Tarleton receives $350,000 NSF grant for undergraduate research project


STEPHENVILLE (June 21, 2017) — Tarleton State University is recipient of a nearly $350,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to be used to fund a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.

The Tarleton program, Restoring Cattle Ranches for Sustainable Land and Water Resources, is designed to increase the involvement of undergraduate students in scientific research.

“We’re heavily recruiting from two-year community colleges and four-year universities that really don’t have these types of undergraduate research opportunities,” said Dr. Christopher Higgins, associate professor of biological sciences and director of Tarleton’s Timberlake Biological Field Station.

The Tarleton REU focuses on a wide variety of environmentally-related concerns associated with converting a working cattle ranch into a long-term field station focused on the ecological integrity of the Colorado River and the diverse flora and fauna of the Cross Timbers and Edward’s Plateau ecoregions in Texas.

The program is multidisciplinary in nature, involving 10 faculty members from six departments across three colleges. They are:
• Dr. Christopher Higgins – principal investigator, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Barbara Bellows – co-principal investigator, Wildlife, Sustainability and Ecosystem Science
• Dr. Robert Cavazos – supporting faculty, Sociology
• Dr. Victoria Chraibi – supporting faculty, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Kristin Herrmann – supporting faculty, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Jesse Meik – supporting faculty, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Allan Nelson – supporting faculty, Biological Sciences
• Dr. Rajani Srinivasan – supporting faculty, Chemistry
• Dr. Carol Thompson – supporting faculty, Geosciences
• Dr. Kartik Venkataraman – supporting faculty, Environmental Engineering.

Each summer, Tarleton will select 10 undergraduate students will to conduct scientific research in aquatic ecology, community ecology, environmental biology, environmental chemistry, environmental engineering, environmental sociology, geospatial analyses, herpetology, hydrogeology, ichthyology, landscape management, ornithology, parasitology, plant ecology, restoration ecology, sustainability, water quality and wildlife management.

Students are required to present their findings at an end-of-summer research symposium, and the top student researchers will be selected to present their results at regional, national or international conferences.

For more information, visit www.tarleton.edu/programs/timberlakeranch/REU.html.

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