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Office of the Vice President for Research


New REU program offers undergraduates chance to work at Savannah River Ecology Laboratory this summer

Dr. J Vaun McArthur, senior research scientist at the University of Georgia and Dr. Melissa Pilgrim, associate professor of biology at the University of South Carolina Upstate, were recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant to establish a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site at the Savannah River Ecology Lab (SREL).

The program will begin this summer and allow 10 student participants to engage in field and laboratory studies aimed at describing, understanding and predicting the fate of radionuclides in environmental systems, the impact of radionuclides on the environment, and biogeochemical and physiological processes by means of tracer studies. The program leverages SREL’s history of radioecology research in national and international arenas (e.g., Chernobyl and Fukushima) with the lab’s current analytical capabilities, access to natural and industrial field sites with a variety of contaminant histories, and custodianship of the only chronic low-dose experimental facility in the world. Active collaboration among faculty members, research scientists, and administrators at SREL, University of Georgia, University of South Carolina Upstate, University of South Carolina Aiken, and University of South Carolina is vital to the program’s success.

“The multi-university collaboration will allow for recruitment of a diverse group of undergraduate participants, facilitate continued mentorship of participants, and encourage regional partnerships,” said Pilgrim.

The dates for the summer program are May 18 – July 31. Applications are due by April 15, with selection of candidates by April 20. Selected applicants must accept by 24 April. Participants will be provided a stipend of $525 per week, as well as free housing, a small food allowance, and travel reimbursement (more details to be provided to selected participants). For more information and application materials, visit http://www.srel.uga.edu/education/ugrad.html.

For more information, contact Melissa Pilgrim, director of research and associate professor of biology at the University of South Carolina Upstate, at (864) 503-5781 or mpilgrim@uscupstate.edu.


2 April 2015