Frequently Asked Questions

This page will be expanded as we receive questions about the program. Can't find an answer to your question? Contact us!

Who is eligible for this program?

We are looking for a diverse group of students who are current sophomores or juniors in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) majors. The ideal candidate will be bilingual in Spanish and English. You must be a current undergraduate student and a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or permanent resident of the United States. You also must have a valid passport or green card to participate in this program.

Will travel and housing costs be covered?

The expenses covered by the program include round trip air travel to and from Illinois (for out of state participants) or travel cost reimbursement (for participants living nearby). Round trip air travel to and from Cancun, Mexico, is also included, as well as room and board for the duration of the program.

What is the stipend?

Participating students will receive a stipend of $600 per week (disbursed bimonthly through direct deposit) for the eight weeks.

What classes should I have taken? Are there any prerequisites for this program?

There are no prerequisites for this program, but we would like students to have at least one year of background in one or more of the basic sciences – biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics.

Are there any required skills?

While you don't need any special skills to participate in this program, we are looking for exceptional students who are hard workers and are willing to develop and improve their research skills. You should be comfortable working outdoors, have organizational and time management skills, and have good attention to detail.

I have a spouse and/or children. Can I still participate?

Students with families are welcome. Families may join the participating student for any part of the program, but their room and board and travel costs will not be covered.

I'm not a geology major. Am I still eligible for this program?

Yes. The ideal applicant is in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) major. This includes geology, environmental science, biology, engineering, and many other majors. Students in non-STEM majors or with undeclared majors are also welcome to apply as long as they have taken at least one year of a basic science (biology, chemistry, earth science, or physics).

I have a conflict that would require me to miss part of the program. Can I still participate?

During the program weekends are mostly free (with the exception of travel weekends), so participants are permitted to come and go as they please. Note that any extra travel costs incurred for conflicts will not be covered or reimbursed. Conflicts occurring between Monday and Friday are handled on a case-by-case basis and are unlikely to be approved (exceptions have included green card interviews and major scholarship interviews). We may be able to accommodate late arrivals or early departures that are necessary because of semester start or end dates, but these will also be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Where can my reference submit a letter of recommendation?

Your reference can submit a letter of recommendation on your behalf using the online portal or by mailing a letter to the following address:

Melissa Lenczewski
Northern Illinois University
Geology and Environmental Geosciences
Davis Hall 411A
DeKalb, IL 60115

How many letters of recommendation are required? Can I submit more?

One letter of recommendation is required but you are free to submit more than one.