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University of Rhode Island — Environmental & Natural Resource Economics
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What kind of research opportunities are there?

Discovery of knowledge is a primary goal of any university and in fact, of humankind. Regardless of your field, you should seek out opportunities to participate in an original research project while you are still a student to gain important skills and to learn more about the actual process of discovery. Research experiences often lead directly to job offers after graduation and to acceptance and financial support for competitive graduate programs. To find a possible research opportunity, consult the following resources.

Research Opportunities during college

An important resource for experiential learning in the environmental field is U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). U.S. EPA offers two fellowships programs for undergraduate students in the environmental field: the National Network for Environmental Management Studies (NNEMS) and the Greater Research Opportunities (GRO) Undergraduate Fellowship.

Both these programs provide students with exciting opportunities of research and experiences by working full-time during summers or part-time during academic year on research projects. If you qualify and get selected as a GRO fellow, you will benefit of a stipend of $750 per month for the nine-month period. Additionally, you will have the unique opportunity to participate in a Summer Internship Program for three months during the summer with a hefty stipend of $6,500, a $1,000 reimbursement for the round trip travel to the internship site, and $500 for on-site travel. Recipients of the NNEMS fellowship are also offered stipends and the amount is established based on various characteristics of both the student and fellowship. You can check the following websites to learn more about these prestigious, yet competitively awarded fellowships:

Post-graduation fellowship

A challenging and highly rewarding fellowship opportunity for “recent college graduates who are ready to commit their time, skills and passion to grassroots political action on behalf of the environment” is offered by the environmental advocacy organization Environment Rhode Island, a subsidiary of Environment America. If selected for this fellowship you will earn a salary of about $24,000 per year, obtain health plan assistance, paid vacation and college loan assistance. As a fellow you will:

  • Help plan, run and win campaigns for the environment
  • Learn how to research and identify effective solutions to critical environmental problems and how to build and mobilize powerful constituencies to get behind your campaign.
  • Lobby lawmakers, publish opinion pieces in major newspapers and on key websites, set up and speak at news conferences, organize town hall meetings and rallies, and run citizen outreach campaigns to educate the public, build membership and raise money for our work.

Check out the Environmental Fellowship at Environment Rhode Island to learn more about it.

Another post graduation fellowship is offered by the environmental action group Natural Resources Defense Council. Established in 1987 to provide college graduates with the opportunity to gain a Washington perspective on key issues of peace and security, The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship is a stipend supported position. The selected fellow will serve as full-time junior staff member at the participating organization of their choice.

To find other possible research opportunity, consult the following resources.

You can also check out the following web sites:

Fellowships Testimonials

Check out our current and former undergraduate student comments on their fellowships and special projects experiences.

“…I later applied for, and was accepted to, the Energy Fellowship offered through the Kathleen M. Malone Outreach Center. The fellowship falls in line with my areas of study and provides invaluable experience in the applicable aspects of my field of study. Also, a number of my peers from class are also Energy Fellows.”

Josh Wurdeman - Coastal Fellow, 2011

“…During junior year, I received an Energy Fellowship through the URI Energy Center and had the opportunity to engage in real, experiential learning projects and trainings. These experiences forced me to think beyond textbooks and appreciate the work necessary to take on problem solving in local, municipal settings.”

Bill Anderson - Coastal Fellow, 2007

“…The following summer, I was a Coastal Fellows Undergraduate Research Fellow, and traveled to Kenya for three weeks with an interdisciplinary research team. While in Kenya, I studied sustainable agriculture adoption through interview and survey techniques; upon my return I conducted statistical analyses and created a scientific poster to present results to the public.”

Marisa Nixon - Coastal Fellow, 2009

“…In 2010, I pursued another undergraduate research opportunity at URI and engaged in work related to coastal resource management, as a member of the RI Seagrant Climate Change Collaborative. In each of these experiences, my understanding of environmental economics lent me a unique perspective on resource use. “

Marisa Nixon - Seagrant Fellow, 2010

“…When I received an Energy Fellowship at the URI Outreach Center I was able to use the analysis methods I learned in class to assess renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that URI could implement to reduce its carbon footprint. Working as an Energy Fellow and being placed on a multitude of projects with other students for the university and the state that helped me expand past the general concepts I learned in class, helped me to realize that I found the perfect major and wanted to learn more beyond the Bachelor’s degree.”

Kristina DiSanto, Costal Fellow, 2008

For a list of ENRE students enrolled in the Coastal Fellowship program and their research project title please see below:

StudentYearMajorProject Title
Neptin, Brianne1999Environmental EconomicsSeptic System Education and RI Home *A* Syst
Anderson, Kim1999Environmental EconomicsSouthern New England Forestry Consortium
Loya, Diana2000Environmental EconomicsRichmond Rural Preservation and Land Trust
Anderson, Kim2000Environmental EconomicsConservation Developkent; Balanced Development for Greener Growth
Merner, Jayne2001Environmental EconomicsSustaianable Living in Southern New England: Local Lessons
Anderson, Kim2001Environmental EconomicsProject One, Two, Tree-- Summer Institute 2001-2002
Martin, Nathaniel2001Resource EconomicsEconomic Effects of Seafood Eco-labeling in Developing Countries
Haley, Corrie2006Environmental EconomicsRichmond Rural Preservation and Land Trust
Frost, William2008Resource EconomicsAssessing and Characterizing Tick Abundance and Tick-Borne Disease Risk in RI
Clavet, Christopher2009Environmental EconomicsSusceptibility of Annual Bluegrass Weevil, Listrontus Maculicollis, Adult Populations to Chlorpyrifos
Greenfield, Joshua2009Resource EconomicsMarketing ecosystem services using the bobolink as an example
Nixon, Marisa2009Resource EconomicsEducation, information and property rights: examining the adoption of sustainable agriculture in Kenya
Gaudio, Rachael2009Environmental EconomicsA survey of customer attitudes at RI farmers markets and their effect on marketing ecosystem services

For a list of ENRE students enrolled in the Coastal Fellowship program and their research project title please see below:

DiSanto, Kristina2009, 2010, 2011Resource Economics , MS ENRE
Frost, William2009, 2010, 2011Resource Economics
Ackerman, Rachel2009, 2010Environmental Economics
Siler, Matthew2010, 2011Resource Economics, MS ENRE
Welker, Caren2010, 2011Resource Economics
Anderson, William2010, 2011Resource Economics
Fedorchak, Alexa2011Resource Economics
Wurdeman, Josh2011Resource Economics
Guilbert, Jake2011Resource Economics

If you’d like to contact any of our current Energy or Coastal Fellows with questions about these research programs, speak to one of our representatives from ENRE:

Name: Dr. Emi Uchida
Title: Undergraduate Advisor
Tel: (401) 874-4586


Name: Dr. Simona Trandafir
Title: Undergraduate Advisor
Tel: (401) 874-2471

We are located on the second floor of the Kingston Coastal Institute, just off Flagg Road on the North Side of Campus.