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ISRE program cancelled 2021


Conducting research during the summer can be a transformative experience for undergraduate students as you put your skills to the test. 


The Office of Undergraduate Research annually awards a vast number of undergraduates the opportunity to try something new or take their experience to the next level during the summer term.  Intercollegiate Sustainability Research Experiences (ISREs) are competitive summer research programs designed specifically for undergraduate students. 

Intercollegiate Sustainability Research Experiences (ISRE) ($4,500 + $500 travel stipend) are funded by the Environmental Stewardship Fee and seek to promote projects that will make a significant contribution to the student’s academic growth, while concomitantly contributing to sustainability focused research initiatives at the University of Kentucky and within the community at large. 

Sustainability here is defined as the intersection of social, economic and environmental justice. Sponsored by the Student Sustainability Council, UK Sustainability, and The Food Connection @ UK. 

Award Amount: $4,500 + $500 travel stipend



  • 8 - 10 week, paid, hands-on, summer work experience in a research environment
  • Working under the mentorship of a scientist or team
  • Collecting data in the field, computer modeling, and data analysis
  • Presenting your research progress in a talk or poster, and possibly traveling to a conference
  • Participants will experience gains in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and identity that will foster their success in future research and/or professional settings.


Apply for an ISRE

Adventure awaits with summer research! Are you currently doing research with a faculty mentor and want to get paid to do research this summer? Apply for an Intercollegiate Sustainability Research Experience (ISRE)

Register with OUR

Discover what’s wildly possible with undergraduate research. The first step is to register with the Office of Undergraduate Research. We assist you in connecting with a faculty mentor and offer programs and services to support your research endeavors.

Register Now

Summer Intercollegiate Sustainability Research Experiences Macy Hagan LSU

ISRE at Louisiana State University

ISRE at Auburn University

ISRE at Auburn University

ISRE at California Riverside

ISRE at Univ of California Riverside

Application Requirements

1. Good Academic Standing - 3.0 or higher

2. Letters of Recommendation from your faculty mentor and a character reference (i.e. advisor, colleague, or supervisor)

3. Students must submit a 400-word or less essay explaining long term career goals, why you wish to participate in this program, your research interests and experiences, and the strengths you can bring to the program. 

4. Include relevant courses completed and previous research experience (if applicable) on the application.

Important Dates

  • Program Dates: 8 - 10 weeks (dates flexible)
  • Application Opens: ** postponed for Summer 2021

  • Application Deadline: ** postponed for Summer 2021

  • Student Online Application  HERE

  • Upload Faculty Letter of Recommendation HERE

  • Upload Character Reference Letter of Recommendation (Staff, Advisor, Colleague, etc.) HERE 


MidSummer Check-in Due: July 8, 2021  **postponed for Summer 2021

Final Report Due: August 20, 2021  **postponed for Summer 2021

Virtual Summer Research Symposium: Date TBD


ISRE #1 - Auburn University

1.  AUBURN UNIVERSITY; Auburn, Alabama

Research project: Field Crop Integrated Pest Management

Faculty mentor: Dr. Katelyn Kesheimer

Project description: Dr. Kesheimer in the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at Auburn University will be advising a student researcher on a project that accommodates the student’s interests as it relates to sustainable agriculture in Alabama’s grain crops. Potential projects include state surveys for the invasive brown marmorated stink bug in corn or hedgehog aphid in wheat and exploring their associated natural enemy complex as potential pest suppression tactics. The student will have opportunities to interact with grower cooperators, stakeholder groups, industry representatives, and others involved in the agriculture industry. The goal is to provide research-based information to Alabama growers and promote environmentally sustainable options for insect control.

Relevant coursework: Introductory Biology and lab, General Chemistry and lab, Ecology, Statistics

**Sponsored by UK Sustainability and UK Student Sustainability Council


ISRE #2 - Louisiana State University


Research project: Natural resource and Agricultural economics

Faculty mentor: Dr. Jerrod Penn - Dr. Penn is an environmental economist at Louisiana State University. His work focuses on the intersection of resource/environmental impacts and policy with sustainability, often on willingness of consumers and homeowners to adopt environmentally-friendly practices.

Project Description: The student project this summer will focus on the adoption of forest certification and wildlife habitat improvement practices among Louisiana homeowners. The student will be involved with survey development, focus groups with stakeholders, data collection/analysis and writeup. Opportunities for experience in honey bees or native pollinator conservation may also arise.

Relevant Majors: Economics, NRES, ENS, Ag/Enviro Economics, Forestry/Wildlife

Relevant Coursework: Statistics, Economics, Environmental Policy, Sociology

**Sponsored by UK Sustainability and UK Student Sustainability Council

ISRE #3 - New Mexico State University


Research project: Sustainability Research and Extension in New Mexico

Faculty mentor: Dr. Amanda Skidmore

Project description: This summer internship will be located at the New Mexico State University Agriculture Science Center in Los Lunas, NM. Interns will work closely with the Integrated Pest Management Lab ( and interact with other research programs at the facility, including the NMSU Extension Forages, Horticulture, and Viticulture Programs. The IPM Lab conducts research on native pollinators, habitat management, small farm production, and agroecology. We also provide workshops, education, and outreach projects across the state. The intern will have the opportunity to assist and contribute to a variety of projects and learn from Extension Specialists about multiple aspects of sustainability in the Southwest. Researchers will work with the intern to develop an independent research or Extension project designed to focus on the intern’s specific interests in sustainability.

Relevant coursework: TBD

**Sponsored by UK Sustainability and UK Student Sustainability Council

ISRE #4 - University of California, Riverside


Research Project: Environmental and Water Resource Economics and Policy

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Mehdi Nemati

Project description: Mehdi Nemati in the University of California, Riverside (UCR) School of Public Policy will be advising an Undergraduate Student Researcher (UGSR) for the “Urban Water Conservation” project. Inspired by interdisciplinary collaboration, this research project blends theoretical and empirical economic modeling to inform water policy and water management discussions. This project aims to create a comprehensive water utility level database of water consumption, prices, pricing structure in California and evaluate the credibility and sensitivity for estimates of the price elasticity of urban water demand under different sets of demand assumptions. The UGSR will assist on data collection and statistical modeling as well as writing reports. 

During this project, there would be opportunities to interact with government agencies, stakeholder groups, and private industry with a focus on promoting sustainable and cost-effective strategies for addressing water-related issues, such as water scarcity/drought. In addition, there would be opportunities to engage with the UCR School of Public Policy faculties and students working in many different areas of public policy such as: environmental sciences, water, sustainable suburban development, energy and transportation, poverty and economic development, agriculture and biotechnology, health, immigration, crime and justice studies, education, and cultural studies.

To learn more about Dr. Nemati and his research see: or   

Location: The UCR School of Public Policy is located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles and is within easy driving distance of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain, and coastal destinations. For more information about the campus and School of Public Policy see and

Relevant Majors: Marketing, Ag Economics, Economics, Sustainable Agriculture

Relevant coursework: Intermediate statistics, familiarity with Excel is a plus

**Sponsored by UK Sustainability and UK Student Sustainability Council

ISRE #5 - University of Delaware


Research Project: Social Networks and Oyster Consumption

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kelly Davidson is an applied economist in the University of Delaware College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Her research focuses on behavioral economics, food choice, and producer decision-making. She designs behavioral experiments and surveys, collecting primary data to analyze stakeholder choices and inform policy related to sustainable food systems. 

Project description:  The undergraduate researcher will assist with a project titled "Social Networks and Oyster Consumption." The project is one piece of the Social Dimensions initiative of Delaware's NSF EPSCoR: "Water in the Changing Coastal Environment of Delaware" (Project WiCCED). This study aims to understand the impact of social networks and peer influence on the consumption of oysters, an eco-friendly food. Using a framed experiment, we will identify the extent to which individuals adjust consumption preferences based on peers' preferences for oysters. By nature of Project WiCCED, the student will have the opportunity to engage with a large interdisciplinary team of researchers, government agencies, and industry stakeholders. The student will gain experience collecting economic data in a framed field or lab experiment. In addition to primary data collection, the student will assist with project coordination and management activities during the experiment. The results of the experiment will be communicated to Delaware oyster aquaculture stakeholders to inform marketing strategies. 

Location: The University of Delaware is located halfway between Washington D.C. and New York City.  For more information about the campus see 

Relevant Majors: DHN, Marketing, Ag Economics, Economics, Sustainable Agriculture

Relevant coursework: Economics, Statistics, familiarity with Excel is a plus

**Sponsored by UK's The Food Connection

Final Report Format and Guidelines

1. Background Information

This may be similar to what you provided in your proposal. What is the purpose of your research and how will it contribute to your field of study? Your introduction should be directed at all readers, not just those in your particular field.

2. Methodology

Was it carried out as originally planned? If not, why? How did you adjust for the change in plans?

3. Results

What sort of results did you see from your research and what can you conclude from them, and do they align with your hypothesis?  What are the implications of these results and where does this study go from here? What impact does this study have within the discipline, and how might it affect the real world? 

4. Your Experience - answer each question below

  • How has this experience contributed to your undergraduate education and your life goals?

  • What experiences will you take from this summer's research that will impact your future in education, research, or professional career?

  • Was your mentor available and helpful in guiding your summer research experience?

  • In reflecting back on this summer, what could have been done differently, if anything, to improve your summer research experience? 

Have a Question?

Have a question? Visit our FAQ page for answers to some of the most common questions about undergraduate research at UK.  If you need additional assistance, we're just an email or phone call away!

View Frequently Asked Questions

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