Skip to main content

The Honors College Office is open, but our staff members are teleworking. We are available for student advising and meetings using Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, or phone. Please email us at honors@mail.wvu.edu or call us at 304-293-2100 to contact our staff. We are here for you!

  • Home
  • News
  • Opportunities for Paid Summer Research for Students Interested in Wildlife, Fisheries, Forestry & Biology

Opportunities for Paid Summer Research for Students Interested in Wildlife, Fisheries, Forestry & Biology

The Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program is a university-wide opportunity for students interested in graduate school and research within their discipline or a related discipline. This is a specific opportunity to participate in this larger, University-wide program under faculty mentor Dr. Christopher Rota and graduate mentor Hannah Clipp. Students selected for this opportunity will complete research at West Virginia University for eight weeks during the summer under the direction of a WVU faculty research mentor (Dr. Christopher Rota, assistant professor of Wildlife & Fisheries Resources) and a graduate mentor (Hannah Clipp, PhD student). 

Participating students receive a stipend of $4,000 and are expected to research full-time (minimum of 40 hours per week) from May 26 to July 24 (eight total weeks with one week of vacation built in for participants). 

The Research

Hannah Clipp has three wildlife/forestry research projects available for the summer of 2020:

Project 1: Analyzing Data from Game Cameras and Autonomous Recording Units for Bird Species of Interest

The SURE student will contribute to PhD dissertation research being conducted by Hannah Clipp on the use of wildlife openings in the Monongahela National Forest by a variety of bird species. 

Specifically, the SURE student will identify the presence of wild turkey, ruffed grouse, American woodcock, and eastern whip-poor-wills in wildlife openings by processing and analyzing data collected by game cameras and autonomous recording units set out in the spring. The SURE student will receive guidance from both Hannah and Dr. Rota in this process. Within the scope of the overarching project, a research question will be developed in a collaborative process that builds upon the student’s goals and interests. The student will also have access to vegetation and bird data from the previous year.

Although there is no official field component to this particular SURE research project due to the timing of data collection, there may be opportunities to accompany Hannah on game bird surveys prior to the start of the internship period (April 15 – May 10), if desired. During the summer, there may also be opportunities to accompany Hannah on bird point count and vegetation surveys in the Monongahela National Forest.

Project  2: Assessing Short- and Long-Term Change in Forest Composition and Structure

The SURE student will contribute to PhD dissertation research being conducted by Hannah Clipp on long-term change of forest songbird communities in the Monongahela National Forest.

Specifically, the SURE student will conduct vegetation surveys (i.e., tree and shrub plots) along historic bird survey transects within the Monongahela National Forest. Tree species identification skills are preferred but not required. The SURE student will receive training in how to identify trees/shrubs and conduct two types of vegetation surveys from Hannah. Within the scope of the overarching project, a research question will be developed in a collaborative process that builds upon the student’s goals and interests. The student will also have access to historic vegetation and bird data from the same transects they survey.

There is an extensive field component to this particular SURE research project. There may be additional opportunities to accompany Hannah Clipp on bird point count surveys in the Monongahela National Forest, if desired.

Project 3: Comparing Vegetation Cover Within Wildlife Openings

The SURE student will contribute to PhD dissertation research being conducted by Hannah Clipp on the use of wildlife openings in the Monongahela National Forest by a variety of birds species.

Specifically, the SURE student will conduct vegetation surveys (i.e., tree and cover plots) within and adjacent to wildlife openings located in the Monongahela National Forest. Tree species identification skills are preferred but not required. The SURE student will receive training in how to identify trees and conduct three types of vegetation surveys from Hannah Clipp. Within the scope of the overarching project, a research question will be developed in a collaborative process that builds upon the student’s goals and interests. The student will also have access to vegetation and bird data from the previous year.

There is an extensive field component to this particular SURE research project. There may be additional opportunities to accompany Hannah Clipp on bird point count surveys in the Monongahela National Forest, if desired.

Eligibility 

SURE participants must be: 
  • U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. and its territories; 
  • Undergraduates enrolled at a West Virginia higher education institution or a West Virginia state resident enrolled in an out-of-state college or university; and
  • College sophomores, juniors, or seniors as of the fall 2019 semester.
  • In addition, NSF KY-WV LSAMP Alliance funding will provide SURE support for an additional 5+ undergraduate STEM majors who are also from underrepresented populations (e.g., Hispanic, African-American, American Indian, etc.). These students are especially encouraged to apply.

Benefits

This summer research internship is paid. 

In addition, this opportunity will provide a foundation in wildlife/forestry/ecological research. The SURE student will gain experience with the scientific process, research question formulation, experimental design, survey techniques, data processing, data analysis, statistical software and presentation of results. For the right student, this experience can be a valuable stepping stone to other research opportunities, internships, technician positions, scholarships and ultimately graduate school.

Furthermore, there are weekly activities focused on the student’s professional development, and the student will receive mentoring from both Dr. Rota and Hannah Clipp.

Interested?

Application materials (short 250–500 word essay, resume, faculty recommendation letter) are due to WVU by Monday, March 2. 

Because this program is university-wide and can be competitive, if you are interested in this opportunity, you should contact Hannah Clipp ASAP before officially applying. She will add you as a preferred student on the project, and she will work with you to get your application in the best possible shape before submitting.

Contact Info

Email Hannah Clipp with questions.

Quicklinks