The I-GAWS internship will not be held during the summer of 2022.

Please check back later for updates on 2023.



Interdisciplinary Geospatial Approaches to Watershed Science

May 24 - July 30, 2021

A National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (NSF-REU) in Geography and Spatial Sciences at The University of Iowa for Summer 2021. 

Participate in a transformative research experience: as students in environmental fields enter the workforce they will confront, at some scale, many of the “grand challenges” that face humankind, including: access to clean water, production of sufficient food, adaptation to change climate. Solutions to such problems require a willingness to embrace alternative and innovative approaches rooted in multiple disciplines, as well as an appreciation for diverse perspectives. Students participating in this REU will engage in research focused on the sustainable provision of clean water and food in a Midwest agricultural watershed. Students will use team-based approaches to build on this ongoing research to examine issues critical to societies across the nation.

The program will be hosted by the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences at The University of Iowa with collaboration from the departments of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Political Science, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the College of Education

Experience this

  • Participate in team-based, interdisciplinary, research focused on exploring human-environment interactions.
  • Focus on exploring human impact on water quality and quantity, in an agricultural watershed in eastern IA. 
  • Be exposed to cutting edge geospatial technologies and analytical techniques.  
  • Gain first-hand field experience while traveling to and working in our research field sites.
  • Attend a variety of methods-based workshops and training sessions.
  • Interact with faculty and staff with varied expertise in associated fields.
  • Have time to interact with their peers and engage in a variety of social activities.

The Program

This 10-week summer experience will provide: 

  • A $600/week stipend ($6,000 program total)
  • A per-diem meal allowance 
  • Housing in the University of Iowa residence halls
  • Round trip travel expenses 
  • Hands-on research experience with mentoring from UI faculty
  • The opportunity to present your research at the UI Summer Undergraduate Research Conference


  • Be enrolled in a degree program (part-time or full-time) leading to a baccalaureate or associate degree during the internship period.
  • Have an interest in learning and applying methods to issues of environment and sustainability.
  • Have demonstrated interest in pursuing graduate school and a career in research.
  • Be a citizen or permanent residents (hold a valid green card) of the United States.
  • This program seeks to improve diversity in the STEM fields. Students who, by reason of their culture, class, race, ethnicity, background, and life experiences, would add diversity to our research community and are encouraged to apply. We especially encourage students from underrepresented groups, including women, students with disabilities, minority students, and first-generation college students to apply. 

Goals and Focus of this REU

After participating in our REU, students will be able to:

  • Identify hydrological and land cover processes
  • Identify social actors and stakeholders
  • Identify interactions of physical and social systems
  • Develop research questions and apply research methods these questions
  • Demonstrate the ability to apply the scientific method or approach a broader question
  • Communicate scientific outcomes effectively to user groups and end-users

Research Interests

This REU gives students the freedom to design and formulate a project based on their own unique research interests.  While other research opportunities designate pre-determined projects and research paths, our REU program encourages students to carve out their own specific area of study. Students will engage with the overarching program themes (water quality, spatial concerns, sustainable development, interdisciplinary approaches etc.) and then home in on individual research questions.  With the guidance of our expert mentors, hands-on workshop trainings, and technological facilities, students are well-equipped to develop and tackle their own research questions.  For examples of previous REU projects, please see here.

More information:


We will begin reviewing applications on February 15, 2021.  Please note that certain criteria on the form that is required (noted on form) vs. other information which is optional (for instance, GRE scores are NOT required).  We will continue accepting applications until all seats are filled.

Applications for this event are no longer accepted.