REU Site: Coastal Research in Environmental Science and Technology (CREST) at UMass Boston: University of Massachusetts Boston

Helen Poynton

[email protected]

The University of Massachusetts Boston, School for the Environment will host a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Site. The program is called the "Coastal Research in Environmental Science and Technology (CREST)" REU program and will bring eight undergraduates to Boston each summer for a ten-week internship. The award provides support for three years of the CREST REU Program (2020-2022).<br/><br/>CREST provides students with coastal environmental research experiences in a transdisciplinary program that cuts across the ecological, environmental, and social sciences. Coastal ecosystems are considered to disproportionately produce more services to humans than any other ecosystems, however, they suffer greatly from ?wicked problems.? Anthropogenic pressures are driving habitat loss or conversion (e.g. coastal development, fisheries, civil engineering), habitat degradation (e.g. eutrophication, pollution, climate change and sea level rise), and overexploitation of coastal resources (e.g. direct takes exceeding sustainable levels). How coastal systems respond is poorly understood and data from natural science and social science research is needed for integration into the decision-making process. The research experiences available to CREST interns include high need areas to address these ?wicked? problems including the fields of chemistry, geology and earth science, ecology and molecular ecology, and social, behavioral, economics, and sustainability science. Environmental professionals representing diversity in training and perspective are needed and CREST seeks to fill the need for these highly qualified professionals by introducing younger students to transdisciplinary research, thereby lowering the inertia of crossing disciplinary boundaries and increasing the comfort of students in working in diverse settings.Program goals include training scholars in transdisciplinary research approaches in oceanography while fostering their interest in coastal issues and research and building their confidence in science aptitude and communication. To support the transdisciplinary training, CREST includes a day long orientation program; a seminar series; professional development workshops (scientific communications, responsible conduct of research, applying to graduate school, etc.); and activities designed to integrate students into the University community. The CREST program provides unique transdisciplinary training in the coastal environmental sciences.<br/><br/>This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

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