Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Environmental Biology

The National Science Foundation's

Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology Program

at The University of Tulsa

Program Directors

Drs. Harrington Wells & Peggy Sue Hill

Faculty of Biology


NSF - UMEB at the University of Tulsa is a program that was created to facilitate multi-year research projects by undergraduate students.  The program was designed to provide sufficient time, guidance, financial support and facilities for students to undertake and complete a substantial research project in environmental biology during their undergraduate studies.  UMEB is unique in that it provides participants support over the course of many years.  The University of Tulsa is one of only six sites nationally that was chosen in 2002 to initiate a UMEB project.

Research in environmental biology is defined very broadly by the program.  Specifically, it includes "…areas of research focusing on organisms as they evolve, interact with each other, and/or interact with their environment, from perspectives that range from ecosystem to development and physiology to molecular genetics…themes in behavior, ecology, ecosystems, ecological physiology, evolutionary biology, population biology and/or systematics” (program solicitation NSF 02-066).  Thus, student research can be in the areas of Ecology, Evolution, Behavioral Ecology, Physiology, Genetics, Microbiology, etc., including “…the use of molecular tools, genomics approaches, mathematical modeling, and other integrative approaches to biology related to the environment” (program solicitation NSF 02-066).


The program is open to full time University of Tulsa students working towards an undergraduate major in Biological Science (B.S. or B.A.) who have a desire to become involved in research and are United States citizens or resident aliens (Green Card holders).  Applicants neither need to have begun a research project nor do they need to have chosen a professor in the Biology Department to work with.  Students who have initiated an independent research project with a Biology Faculty mentor (on their own or through another program such as TURC or REU) are encouraged to apply and may continue that work if the applicant is selected.


The program supplies a summer stipend of up to $3000 and an academic-year stipend of up to $1000 based on the number of hours committed to the project. A summer housing subsidy is also available for those living on campus (dorm, fraternity/sorority, or university apartment).  Participants also receive up to $1,200 to cover the costs of supplies and materials used in their research or for travel involving field studies.  In addition, funds are available to defray the costs associated with participants attending scientific meetings with their mentors.  These benefits are available for up to three years, but not past the date of graduation (undergraduate degree) or end of the project's funding. 

Participants may also obtain up to 6 hours of tuition free undergraduate and 3 hours of graduate course credit during summer work in the program.  Graduate course work in the participant's senior summer and academic year when combined with his/her research may enable the participant to obtain a Master of Science degree from The University of Tulsa in just one additional year past his/her undergraduate degree. 

Program Long Range Goals:

The UMEB program’s long-term goal is to recruit more students into careers involving scientific research.  The program is particularly interested in increasing the number of people from groups underrepresented in science research careers.  Corresponding with those goals, participant selection involves a range of factors, not just GPA.  Those factors include career goals, course work, grades, prior experiences, gender and ethnicity.

Program Expectations of Participants:

On-going Research Program, Full Time Academic Standing, Continuing Progress Towards an Undergraduate Biology Major, Participation in the UMEB Meetings, Experimental Design Course (1st year), Environmental Ethics Course (2nd year).

For More Information Contact:

Dr. Harrington Wells or Dr. Peggy S. Hill

Faculty of Biology, University of Tulsa, Tulsa, OK 74104

Tel. 918-631-3071  or  918-631-2992

Email:  harrington-wells@utulsa.edu  or  peggy-hill@utulsa.edu

Apply by printing and completing the application below, or obtain an application by contacting Dr. Hill or Dr. Wells. Applications will be reviewed as submitted. Note: applicants that are not selected may apply again the following spring and that not being selected in a prior year will have no bearing on the selection process in a subsequent year.

Application:  Please return to Dr. Hill or Dr. Wells.

Last Name:                            First Name:                                        Middle Initial: 

University of Tulsa ID Number:

Social Security Number:       

Birth Date (mm-dd-yy): 

Sex (check):  Male ___   Female ___

Ethnic Identity (optional) – please check any and all that are appropriate:  

Asian ___ Black or African American ___ Chicano or Latino ___  

Native American Indian or Alaskan Native ___  

Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander___

White ___ Other ______

Academic Standing (check):  Freshman ___  Sophomore ___  Junior ___  Senior ___

Please Check to Denote Permission to Access Your Academic Record  ____

Transfer Students should submit to the Principal Investigators transcripts from other schools (please list schools other than the University of Tulsa from which you have requested transcripts):  

References (at least one, no more than two): 

1. Name:     

     Position:                                                                    Tel: 

2. Name: 

     Position:                                                                     Tel: 

Essay:  Please comment on your career goals and motivation for entering the UMEB program in the space provided (about 500 words maximum).

Prior Research Experience (describe if appropriate – include mentor and dates):