Am I eligible?
Undergraduate student participants at Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) sites must be at least 16 years old, US citizens, US nationals, or permanent residents of the United States. Student must be enrolled in a US college or university, which includes community colleges. All applicants must meet these minimum academic eligibility requirements by the start of the summer program:
– One semester of college biology with laboratory
– One semester of college mathematics (AP Credit will satisfy)
What is the duration of the REU?
The REU program is 10 weeks long. For 2019, the program will run from Sunday, June 2, 2018, to Saturday, August 10. The final Student Research Symposium, where all REU fellows present either a poster or a short talk, will be held on Tuesday, August 6. All REU participants must be present during the entire 10-week duration of the program.
Do I get paid as an REU participant?
Yes. The stipend for the summer of 2018 was $5,750. Stipend amounts for future years are subject to change.
Where will I live for the summer?
All REU fellows are welcome to live on campus in one of our dormitories for the summer. Birch Hall and Spruce Hall, the two main undergraduate student residences, feature the amenities of a traditional college dormitory. Both buildings are only a short walk away from the laboratories and the Dining Hall. Each dorm is co-ed and has eight double occupancy rooms and two gender-specific shared bathrooms. The residence halls have quiet hours and are substance free. Overnight guests are not permitted, nor are pets, appliances, or incendiaries. A Residential Advisor is available to assist residents with any needs they may have. Housing is included in your compensation package, in addition to your stipend. You are welcome to organize your own housing while participating in the program; however, we strongly recommend that you enroll in the on‐campus housing option to enrich your summer experience.
Who will be my roommate?
Your roommate will be one of your peers. All roommates are same-gender. Roommates are assigned by the Education Office.
Where will I eat for the summer?
On-campus REU fellows will be provided with a three-meal-per-day, seven-day-per-week meal plan as part of your compensation package, in addition to your stipend. Should you choose to live off campus, you may opt for a full meal plan, a lunch-only meal plan, or no meal plan. Breakfast is self-served, lunch runs from 12:00-1:00 p.m., and dinner is served from 6:00-7:00 p.m. Our wonderful Dining Hall team will accommodate special diet requests to the best of their ability.
What types of students are you looking for?
Our REU program is highly competitive, and we are looking for self-motivated, well-rounded, and responsible students with problem solving skills who will positively represent the MDI Biological Laboratory. We are looking for students who aim for a career in research. Applications are especially encouraged by minorities in science and by students enrolled in primarily undergraduate institutions, including community colleges.
I am a first-year student (freshman standing). Am I eligible for REU?
Yes, you are absolutely eligible and encouraged to apply for an REU fellowship. Our mentors are trained in meeting students at their current academic level in order to set up their mentor-mentee team for a successful and positive research experience.
I have previously participated in REU. Can I apply again?
Yes, you can apply again; however, priority is given to first-time participants.
Who else will be at the MDI Biological Laboratory?
The summer community is composed of visiting scientists from institutions around the world, as well as post-doctoral, graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. The residential scientific staff and the summer community are highly interactive. Prominent scientists come to the laboratory to give seminars and workshops, and students are encouraged to interact with these professionals. In addition, Courses and Conferences are held on campus throughout the summer, offering informal interaction with a large range of scientific community members from around the globe.
What are the typical workload and expectations of an REU participant?
As an REU participant, you are committed to working in a laboratory setting for 35-40 hours per week for 10 weeks. Thus, you should not enroll in REU if you plan on carrying a significant coursework load (>5 course units) or holding a second part-time job. Accepting an REU position implies that you agree to be available for the entire 10‐week program. A typical workday is 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a break for lunch. Exact hours depend on experiments and seminars, and sometimes students start early or work late, depending on what is going on in the lab. You are expected to attend and fully participate in all required extracurricular activities. Additionally, you will present either a poster or a short talk at the Student Research Symposium, and you are expected to submit a formal paper about your summer research project at the conclusion of the program.
As an REU participant, are there required extracurricular activities?
Yes. As an REU participant, you are expected to attend all weekly Scientific Seminars, featuring speakers who will discuss diverse research topics in comparative regenerative biology. Other required extracurricular activities include a scientific Communications Class (which meets for one hour per week), Responsible Conduct in Research Training, Bioethics Training, a Bioentrepreneurship Workshop, a Bioinformatics Workshop, and the Student Research Symposium. Optional extracurricular activities include Science Café, Art Meets Science events, Work-in-Progress talks (short seminars by faculty or visiting scientists), recreational activities with our neighbor The Jackson Laboratory (such as Ultimate Frisbee and soccer), and weekend excursions organized by the Residential Life Team.
What are other activities I can do in my free time?
Mount Desert Island offers a plethora of summer activities. Using the free Island Explorer public transportation system, students can travel around Acadia National Park and into Bar Harbor. You will have opportunities to explore after hours and on the weekends, as long as there are no required laboratory or extracurricular activities going on at that time. There are many activities in the Park, from hiking mountains and the Carriage Roads to cycling, rock climbing, kayaking, sailing, and swimming. Bar Harbor offers even more attractions, including whale-watching excursions and shopping. On campus, students often enjoy activities such as sandpit volleyball, Ping-Pong, and board or card games.
What types of research are conducted at the MDI Biological Laboratory?
What is application and selection process for your REU program?
Applications for the next summer season open each fall. You will submit an online application that includes your academic history, area of research interest and/or mentors with whom you wish to work (see https://mdibl.org/research/faculty/), several essay question responses, a résumé or CV in PDF format, unofficial transcripts in PDF format from all colleges and universities you have attended (fall grades must be included), and email addresses of two professors who are willing to write recommendations for you. The Education Office will review applications and give each REU mentor a list of students from which they are free to choose. Final mentor-mentee assignments will be made by the Education Office, taking into account both student and mentor preferences and overall quality of the match. Note that you may not receive your first preferences. Appointed students will receive offer letters around the end of March, unless otherwise noted, with information about next steps. Students will have 1‐2 weeks to decide whether to accept or decline REU offers.
Will students who have not been selected be notified?
Yes. All applicants will be contacted whether or not they receive an offer letter.
I am waiting to hear from a job offer. Can I join REU later after hearing the results of this offer?
If you are offered an REU position, you may request a short extension to inform us of your acceptance status. Extensions will be granted to students who have legitimate concerns only (e.g., impending job offers). If you need an extension, please contact the Education Office for approval and inform them of final decision by the decided acceptance deadline. Once you accept an REU position, we expect you to fully participate in the program for the entire 10 weeks.
Is my REU stipend taxable?
It is taxable, and you should report it in your tax filings. The MDI Biological Laboratory does not withhold taxes from fellowship stipend payments made to you. If you receive more than $600 in stipends during the calendar year, we are required by law to issue tax form 1099 (Miscellaneous Income) to you. A copy of this will also be sent to the US Internal Revenue Service. If you have any tax-related questions about your stipend, please consult your tax advisor or review IRS Publication 970, “Tax Benefits for Education.” To obtain a copy of Publication 970, go to http://www.irs.gov/publications/p970/index.html or Google: IRS Gov Publication 970. The IRS publication is updated each calendar year. Unfortunately, the MDI Biological Laboratory is not in a position to give tax advice.
May I bring my car?
Yes. Parking is free.
How do I get to the MDI Biological Laboratory?
As an REU participant, are there any restrictions during the summer?
Yes, please note that:
- Students must not register for more than 5 units of coursework during their program participation;
- Students must not work more than 10 hours per week outside of their research project and extracurricular duties;
- Students must participate fully in the laboratory setting, working with the faculty mentor’s research group on the project to which they have been assigned, and in the required extracurricular activities for the duration of the 10 weeks;
- Students must meet the eligibility requirements to participate in the REU Program;
- Failure to complete the REU summer research commitment in any way may result in removal from the program and/or the stipend being rescinded or reduced.
Contact the Education Office.