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Two students selected for NSF-funded Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program

BOONE—Appalachian State University undergraduate geography majors Gordon Buckingham of Charlotte and Peter Nasuti of New London have been accepted into the competitive Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) summer program.

View larger imageView larger imageGordon Buckingham, top photo, and Peter Nasuti, bottom photo, will participate in a Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in California and Hawaii this summer. They are the latest Appalachian State University students to be selected for the National Science Foundation-funded program. Senior Emily Morris (in bottom photo with Nasuti) participated in REU programs in 2011 and 2012.

Buckingham and Nasuti will participate in the Geospatial Research and Mapping REU program at California State University Long Beach and O’ahu, Hawaii, this summer.

“The REU program provides excellent research opportunities for undergraduates,” Nasuti said. “Gordon and I will use geospatial technologies and GIS software to study vegetation, hydrology and archaeology in Hawaii.”

The National Science Foundation funds REU programs to support active research participation by undergraduate students in NSF-funded research. The REU program seeks to expand student participation in disciplinary, interdisciplinary or educational research – encompassing efforts by individual investigators, groups, centers and national facilities. REU programs aim to attract a diversified pool of talented students into careers in science and engineering and to help ensure that they receive the best education possible.

Saskia L. van de Gevel, an assistant professor in Appalachian’s Department of Geography and Planning, knows firsthand the value of an REU experience.

“I was an REU-funded student during summer 1999 at Harvard Forest at Harvard University,” van de Gevel said. “I strongly believe that my REU experience shaped my interests in following the scientific method, collecting and analyzing data, and working collaboratively. I hope Peter and Gordon have a rewarding experience that inspires them to become scientists as well.”

Emily Morris, a senior geography major from Charlotte, participated in Ecohydrology of a Tropical Montane Cloud Forest REU program at Texas A&M University and Costa Rica in 2012 and Land Use/Land Cover in the Mammoth Cave Upper Green River Watershed REU program at Western Kentucky University in 2011. She credits the experience, in part, into her acceptance into the graduate program in the University of Oregon’s Department of Geography.

“The REU experience helped me stand out against other applicants to graduate school, which also helped me get funding,” Morris said. “The REU program also gave me experience conducting research with a faculty member which is what I will be doing in graduate school.” Morris will study invasive species modeling using geographic information systems (GIS) while at Oregon.