The Plant Science Research Network attends two conferences each fall to support undergraduate research and education: SACNAS and ABRCMS. Connecting undergraduate students to research opportunities in the plant sciences is a goal of the PSRN, which curates resources to support student research, careers, and connection to the plant science community. If you were not with us at one of the conferences, check out Plantae Internships and the PSRN “virtual” exhibit booth for more information and opportunities for students.
Summer research internships
Undergraduate students interested in a wide range of STEM careers should consider applying to summer internship programs, often called “REU” or Research Experiences for Undergraduates.
With more than 50 programs in plant science departments across the US, it’s understandably difficult to know where to start. A centralized listing of REU programs is available at plantae.org/internships to help students find and apply to the program that best fits their personal and professional goals. In the US, these programs generally span 10-weeks and provide stipends to support the students. Summer interns get valuable hands-on research experience and an opportunity to learn more about the graduate programs offered at the host institutions.
Students are encouraged to discuss their interests with their academic advisors and other mentors; tools such as the IDP can be helpful for guiding these mentoring conversations. (Tip, if you’re looking for a mentor, check out the Plantae Mentoring Center.) The “Tips for applying to an internship program” handout can help students to better understand the application process.
Joining a scientific society
The PSRN also shares information about how to become a member of a scientific society. Membership dues vary by society and students can often join at a reduced (or even free!) membership rate. If society membership is new to you, we recommend asking your academic or research mentors which societies they belong to. Ask your mentors why they joined their society and how membership in that society has supported them throughout their career.
Presenting your research results at a conference
Attending a summer conference is an opportunity to share your experimental results with other scientists in your field of research. Travel awards and grants are available to undergraduate students and may support registration costs and/or travel expenses. Don’t forget to discuss your interest with your mentors. Ask if they have funds to support travel to scientific meetings and which meetings they recommend you attend based on your interests. Consider attending international conference as well as regional meetings associated with your society. Smaller meetings are a great opportunity to expand your professional network, gain experience presenting your research, and learn about scientific advancements.