milkweed plants and explored which species promote monarch success. Another study in the native plant garden has explored which species of native plants recruit the most pollinator species. Given the decline in bee pollinators due to habitat destruction, knowing which plants can promote bee success is critical. Undergraduate students have used results of each of these projects to develop ChangeLab courses.

In partnership with Wesselman Woods Nature Preserve, as well as the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, a long-term research site has been established to examine the concern of deer browsing combined with a recalcitrant layer of pawpaws that may prevent forest regeneration. Given that Wesselman Woods is the best quality ancient forest in Indiana, this research is critical to the health of the forest. However, the research will also provide direction for forest management for Midwestern old growth forests. Undergraduate Environmental Studies students often participate in this research.