Summer 2021 NSF Fellowships: Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

SUST majors @RooseveltU, particularly those who have had some biology and/or environmental science classes, are in a good position to apply for a Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) summer fellowships, offered through generous funding by the National Science Foundation. These fellowships are excellent opportunities to work directly with scientific researchers on lab- and field-based topics, gain hands-on research experience, and network with fellow undergrads from other schools. Plus they’re well compensated with a fellowship stipend of several thousand dollars. (Yes — you read that correctly.)

Chicago Botanic Garden REU Symposium 2015 (Source: CBG)

Chicago Botanic Garden REU Symposium 2015 (Source: CBG)

Here in the Chicago region there are several notable REU programs that offer multiple paid fellowships, including those based in the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Plant Biology and Conservation Program (2/5 application deadline) and Northeastern IL University‘s water quality study in the Yucatan Peninsula (2/15 deadline).

Further afield, there are many other opportunities available in Illinois, in the Midwest, and across the US. Two excellent ones, for example, are the Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region program at the University of Michigan Biological Station (2/15 deadline) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Summer Student Fellowship program (2/5 deadline). Both have very generous stipends and are phenomenal places to spend a summer doing field-based environmental research! (Coincidentally, SUST prof Mike Bryson worked at both of these sites back in his college days in the late 1980s, when the REU program was a new thing.)

Interested applicants should also check out the NSF’s REU Students website for access to dozens of fellowships opportunities across across the US. Consult individual program sites for 2020 application materials and deadlines, which are usually in late January or throughout February/March.

Back in summer 2012, SUST alum Allison Breeding (BA ’13) won a REU fellowship at SIU’s Center for Ecology and studied agroecology in beautiful Southern Illinois. She blogged about her experiences here and presented an overview of her research at the October 2013 Sustainability Studies Student Symposium.

Want to learn more? Check out the links above! And remember: you can’t get one of these awesome fellowships unless you apply . . .

From the NSF Website (REU For Students):

NSF funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU Sites program. An REU Site consists of a group of ten or so undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution. Each student is associated with a specific research project, where he/she works closely with the faculty and other researchers. Students are granted stipends and, in many cases, assistance with housing and travel. Undergraduate students supported with NSF funds must be citizens or permanent residents of the United States or its possessions. An REU Site may be at either a US or foreign location.

By using the web page, Search for an REU Site, you may examine opportunities in the subject areas supported by various NSF units. Also, you may search by keywords to identify sites in particular research areas or with certain features, such as a particular location.

Students must contact the individual sites for information and application materials. NSF does not have application materials and does not select student participants. A contact person and contact information is listed for each site.

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Graduate Program Info Sessions this Month @RooseveltU

Roosevelt’s Wabash Building (background) and Auditorium Building (foreground); source: Roosevelt University

Are you looking to continue your education with a graduate degree? This month the College of Arts & Sciences and the Office of Graduate Admissions @RooseveltU are hosting a series of information sessions on various graduate programs in our college. Click on the links below to go to the registration pages for each event:

Dec. 9th – Public Administration, MPA Online Info Session from 2:00 – 2:30pm

Dec. 9th – Paralegal Studies Program Online Info Session from 5:30 – 6:30pm

Dec. 9th – Biology Graduate Programs Online Info Session from 6:00 – 6:45pm

Dec. 14th – Graduate Psychology Programs Online Info Session from 2:00 – 3:00pm

Dec. 15th – Marketing Communications Online Info Session from 5:00 – 5:45pm

Dec. 17th – Industrial Organizational Psychology Online Info Session from 5:00 – 5:45pm

Dec. 17th – Roosevelt University Graduate Programs Online Info Session from 5:00 – 5:45pm

The full calendar of graduate admission events @RooseveltU can be found here:!categories/admission

Posted in degrees, education, events, Roosevelt, students | 1 Comment

RU Green Sponsors “Climate Warriors” Film & Discussion on 12/7

The Roosevelt sustainability student organization, RU Green, is hosting a showing of the documentary Climate Warriors on Monday, December 7th, at 5 pm. This film follows many stories of climate injustices around the world and shows what people are doing to combat these atrocities. Following the documentary will be a short discussion about the climate justice movement.

All RU community members are welcome to attend! To register for the event please go to so RU Green organizers can get a rough headcount of attendees and work out final logistics. RU Green will email responders a link on the day of the event. For more info, contact RU Green president Sophia Gallo (

Posted in activities, arts, climate change, education, events, Roosevelt, social justice, students | 1 Comment

Register Now for SUST 370 – Mapping for Sustainability (Spring 2021)


Interactive IL school garden map created with GIS by B. Jerome, 2019

The Sustainability Studies program’s will offer an innovative course entitled Mapping for Sustainability this coming Spring 2021 semester at Roosevelt U. This remote course utilizes Geographic Information Science (GIS )software, which allows us to visualize data, ask questions, and conduct analysis so that we can better understand relationships and patterns in our world. A great example of GIS in action is the recent work by SUST alum Bria Jerome (BA ’19), who mapped school gardens across the state of IL as part of her Spring 2019 sustainability internship with Seven Generations Ahead.

Everything is geographical – literally everything happens somewhere. This means that GIS is used in every field, from businesses trying to figure out the best new location for a new store, to public health officials trying to identify patterns in the spreading of disease, to conservationists looking to map critical resources for protection. And of course, many of the apps on your smart phone are using and producing geographic data that help us in our daily lives! Perhaps most importantly for RU students, job growth for folks with GIS skills is predicted to be higher than the national average.

Students in the course will be exposed to the rapidly growing world of spatial analysis and cartography using the industry’s leading software tool, ArcGIS. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on work with GIS software, we’ll learn

  • about the types of geographic data and the theories underlying GIS
  • the principles of cartography (scale, resolution, projection, etc)
  • how to store, analyze and interpret spatial data
  • how to make maps
  • how to apply GIS to create apps

Because this is a course in the Sustainability Studies program, the majority of our GIS applications will focus on environmental and social questions. However, students will have the opportunity to develop their own GIS projects, so students from all majors are welcome in the course.

As an example of how GIS works, consider the following image:


Data from different sources (layers) can be combined so that specific questions can be asked about their relationships. Let’s say we wanted to identify a suitable location for a new park in the city of Los Angeles. We could combine data about population characteristics, land use, and the presence of toxic releases and then use GIS analysis tools to refine our search. Consider the image below, which shows a screenshot from an ArcGIS project on ESRI’s website that deals with this question:


The green squares indicate places where a park would serve an underprivileged area using vacant land that is far from toxic releases. The ability to inform land use decision-making is just one of the many useful applications of GIS that we will engage with in the course.

Course Registration Information

  • Title/number: SUST 370 Mapping for Sustainability (section 01)
  • Instructor: Dr. Graham Pickren
  • Semester offered: Spring 2021
  • Location: Remote (Bb and Zoom)
  • Day/time: Thursday 2-4:30pm
  • Start date: 19 Jan 2021
  • Pre-req: Undergraduate level ENG 102 Minimum Grade of C-
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Summer 2021 Course Preview for SUST 361 Urban Ecology

This coming Summer 2021, the Sustainability Studies program will offer an innovative and exciting fully-online course, SUST 361 Urban Ecology, taught by Prof. Graham Pickren.

SUST students conduct field experiments on water infiltration rates in Chicago parklands (summer 2018)

A unique experiential learning (EXL) seminar, SUST 361 introduces students to the research methods and practices of the growing field of Urban Ecology. In the environmental sciences, cities were once considered unsuitable for studies of “nature.” However, urban landscapes are now being recognized not only as important places for wildlife habitat, but also as laboratories where new relationships between people and ecosystems are emerging.

This course provides students with an overview of urban ecology followed by instruction in research methodologies like air quality monitoring, urban heat island monitoring, and stormwater management. While normally offered as an in-person experiential learning course, due to COVID-19 this course will be offered fully online in 2021. Students will independently collect and analyze data relevant to human and ecological well-being in Chicago and will visit significant ecological sites around the city on their own. Professor Pickren will provide guidance via Zoom and Blackboard. This will typically involve students meeting with the professor via Zoom in the morning and then practicing research methods in the field in the afternoon. The course culminates in a series of reports on topics of significance to the environmental community in Chicago.

  • Title/number: SUST 361 Urban Ecology (section 98)
  • Semester offered: Summer 2021, Session D (July 12 thru Aug 14)
  • Location: Online
  • Pre-req: ENG 102
  • Registration info for Visiting and Non-Degree Seeking students

SUST majors and minors may take this class to fulfill an upper-level SUST 3xx requirement, but 361 also is open to students at large (currently at RU, from the colleges and universities of the Resilience Studies Consortium, or other institutions) seeking an experiential learning course, needing a general education course, or desiring elective credit.

Course goals:

  • Demonstrate basic command of core urban ecology methods, concepts, and theory;
  • Design a practical multidisciplinary research project as a team;
  • Collect and analyze data to inform research questions;
  • Write a research report and deliver project findings to stakeholders in written and oral form; and
  • Make scientifically informed decisions about societal issues related to urban areas.

For questions and more details about this course, please contact Dr. Graham Pickren (, assistant professor of Sustainability Studies. RU’s summer session registration information is available here.

Posted in biodiversity, cities, conservation, courses, ecology, education, faculty, parks and public land, Roosevelt, science, students, wildlife | Comments Off on Summer 2021 Course Preview for SUST 361 Urban Ecology

Just By Nature: Environmental Justice Events @RooseveltU throughout Fall 2020

All Events will take place on Zoom:

For more information please contact Prof. Bethany Barratt (, and share a pdf of these events:

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Social Justice Toolbox Workshop Series Continues 11/12 @RooseveltU

This Thursday is the second of three Social Justice Toolbox Workshops sponsored by the Mansfield Institute of Social Justice @RooseveltU. Registration is free and open to the entire RU community, but students are especially encouraged to attend!

Overview of all Toobox events:

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Social Justice Toolbox Workshop Series Starts 11/5 @RooseveltU

To register for any or all of these events, visit this link:

Pdf version of this image:

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Pre-Election Events @RooseveltU on 11/2/20

Click here for more information on these events @RooseveltU! And here’s a version of the above image you can share:

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SUST Alumni Discuss Careers in Sustainability

Are you interested in pursuing a career related to environmental sustainability? If so, please join members of RU’s Environmental Sustainability Committee in a virtual panel discussion about successfully pursuing a career in the field of sustainability. 

Our panel features three recent graduates of the Sustainability Studies program who will discuss the most important things they did to help them find a job in this exciting field. Our panelists are:

  1. Brittany Janney, ’18. Environmental Technician with Davey Resource Group
  2. MeLissa Tate, ’18. Corporate Sustainability Specialist at Ferrara Candy Company
  3. Margaret Allen, ’19. Industrial Hygienist Technician, Environmental Design International

I’ve asked these recent grads to talk about how they secured full-time employment in a sustainability-focused career and highlight the things that helped them be successful. Participants in the meeting will have a chance to ask questions and have a conversation with our panelists. This will be an informal conversation and is meant to help all current RU students, whether you are a senior or a first-year. Snacks will be provided…by you, wherever you are.

The meeting will be on Zoom and will run from 4:15 – 5pm on Thursday, October 15th. Please contact Professor Graham Pickren for access to the Zoom link by sending an email to gpickren [at symbol] roosevelt [dot] edu

Posted in activities, alumni, green jobs, Roosevelt, students | 1 Comment