January 7, 2016

Application Instructions


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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

Application Process: The application process for the UCF Community Geography and GIS REU Site is based on a highly competitive, nationwide search of talented undergraduate students.  Previous coursework in geography, GIS and related disciplines is highly desirable, but not required.  We also encourage students with skill sets in GIS, GPS, interviewing, qualitative data analysis, and/or facilitating focus groups.  There is no minimum GPA requirement, but preference will be given to students with a 3.0 or higher GPA and who demonstrate significant potential for succeeding in a collaborative international research experience.  No previous international field experience is required and foreign language skills are not necessary as Belize is an English speaking country.

Sunset over the Belize Barrier Reef off of South Water Caye, this is our research environment.

Sunset over the Belize Barrier Reef off of South Water Caye, this is our research environment.

Targeted Disciplines: Given the multi-disciplinary appeal of community geography and GIS, students in the disciplines below are likely to find this program most appealing, though we welcome applications from students across any and all relevant disciplines:

  • geography
  • sociology
  • marine/water sciences
  • environmental studies/policy programs
  • anthropology
  • planning
  • public health
  • biology
  • other STEM-infused disciplines

Commitment to Broadening Participation: The UCF REU Site is deeply committed to including students from all backgrounds, and will strive for inclusion of students from underrepresented groups, including women, returning non-traditional students, minorities, persons with disabilities, and first-generation college students.  We especially encourage students from institutions that lack similar international research programs (e.g., non-research institutions, liberal arts schools, tribal colleges, community colleges, and historically black colleges and universities).

Enrollment Requirement and Citizenship Status: Each student must be an undergraduate enrolled in a college or university in the United States in the fall of 2017. Students graduating prior to the start of the UCF REU are not eligible to apply.  As a program funded by The National Science Foundation, each student must also be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to participate in the REU Site.


Application Instructions and Deadline:

The Priority Application Deadline Has Passed.  It was Friday, February 17, 2017 at 5 PM EST.  We are humbled by the over 500 applicants who have taken an interest in our program.  It’s clear that our nation’s brightest are interested in our movement to develop more effective and reflective community-based research in international settings.  Thank you!

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.

Importance of the Personal Statement: The personal statement is the most important component of a student’s application, so please give it some significant time and thought.  The Personal Statement (limited to 3 double-spaced pages) should include: 1) a description of research interests, including how Belize might fit into these interests; 2) an explanation of what it means to engage in community research in a developing country; and 3) a discussion of potential post-graduation plans.  The best personal statements will have a strong personal voice and demonstrate how your coursework and/or real-world experiences have prepared you for success in the Belize REU.  When we read your statement we want to hear your passion about international work and community-based research.  Please be sure to proofread your statement and consider having a faculty member at your home university/college provide you with helpful feedback prior to submission.

Decision Timeline: Within one month of the priority application deadline, the PI and Co-PI will contact a short-list of applicants for Skype interviews.  We will choose a cohort of at least 8 students for the REU, and create a ranked alternate list of 4 additional students.

If you have any questions about the UCF REU Site application process, please contact Dr. Timothy L. Hawthorne at timothy.hawthorne@ucf.edu or by phone at 407-823-1030.