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Inclusive Student Training in Collections and field-based Topics REU Program 

Program Dates: May 31 - July 23, 2021

Apply Here


Program Description

Inclusive Student Training in Collections and field-based Topics (InSTInCT) is an 8-week summer research program that provides undergraduates an opportunity to conduct cutting-edge scientific research on the diversity of life and organisms in their natural environment. Students are matched with a faculty mentor based on research interests and are given access and exposure to the wealth of resources and facilities that UT Austin has to offer. Participants receive a $4,000 summer stipend, a travel voucher, and room and board at UT Austin. 

A central theme of InSTInCT is to broaden the participation of historically excluded groups in the natural sciences. Program participants partake in an inclusive professional development curriculum that highlights careers in the biodiversity sciences, applying to graduate school, and thriving as a scientist. 

InSTInCT students will have multiple opportunities to engage with the broader community of field- and collections-based researchers at UT through weekly socials, grad student mentors, facility tours, and field trips. The program will culminate in a research symposium where InSTInCT students will present their summer research to the UT community.

This program is made possible through the Stengl-Wyer Endowment.


Students have the opportunity to work with faculty from various departments at the University of Texas at Austin. In Summer 2021, the following faculty have agreed to serve as mentors on student research projects:


Wolf 2

Dr. Amy Wolf

Integrative Biology Ecosystem Ecology, Species Interactions, Biodiversity, Plant Ecology, Global Change https://ameliawolf.weebly.com


Dr. Brian Sedio

Integrative Biology Chemical Ecology, Plant-microbe interactions, trait evolution, biogeography http://briansedio.weebly.com


Dr. Chris Bell

Geosciences Vertebrate paleontology, Osteology, Systematics, Impacts of climate change on vertebrate communities https://www.jsg.utexas.edu/researcher/chris_bell/ 


Dr. Hans Hofmann

Integrative Biology Neurobiology, Evolution, Social Behavior, Decision-making, Cognition https://cichlid.biosci.utexas.edu


Dr. Harold Zakon

Integrative Biology Electric Fish, Ion Channels, Animal Neural Systems, Molecular Signaling  https://integrativebio.utexas.edu/component/cobalt/item/7-integrative-biology/411-zakon-harold-h?Itemid=1224


Dr. Jay Banner

Geosciences Paleoclimate, paleohydrology, modern aquifers in urbanizing environments https://www.jsg.utexas.edu/banner/


Dr. Jennifer Miller

Geography GIS, Movement pattern analysis, Spatial statistics, Biogeography https://sites.utexas.edu/jamiller/


Dr. Julia Clarke

Geosciences Evolution of morphology, vertebrate paleontology, systematic biology, avian anatomy and the evolution of flight, fossil birds. Dinosaurs. http://juliaclarke-paleolab.com/about 


Dr. Justin Havird

Integrative Biology Mitochondrial Physiology, Mitonuclear Interactions, Thermal Adaptation, Evolutionary Biology https://sites.cns.utexas.edu/havird 


Dr. Lisa Boucher

Geosciences Paleobotany, Evolutionary Biology, Paleoecology, Biogeography, Plant Anatomy https://www.jsg.utexas.edu/researcher/lisa_boucher/


Dr. Melissa Kemp

Integrative Biology Paleobiology, Conservation Biology, Vertebrate Ecology and Evolution, Global Change Biology http://www.thekemplab.com 


Dr. Shalene Jha

Integrative Biology Conservation Biology, Pollinators, Plant-Animal Interactions, Landscape Genomics  http://w3.biosci.utexas.edu/jha/


Dr. Thomas Juenger

Integrative Biology Plant Ecology and Evolution, Drought Tolerance, Plant-Animal Interactions, Biofuels https://sites.cns.utexas.edu/juenger_lab/home


Dr. Travis Laduc

Integrative Biology Herpetology, Biodiversity, Natural History, Ecology https://biodiversity.test.cns.utexas.edu/component/cobalt/item/108-biodiversity-center/501-laduc-travis-j?Itemid=1362


Dr. Chase Smith

Integrative Biology Freshwater Mussel and other Bivalve Phylogenetics, Mitochondrial Inheritence, Sex Determination https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Chase-Smith


Dr. Shana Caro

Integrative Biology Social behavior, parental care, birds, communication http://shanacaro.weebly.com/


Dr. Tom Bytnerowicz

Integrative Biology Plant ecology, nutrient limitation, nitrogen fixation tbytnerowicz.weebly.com



The University of Texas at Austin is the flagship school of the University of Texas System and one of the biggest and best research universities in the world. Our Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior graduate program is ranked 6th in Ecology / Evolutionary Biology according to U.S. News & World Report (2019 ed.). 

Austin, the state’s capital, is an eclectic, diverse city known for its live music, barbeque, breakfast tacos, and the world’s largest urban bat colony. You will get an opportunity to explore Austin and the surrounding area throughout the summer, in addition to field trips to other regions of Texas.

Note on COVID-19: While we hope to host the REU in-person, we will abide by University guidelines, meaning that the program may be held virtually. Regardless of format, we are committed to your success. Students are encouraged to apply regardless of whether or not they are able to travel for an in-person research experience.


Any undergraduate student enrolled in a 2-year or 4-year degree program is eligible, and students from underrepresented populations are encouraged to apply. The National Science Foundation defines underrepresented populations in biology as those that identify as first-generation college students, women, persons with disabilities, and/or represent Black, Hispanic, LatinX, and Indigenous groups.

How to apply

The application to apply can be found here, and is due on March 31, 2021

In addition to some demographic information, you will be asked several questions, described below. We highly recommend that you prepare answers to these questions in a word document and copy your answers into the application form:

1. List up to 6 relevant college-level courses that you have completed or enrolled in.

2. Briefly describe your scientific and research interests, career goals, and what you hope to gain by participating in the program (3,000 characters or less).

3. Previous experience applying to and/or participating in a research training program.

Applicants will be notified by mid-April of their application status.

FAQ - Any questions can be directed to mkemp[at]austin[dot]utexas[dot]edu