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Research Experience for Community College Students

Research Experience for Community College Students

What is RECCS?

The Research Experience for Community College Students (RECCS) is a summer research internship program for Colorado community college students. The goal of RECCS is to give community college students an authentic research experience that allows them to explore environmental or geosciences and gain the confidence to transition to a four-year program in the STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) disciplines.

Ten students receive a weekly stipend to conduct field- or lab-based independent research over a nine-week period in the summer (June 5 - Aug 4) while working with a team of scientists. Students learn basic research, writing and communication skills, and they present their research at a local student science symposium and at an oral session. 

This opportunity is open to all community college students in Colorado – all four corners!  Housing is provided for students living beyond the Denver Metro area.

For more information about RECCS please view our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.


View the digital story that explains the RECCS experience by a former student researcher

Summer Schedule

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 programs. They will also present research results in a short oral presentation at CIRES.

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)
  • Cannot have a BA or BS even in a completely unrelated discipline.
  • 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 Jennifer.L.Taylor@colorado.edu 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 Jennifer.L.Taylor@colorado.edu 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
Jennifer.L.Taylor@colorado.edu or 303-492-5520

Applications are due by Monday, February 13, 2017 - there will be no exceptions.


The RECCS Summer Research Program targets Colorado Community College students. The program runs from June 5 - August 4, 2017. We encourage applications from individuals who are members of a group that is underrepresented in Earth Science, including students who are first generation college student, female, African American, American Indian, Hispanic or veteran.  
To be eligible to apply you must be:

  • A US Citizen or a Permanent Resident
  • Must attend a Colorado community college (can graduate in the spring semester and plan to attend a 4-year college)
  • Finished with a minimum of two science classes and college algebra
  • Willing to make a full-time commitment for 9 weeks (40 hours per week)


A complete application includes the following:

  • Completed online application form - Click here for online application form
  • Official transcript from current community college
  • Recommendation packet from an instructor or administrator


Before starting the application read through the Frequently Asked Questions document for important information about the program and advice on completing this application.

A Recommendation Packet from a community college educator or administrator is required for all applicants to the Research Experience for Community College Students (RECCS) Program at the University of Colorado.  Due date for packet is February 13, 2017.

The Packet consists of the online recommendation form:

Recommendation Form

Plus a Letter of Recommendation that provides a summary of the candidate’s potential to succeed in the RECCS research program. We are particularly interested in the topics listed below.  RECCS is a competetive program, and we appreciate your effort in supplying this information about your student.

  • How long have you known the applicant and in what capacity?
  • The quality of the candidate’s academic or creative achievements, including areas not reflected on the official transcripts.
  • The applicant’s potential strengths in a collaborative research environment.
  • Those aspects of the applicant’s personality or character that would help them to succeed in this program.
  • The ability of the applicant to make use of this opportunity in preparation to attend a four-year institution.
  • The applicant’s level of interest in environmental or geoscience.
  • Anything else we should know?

The Letter of Recommendation will be considered complete provided it is on official letterhead with a handwritten signature. Please either scan as a pdf and email it to Jennifer.L.Taylor@colorado.edu, or send it via mail to Jennifer Taylor, CIRES Education and Outreach, UCB 449, Boulder, CO 80309-0449.

Summer 2017

  • Thomas Nelson Community College Blog: Student Bound for Summer Internship in Colorado. A student in a Virginia community college, Rebecca was accepted to RECCS because she plans to pursue a degree in Geological Science at UCB.  read more

Summer 2016

  • Front Range Community College Blog: RECCS program offers firsthand research experience for one of their students  read more​
  • CU Boulder reports about interns' experiences read more
  • The Craig Daily Press highlights the experience one of their local students will have this summer read more

Summer 2015

  • 9 News TV Features:

  • Daily Camera Article: CU-Boulder offers taste of research science to community college students read more

RECCS Newsletters

 

 

Application

Due February 13, 2017

Resources

Links

Contact

Lesley Smith, Email
Anne Gold, Email


Award Number: 1461281