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CIRES | Education and Outreach

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Fequently Asked Questions Research Experience for Community College Students (RECCS) University of Colorado

Who is eligible to participate?

  • US Citizens or Permanent Residents of the US
  • Must attend a Colorado community college (can graduate in the spring semester and plan to attend a 4-year college)
  • Minimum course requirements: completion of college algebra and two science classes
  • Minimum grade point average of 3.0 

When is the application deadline and when will I know whether I’ve been accepted?

  • Applications are due by 5 PM February 13, 2017 – no exceptions
  • You will receive an email when we have received your complete application packet 
  • March 15, 2017 – applicants will be notified of acceptance
  • All communications will be via email – check your emails regularly

What will I be asked for in the online application form?

For the online applicaiton, you will be asked for your contact information, academic information and general background questions.  Watch a video for application advice. Once you begin the application you must answer all questions before closing the survey because your answers may not be saved if you plan to complete it at a later time. We suggest you write your responses to the following questions in a separate Word document, and then copy and paste them into the application when you are ready to complete the whole application in one sitting. It is important to be thoughtful in writing your responses to provide a window into yourself and your motivations for applying to this program. 

  • List previous summer jobs, internships, community or school leadership activities, and/or research experience. Give a short description of your duties or what you did, as well as the skills you gained.
  • Tell us about yourself and how you became interested in science. (200 words or less)
  • What do you feel are your strengths that you will bring to this summer research program? (200 words or less)
  • Tell us about your education goals and any future career goals you might have. (200 words or less)
  • You will also be asked to choose from a list of possible research areas and explain why you are interested in pursuing research in your areas of interest.

Who should I ask to provide a letter of recommendation?

An instructor who is familiar with your academic background.
View a video from a local community college professor who offers advice on how to get a strong letter of recommendation.
The letter of recommendation must be on official letterhead and signed by recommender.
The letter must be sent to or Jennifer Taylor, CIRES Education and Outreach, UCB 449, Boulder, CO 80309-0449
In additon, the online recommendation form must be filled out by your instructor.

How do I submit my transcript?

Please request that an official transcript from your college be emailed to or sent via mail to Jennifer Taylor, University of Colorado, CIRES Education and Outreach, UCB 449, Boulder, CO 80309-0449.

Is this a paid internship?

  • You will receive $500 weekly for a total of $4500
  • You will be paid bi-weekly
  • Commuters will receive a weekly stipend of $50 to cover fuel costs

What are the expectations of the internship?

We seek students that are passionate about science, have intellectual curiosity, are hard working and responsible, and can work as part of a team.  We expect you to conduct an independent research project, supervised by a mentor scientist - you will not simply be an assistant for a research group. We do not require that you have conducted research before – we will teach you the necessary skills. Those students that choose a field project must be physically fit and be flexible in their schedules, as field conditions can dictate a change in plans.  We will expect you to work 40 hours per week with weekend work a possible option.  You will participate in program evaluations throughout the internship.  At the end of the program you will present your results at a poster session for student research interns in Boulder and give a short oral presentation at CIRES (you can view the presentations by last year’s interns). 

What will I be doing as part of the RECCS internship?  

You will be planning and leading your own small research project while mentored by a scientist and the RECCS project team. You will collect your own data, analyze it and present your results both in an oral presentation and in a poster format. Throughout the internship you will receive support and guidance for all steps, but you are in charge of your own project. 

How will I be matched with a mentor? 

As part of the application you will choose and rank your top 3 areas of interest and explain why you are interested in them.  We will identify which scientists can serve as your mentor based on your interests and send them your application.  The scientists will decide which students most closely match their research interests.  Once the match has been made, the mentor will contact you and suggest several papers to read in preparation to work with them. To find out more about past mentors you can view their bios and research interests.

What types of research have interns done in the past? 

Check out the short elevator speeches of past interns or their full presentations by clicking on the Interns links in the sidebar.
Learn what types of traits mentors are looking for in their interns from one of the RECCS mentors.

What type of academic support is available for the interns?

Once a week, all interns will meet for a required group check-in with the program manager and each other.  Following the check-in, there will be a weekly training in Scientific Communication that will guide interns through the process of constructing a poster and an oral presentation.  We will also provide training in Excel and basic statistics.  Other skills training will include preparing a CV, applying to a four-year college and learning from professionals about their jobs.

What is the schedule over the summer?

Week 1 (June 5-9): The internship starts out with a week of introductions and getting to know each other, the staff and the mentors. Students will learn about the local physical setting and some of the research being conducted nearby through an over-night trip to University of Colorado’s Mountain Research Station. 

Week 2-8 (June 12 – July 28):

Individual Research: Each student will be paired for the duration of the summer internship with a research team to work on an individual project. Students will be closely mentored by members of the host research group for their individual research projects.
Skills Workshop: One day per week the cohort will spend time together learning various research-related skills – communication, science writing, science presentations – as well as career skills like resume writing and interview techniques. They will also have time to read, write, analyze their data, and work on their individual projects.

Week 9 (July 31 - Aug 4): Students will prepare for and present results from their research project in a poster session for summer interns from a number of local summer internship programs. They will also present their research results in a short oral presentation at CIRES.

Is housing available?

Yes, housing in the CU off-campus apartments is available for free to those commuting more than 50 miles one-way.  You will have your own room and share a bathroom and kitchen with one other intern. 

How many interns are accepted each summer? 

We accept 10 interns each summer for this competitive program.  Complete the full application including well-written answers to the open ended questions (see video with tips). This is your chance to tell us about yourself and why you want to participate in RECCS. Don’t be shy! It is also very important to get a strong letter of recommendation from one of your instructors (see video with tips).

Hear from a former RECCS intern about advice and her experience in RECCS.

Watch a short video.

Who do I contact if I have further questions? 

Program Manager, Jennifer Taylor, at or 303-492-5520