REU Belize 2018

People and science

About Project

Welcome!

U.S. undergraduates join us for a paid summer research experience that will change your entire perspective on what it means to be an international community scholar! Welcome to the website for the University of Central Florida’s Community GIS and Citizen Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site funded by National Science Foundation Award #1560015. Our international REU Site is part of the UCF Department of Sociology and the UCF GIS Cluster Initiative at the second largest university in the United States. We are looking forward to hosting a group of at least 8 outstanding undergraduate students from across the country in summer 2018 in Belize and in Orlando, Florida. We emphasize engaged, community-based research while also preparing students for future academic and non-academic careers in GIS, geospatial technologies, geography, sociology, geosciences, education, community development, public health, and land use planning.

The Research

The research training program is the first of its kind for U.S. undergraduates given its explicit international focus on community geography/GIS and participatory methodologies. Student mastery of geospatial STEM research skills will be accomplished largely through students creating an open and freely available geospatial data infrastructure to address social and environmental disparities related to marine debris and flooding/disaster management in Belize. This objective will include the creation of an online, interactive geospatial data and mapping portal through ArcGIS Online.

Research Directions

Selected students will collaborate with our team in 1 of 3 research directions:

  • Research Track 1: Mapping disparities in flooding & disaster management
  • Research Track 2: Mapping marine debris & mitigating impacts on coastal communities
  • Research Track 3: Drone mapping and spatial storytelling for coastal and island communities (new for 2018 with an additional NSF supplemental grant)s

Timeline

Start

March 2

Priority Deadline Application

Pre-Belieze

June 25 - June 29

Pre-Departure Training at UCF

In Belieze

July 2-July 20

REU Activities While in Belize

Post-Belieze

July 23-July 27

Post-Belize Final Preparations

August

Post-REU Conference Presentations, Mentoring, and Writing Retreat

End

Applicants

What Type of Undergraduate Students Do We Want in Our REU Site? We want undergraduates with the following traits: a passion for community-based research a desire to engage in a life-changing international field research experience a strong and creative work ethic a willingness to challenge yourself, while having fun, and being committed to collaborative learning an interest in living in Belize for the majority of the summer a desire to learn more about all aspects of research a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone, learn about yourself, and challenge your world views The application window is now closed for the Summer 2018 REU Site. The priority application deadline was March 2, 2018. Thank you to the 547 applicants for this year’s program. A complete application includes: 1) an application form through Google Forms, 2) submission of a personal statement (limited to 3 double-spaced pages) and unofficial transcripts as attachments to belizereusite@gmail.com, and 3) submission of 1 reference letter from a faculty, employer, or mentor to belizereusite@gmail.com. The reference letter should be sent directly by the writer of the letter, not the REU student applicant. Applications materials should be addressed to Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne (REU Principal Investigator). Incomplete applications will not be accepted. Potential candidates may be contacted for a follow-up Skype interview within one month of the priority application deadline. Learn more about the application process on our application instructions page. Watch the REU Site Video below to gain a better understanding of the creative approaches we utilize in our international research.


Previous REU Success

Prior to his arrival at UCF in August 2015, Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne was the Principal Investigator of the nation’s first community geography and GIS REU Site in Atlanta, Georgia while an Assistant Professor of Geography at Georgia State University. The Atlanta REU Site was a tremendous success and a collaborative effort with Co-PI Dr. Katherine Hankins, Associate Professor of Geography at Georgia State University. The lessons learned from the first REU Site in Atlanta led Dr. Hawthorne to conceptualize the Community Geography and GIS REU Site in Belize and focus on expanding community geography models into international settings to include his previous Belize research and teaching experiences with Dr. Christy Visaggi.


REU Team


Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne

Founding Research Director



Sara Peluso

Student Staff



Amber Rutstein

Student Staff



Christine Munisteri

Key Personnel



Patricia Bencivenga

Student Staff



Nicholas Altizer

Program Assistant Coordinator



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