The Agroecology Extension (AX) Summer Research Fellowship is a fully paid, 10-week research and outreach experience to undergraduates from across the U.S. UVM provides the project, mentorship, and research sites - you bring your enthusiasm and willingness to get dirty under the Vermont summer sun!

 

Program Goals

  • Match students with UVM faculty and staff working directly with farmers to develop innovative approaches in support of farmer livelihoods
  • Provide students with a transdisciplinary learning experience focused on developing adaptable research, leadership, and outreach skills
  • Support and contribute to new and ongoing Extension outreach projects dedicated to UVM's Land Grant mission
  • Help prepare students for careers and graduate education in agroecology, food systems, and extension

The AX Summer Research Fellowship is uniquely tailored for students looking to deepen their knowledge of sustainable agricultural approaches and to develop transdisciplinary research and outreach skills.

Check out AX featured on UVM Extension's TV program, 'Across the Fence'! Click here

Program/Project Details

The AX Fellowship is collaboration between UVM Extension and the Plant and Soil Science Department, and coordinated by the Agroecology and Livelihoods Collaborative on UVM’s main campus in Burlington, VT. Fellows will be matched with mentors engaged in various agroecological extension research projects including in pest management, agronomy, vegetable/berry farming, fruit tree farming, or field crop and soil management. 

Participating Faculty

Victor Izzo

Victor Izzo

The Vermont Entomology Participatory Action Research Team (VEPART) is a transdisciplinary research team dedicated to using Participatory Action Research (PAR) methods to synthesize and integrate grower input at all phases of the research process. VEPART works with a multitude of growers in various crop systems to develop appropriate IPM tactics for northeastern organic growers, and ultimately a more sustainable approach to pest management. They conduct agroecological PAR and outreach in support of agricultural and food systems initiatives in the urban or peri-urban fringe of Burlington, as well as throughout Vermont. VEPART also teams up with the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Grower’s Association to run a pest monitoring program at UVM’s Horticultural Research and Education Center to provide local vegetable and berry growers weekly, Vermont-specific, information on the population dynamics of important pests throughout the growing season. Read more about VEPART here

 

Kris Stepenuck

Kris Stepenuck

The Lake Champlain Sea Grant Institute develops and delivers science-based information to benefit the environment and economies of the Lake Champlain basin. The fellows working with Lake Champlain Sea Grant will assist in ongoing outreach and research initiatives. This will include, but is not limited to talking with beachgoers at beaches around Lake Champlain to assess their knowledge of cyanobacteria blooms and beach closings; educating members of the public about Lake Champlain aboard the new UVM research vessel and at locations throughout the watershed, including along the causeway at the bike ferry; providing watershed education to youth during summer camp programs which may be held on or alongside the lake, in a classroom, or in and alongside streams; and developing educational materials to support outreach efforts of Lake Champlain Sea Grant. Read more about Dr. Stepenuck's research here

Stephanie Hurley

Stephanie Hurley

The Ecological Landscape Design Laboratory studies soil health and water quality at urban farms and gardens, from a biophysical perspective as well as from a human perspective. Our research lab is studying the intersection of two fields: urban agroecology (UAE) and green stormwater infrastructure (GSI). We are seeking applicants for a unique opportunity to help investigate whether UAE has the potential to be envisioned as a green infrastructure to improve water management in cities. Urban farms and gardens that use eco-friendly and socially beneficial practices also have the potential to serve as places for sustainable surface water management, by providing stormwater infiltration and mitigating climate change. We will evaluate water quality from various urban, food-producing gardens and farms, measure soil health including accumulation of phosphorus from compost applications, survey farmers and gardeners to learn about their perceptions about healthy soils and how to achieve them, and share outcomes with local farmers and gardeners. Read more about the Hurley Lab here

Terence Bradshaw

Terry Bradshaw

The UVM Fruit Program works with apple and grape growers in Vermont to improve production through improved crop, pest, and business management. Our work takes place both at the UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center (HREC) and on commercial farms. In 2022, we will work with grape growers who are implementing alternative practices influenced by organic and biodynamic systems to evaluate their effectiveness and to improve disease management. We will also be monitoring pests in regional apple orchards and generation reports for growers to use in their integrated pest management programs. Fellows will assist with vineyard and orchard management at the HREC; conduct disease assessments in local vineyards; and monitor pests in regional orchards. Fellows can expect substantial interaction with Farmer Training Program and other summer students, Fruit Program graduate students, and local producers. Read more about Prof. Bradshaw here

Heather Darby

Heather Darby

The University of Vermont Extension Northwest Crops and Soils Program aims to provide the best and most relevant cropping information, both research-based and experiential, delivered in the most practical and understandable ways to Vermont farmers. From small grains and corn to hops and oilseeds, 3,500+ experimental plots are established and evaluated annually. Through our on-farm field days, conferences, and other outreach efforts, our team spreads the word about our latest research results and practical on-farm guidance for implementing agronomic practices. Most importantly, we bring farmers together to foster farmer-to-farmer learning. Read more about Northwest Crops and Soils here

Program logistics 

Program starts May 31, 2022 and runs for 10 weeks, M-F 9am-5pm.

On-campus housing or housing allowance is provided.

Projects depend on the locations of mentor’s research. Personal transportation is not required.

AX Fellows should be prepared for fieldwork on commercial and research farms.

APPLICATION PROCESS

Applications will be accepted through UVM’s Office of Fellowships, Opportunities, and Undergraduate Research (FOUR) Internal Undergraduate Research Funding website starting January 4, 2022. The application deadline is March 4, 2022.

Questions about AX? Contact Scott Lewins (slewins@uvm.edu)

Questions about the application, contact FOUR (four@uvm.edu.)

Download instructions here

Apply here!

Additional FOUR internal undergraduate research funding