This summer at the University of Central Florida, we are pleased to host the 5th year of our National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) and Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) Site “Preparing the Next Generation of Scholars through Community GIS and Citizen Science.” Our program, recognized with a 2017 Esri Special Achievement Award, offers fully funded summer research experiences for at least 8 U.S. undergraduate students and 2 U.S. K-12 teachers in Belize for 5 weeks and Orlando for two weeks. The program is open to all U.S. students and K-12 teachers and runs June 8 – July 23, 2020.

2019 REU students prepping a drone for fieldwork in Belize.

Interdisciplinary Team: We are interdisciplinary in nature emphasizing community geography, community GIS, and citizen science through mixed methods, including sketch mapping, mobile mapping applications, focus groups, in-depth interviews, GIS, drones, and spatial analysis.

Facebook Live: We’re hosting a Facebook Live Event “Secrets to an Awesome Citizen Science GIS REU/RET Application” on Thursday, March 12 @ 3 pm EST. Join Dr. Hawthorne (REU PI) as he gives away the secrets to a successful application to our National Science Foundation (NSF) REU/RET Site in Orlando and Belize. Please share with your pals and have them join us. #citizensciencegis #ucfreu. Join the discussion at

Research opportunities: Students will work in one of two research directions with community partners and mentors from University of Central Florida, Old Dominion University, University of Belize, The Hopkins Belize Village Council, and The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems Program:

• Research Direction 1: Leveraging community geography and GIS to map disparities in flooding
• Research Direction 2: Leveraging community geography and GIS to reduce waste and prevent marine debris

Compensation: Each REU student and RET teacher will receive a competitive funding package, including a $4200 research stipend, a meal allowance, free shared housing in Belize and Orlando, up to $750 in travel support to/from the REU Site, and up to $750 for post-REU conference or industry travel.

Application process: The priority application deadline is Friday, March 27th @ 5 PM EST. Complete program information and application instructions can be found at

2018 REU students collecting beach debris data with a local youth in Belize.

Questions can be directed to:
• Dr. Timothy Hawthorne: Principal Investigator, Associate Professor of Geographic Information Systems at University of Central Florida,
• Dr. Hannah Torres: Co-Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor of Resilience Studies at Old Dominion University,

Check us out on the web and share on social media!

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