Undergraduate Research and Extension Experiences (REEU) Summer Research Program

About the Program

Our Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) program is designed to provide a transformative summer experience for ambitious and curious undergraduates interested in sustainable agriculture, food systems, and plant and soil science. We believe that hands-on research is one of the most effective ways to learn and grow in your academic and professional journey. CFANS is dedicated to fostering an environment of discovery, mentorship, and growth in these vital areas of study.

Why should I be a SOAR-REEU participant?


Our REEU program is open to undergraduate students from various academic backgrounds who share a passion for research in sustainable agriculture, food systems, and plant and soil science. All students are welcome to apply! Students who have faced systemic barriers to accessing higher education and other educational opportunities, or are underrepresented in the sciences are encouraged to apply. To be eligible, you should:

  • Be enrolled in an accredited undergraduate program with a background in science and a passion for food systems research.
  • Have US Citizenship or Permanent Residency.
  • Demonstrate interest in research within these vital areas of study.
  • Maintain good academic standing.

Research Areas

Choose a research area that aligns with your interests and career goals within sustainable agriculture, food systems, and plant and soil science. Our program covers diverse fields, including:

  • Sustainable Crop Production and Agriculture
  • Plant Genetics and Breeding
  • Soil Science and Nutrient Management
  • Sustainability of Food Systems
  • Ecosystem Resilience and Environmental Sustainability

Contact Us

If you have any questions or need further information about our REEU program in sustainable agriculture, food systems, and plant and soil science, please don't hesitate to reach out to us:

  • For questions regarding the REEU program, please contact Dr. Julie Grossman at jgross@umn.edu
  • For questions regarding the application process, please contact JiJY Sooksa-nguan at tsooksan@umn.edu

We look forward to receiving your application and welcoming you to an exciting summer of research at the University of Minnesota's College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences!

Expand all

Is the SOAR-REEU right for me?

  • Are you interested in the fields of Plant and Soil Science, Food Systems, Entomology, Plant Pathology, Sustainability or Global Change? 
  • Do you have little to no prior research experience?
  • Are you thinking of pursuing graduate school or a professional career in STEM, and want to know more about what your options are?
  • Are you interested in learning about data analysis, sampling methods, and how to conduct field and lab work?
  • Are you from a university, college or community college with limited research opportunities?
  • Are you interested in becoming part of a close-knit community of diverse researchers and building your academic network?

If you answered YES! to any of these questions, the SOAR-REEU experience is probably right for you!

Our program is designed to give you an introduction to developing and executing a research project as an undergraduate student. No prior field work experience, lab experience, or stats courses are required to apply. 

Our program goal is to help you understand what “doing research” really means, and to help give you the knowledge, resources, and support to achieve your STEM career goals (and maybe even help you identify what those goals might be!). 

We are excited to see your application!

REEU Timeline and Expectations

SOAR_REEU Program – Expectations and Weekly Timeline

SOAR-REEU UMN Code of Conduct

If you need an accommodation of any kind that is not supported in what we have provided, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Program Details


This program is 10 weeks long and will run from June 3 – August 9, 2024. Students are expected to arrive on-site by 5 p.m. Sunday, June 2 and depart Saturday, Aug 10th.


This is a full-time (40+hrs/week) research experience.  Specific hours will be arranged with your research mentor. No additional employment is permitted as we want students to be fully present and engaged with their SOAR-REEU experience.

Financial Support:

  • $5000 stipend + room & board at The University of Minnesota Pioneer Hall. Lunch is provided in the dining hall and will be brought to the St. Paul Campus in a to-go container daily. 
  • Dorms are double-occupancy and come equipped with microwaves and mini refrigerators.
  • Up to $500 to cover transportation to and from Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport (MSP). If you will have a car on campus, parking is available at an additional cost. If you feel you have an extenuating travel circumstance (such as travel from Puerto Rico), we will work with you to find reasonable flight accomodations.
  • Housing, meals, and Boynton Health extended (supplemental) coverage provided.
  • All students must carry private health insurance coverage, or will be required to purchase the U of M Student Health Benefit Plan 

Learning Plan and Professional Development:

REEUs will work with their mentor to create a custom learning plan and work to develop an independent research project, collaborate on writing research objectives, attend weekly professional development seminars, develop your personal statement about your research, write a research abstract and present a professional research poster at the UMN Summer Undergraduate Research Expo, plus write a blog post about your research experience.

Our weekly professional development seminars cover topics like science communication and personal statements, developing a research poster, crafting a CV/Resume, and more. We also host grad panels and career panels to help students learn about a variety of STEM career options.

Field Trips and Activities:

Each week students will participate in a field trip or related food system experiences, including visits to incubator farms to support farmers who have faced barriers to entry to agriculture, urban farms, food hubs and a research field day, resulting in enhanced learning about food system sustainability! SOAR students will also have the opportunity to participate in additional field trips with other summer research programs, including amusement parks, theater performances, and a grand finale riverboat tour down the mighty Mississippi! The Twin Cities region of Minneapolis-Saint Paul is a vibrant hub of activity to suit all interests and we look forward to sharing it with you!

Participating Faculty Labs and Research Programs

Rogers Lab: The Rogers lab specializes in addressing production challenges in horticultural crops, combining plant science and entomology expertise. Employing a systems-based approach, we devise sustainable pest management strategies, emphasizing cultural, mechanical, and physical methods. This integrated approach benefits growers catering to local and organic markets. Our recent research has centered on managing invasive insect species and tailoring production techniques for small-scale and urban agricultural systems.

PI: Dr. Mary Rogers - roge0168@umn.edu

Shannon Lab: In the Shannon lab we 1) elucidate potato genomics, evolution, domestication and diversity in order to 2) develop methods to speed the potato breeding process in service of 3) breeding new potato varieties with increased yield, quality, and biotic and abiotic stress resistance for Minnesota Growers. A lot of our recent work centers around reinventing potato as a diploid inbred crop.

PI: Dr. Laura Shannon - lmshannon@umn.edu

Watkins Lab: The Watkins lab is part of a long-term study funded by NSF that aims to better understand how lawns in the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area can support pollinators. Our project assesses 80 lawns each summer and determines which species are present. Using this data, we can work with bee experts to determine how to manage landscapes to promote pollinator health in Minnesota.

PI: Dr. Eric Watkins - ewatkins@umn.edu

Runck Lab: The Runck lab specializes in the development of end-to-end sensing and spatial modeling systems working across hardware, firmware, software, and modeling. Student projects in the lab can focus on any aspect of sensing, robotics, or data science. Interested students should have a background in tinkering with electronics and data, but need not be experts in any specific area of digital technology.

PI: Dr. Bryan Runck - runck014@umn.edu

Grossman Lab: The Grossman lab broadly explores the ways in which we can better manage plant-soil-microbe relationships on agroecological and organic vegetable farms, with the ultimate goal of developing sustainable food production systems. A central thread that connects much of our work is the examination of legume cover crops and associated soil microbes to help maintain landscape diversity and tighten nutrient cycling. Current projects investigate the use of cover crop legumes to enhance organic hoop house (high tunnel) soil sustainability and creation of a soil management plan with immigrant farmer advocacy organizations in the Twin Cities. Prospective REEU students should have an interest in soil ecology and farming systems.

PI: Dr. Julie Grossman - jgross@umn.edu

Jungers Lab: The Sustainable Cropping Systems lab works to make agriculture more sustainable. We conduct field experiments with a broad range of crops to learn how they can be farmed in ways that improve production while minimizing negative environmental impacts. We specialize in studying diverse crop rotations and perennial crops. One exciting area of research in our lab is focused on Kernza - the world's first perennial grain crop. Prospective students interested in working with us should love working outdoors with field crops (alfalfa, small grains, corn, soybeans, Kernza), sampling soils, and collecting data using sophisticated field instruments.

PI: Dr. Jake Jungers - junge037@umn.edu

McCaghey Lab: The Soilborne Fungi and Oomycetes Lab conducts research to understand the ecology and epidemiology of soil associated fungi to improve disease management. Student projects in the lab may explore the survival of pathogens in cover cropping systems, the relationship between soybean architecture and disease development, or the impact of emerging pathogens in the context of climate change. We work with important Minnesota field and specialty crops including soybean, sunflower, and dry edible beans. Projects will involve physical data collection in the field and sterile techniques in the lab. Attention to detail and willingness to work as a team member are necessary.

PI: Dr. Megan McCaghey - mmccaghe@umn.edu

The University of Minnesota Climate Adaptation Partnership (MCAP) conducts cutting-edge climate and adaptation research and advances implementation of effective, equitable climate adaptation actions. Student projects with MCAP will focus on helping us develop a new statewide Minnesota Climate Smart Agriculture Extension Program through assisting with developing case studies of climate resilient farming strategies and food systems, as well as applied research to understand the information needs of agricultural stakeholders and their willingness to adopt potential strategies and practices for managing changing weather and climate extremes. Students will collaborate closely with Extension faculty and graduate students throughout the internship, and contribute to the development of new Minnesota Climate Smart Agriculture Scenario Planning resources focused on providing information to a diverse set of agricultural practitioners about climatic changes and the impacts on agriculture, as well as management practices and strategies to manage these impacts. There may also be opportunities to engage with a range of specialty crop producers, students and Extension professionals from across the U.S. through a national research and training program that MCAP is helping to lead over the summer.

PI: Dr. Heidi Roop - hroop@umn.edu

Miller Lab: The Miller lab actively supports the nursery and landscape industries through the identification, development, and production of specialty perennial horticultural crops adapted to cultivation in northern climates. Our research revolves around characterizing and assessing underutilized species that demonstrate resilience to landscape stresses, including drought, high soil pH, and cold temperatures. Because many underutilized species remain overlooked in the green industry due to obstacles in the plant production pipeline, we apply advanced techniques such as tissue culture and strategic nutrient management that enable commercial production in the nursery.

PI: Dr. Brandon Miller - bmmiller@umn.edu

Jelinski lab: The Jelinski lab studies soil formation and management and has a number of studies focused on urban soils. We work closely with community partners, follow principles of community-engaged research to co-design and implement research projects to solve community questions surrounding urban soils. We currently have two urban soil focused projects in 2023 - mapping of urban soil types and contaminants across the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and examination of the effectiveness of shredded cardboard mulch as a soil amendment in urban agriculture production systems.

PI: Nic Jelinski - jeli0026@umn.edu