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Summer Research Program Information for Mentors

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Our 2024 summer program dates: Monday, May 20 - Friday, August 2

The Harvard Forest Summer Research Program in Ecology is an 11-week immersive research experience connecting undergraduate students to mentors and researchers in the pursuit of scientific inquiry.

Our holistic view of the program is a 3-legged stool:

Summer Research Program students with mentor

  • Research: Elevate the impact of your research by working at a world-class research hub. Situate your research within a network of networks (LTER, NEON, Ameriflux, ForestGEO)
  • Education: Bridge your teaching and research through mentoring. Mentor lunches to share successes and learn from challenges, leverage programmatic resources to provide a premier research and professional development opportunity for your mentee(s)
  • Community: Join an inclusive community dedicated to team science. Meet new collaborators while mentoring in group projects, get involved with network science

How the Program Works

Program Leadership consists of Audrey Barker Plotkin (Director) and Ben Goulet-Scott (Program Coordinator).  The best way to contact us is

Core funding for the program comes from NSF REU Site grant, Harvard University funds, and the Harvard Forest LTER program. Mentors are encouraged to include student funding in grants, request grant supplements, and/or seek institutional funding to help support the program.

The Harvard Forest Summer Program is a year-round endeavor.

  • In the fall (October-November) research mentors from Harvard Forest and collaborating institutions meet to review program goals, and to develop summer research project descriptions for students to choose from when they apply to the program. A research project is made up of a collaborative research team with multiple students and mentors, all working together to address an overarching research question or theme.
  • During the winter (December - February) mentors help with recruitment of students, review applications, conduct interviews, and make hiring decisions in collaboration with the program leadership.
  • In the spring (April-May) mentors begin planning for summer research.  We hold a spring planning meeting to facilitate the logistics of conducting summer research at Harvard Forest.  Mentors also participate in summer program orientation to get a better understanding of research, education, and community activities for students and mentors.
  • During the summer, our main goal is for students to work closely with their primary mentor(s) on their focal project, and within the larger group, building skills and independence in the research process. The program culminates in an annual summer symposium where students present their research to their peers, mentors, and the broader research community. 

Questions about mentorship? Contact

  Harvard Forest mentors