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EPSCoR’s MURI program in full swing — Students begin paid internships through MURI

Submitted by on 02.24.2014 – 9:56 pm

Students often find themselves scratching their heads when trying to fill in the experience section of their resumes.

The state of Idaho’s EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) is looking to help solve this dilemma with a new paid internship program — the MILES Undergraduate Research and Internships Program (MURI). MILES, specifically, stands for Management of Idaho’s Landscapes for Ecosystem Services, and it touches on each of the following categories: computer modeling, environmental science, social science, ecological science, geospatial sciences, visualization, economics and land use planning.

MURI is the medium through which EPSCoR intends to aid students that lack real world experience in their particular fields. As of now, up to 60 students from universities in Idaho will receive MURI internships every semester and during the summer. The first group, composed of 31 students, began their research this semester and will receive up to $4,000 each for their work.

Mark Solomon is in charge of the University of Idaho EPSCoR location, and said he is excited about the program.

“This is an opportunity for juniors and seniors to build invaluable experience to use in resumes and applications,” Solomon said.

The MURI program was designed to help students gain real world experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, while focusing on the MILES theme. EPSCoR is intended to target students in underrepresented groups such as women, ethnic minorities and students with disabilities to apply, but a wide range of students are eligible. Any undergraduate student at the University of Idaho or any two to four year Idaho-based institution is qualified to apply.

“MURI offers research opportunities that match students with faculty doing research in the MILES program,” Solomon said.

Faculty interested in applying to work with MURI scholars must be employed and teach at any college in Idaho, and can specialize in any field. Interns will work under faculty mentors, and complete a variety of tasks such as incorporating social-ecological data in a virtual reality game, non-invasive DNA sampling of endangered species populations and more.

The internships will last anywhere from eight to 16 weeks, depending on the interns’ specific disciplines and how long they choose to work. Participating students will be eligible to travel throughout the state and surrounding regions in order to perform research in their specific field, while gaining knowledge from their faculty mentor and others involved in the program.

These students will be asked to chronicle their time in the program by submitting and presenting a poster summarizing their research. The posters will be presented at the annual EPSCoR meeting or through the EPSCoR virtual poster session, depending on where the interns are located.

EPSCoR is currently accepting applications for the MURI program online at Idahoepscor.org. The deadline for summer program applications is March 30.

Karter Krasselt can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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