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Undergraduate Engagement in Ocean Science Research

C-CoMP will develop undergraduate curricula and research experiences that showcase the ocean sciences and provide multiple entry points into the ocean science research community.






Undergraduate students in C-CoMP programs will participate in capstone events hosted at Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS). Part of the BIOS campus is depicted in this picture along with the R/V Atlantic Explorer (AE).

Image credit: Laura Gray, WHOI

Tobacco Bay, located in St. George's, Bermuda, is located 10 minutes away from BIOS.

Image credit: Laura Gray, WHOI







Filter towers are used to separate microbial cells from seawater using negative pressure in one of the labs at BIOS.

Image credit: Laura Gray, WHOI

Local field work at BIOS can involve day trips to different underwater locations around Bermuda in smaller vessels.

Image credit: Laura Gray, WHOI

This lab bench is set-up with equipment that is used for culturing microorganisms isolated from seawater.

Image credit: Laura Gray, WHOI


Course-based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs)


C-CoMP faculty will develop introductory level CUREs that provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to generate and pursue a research question as a component of their coursework. Students will be encouraged to pursue both data- (computational, modeling) and wet lab-based questions. CUREs allow students to earn credit towards their major while learning the scientific method and process. CURE courses will be offered both at partner institutions and in collaborations with faculty at two-year colleges and minority-serving institutions through CUREnet, a national network of people and programs established with NSF funds. Coastal facilities affiliated with our institutions (e.g., WHOI, UGA, UVA, BIOS) will host capstone research weekends for CURE students and faculty.


CUREs encourages student integration into the scientific community as indicated by increased science self-efficacy and awareness of career options. CUREs also fosters increased understanding of the nature and processes of science.

Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP)


C-CoMP faculty and institutions will host VIP courses to engage multiple undergraduate student teams (~12 undergraduate students each) in cross-year, cross-disciplinary research. VIP students will earn 1-2 credits towards their major per course and tackle complex research questions in a peer-setting. Initially, faculty and early career researchers in C-CoMP research groups (graduate students, postdocs, experienced undergraduates) will help students develop domain knowledge and techniques. As the team becomes established, experienced VIP students assume some mentorship responsibility. Students will explore research as a career path, acquire technical expertise, develop professional skills (mentoring, communication), and collaborate. This near-peer mentoring structure fosters a sense of community and belonging in STEM, especially among students from traditionally marginalized backgrounds. VIP teams have the added benefit of providing an entry point for transfer students if they missed the opportunity to experience research through CUREs.


VIP fosters growth in students’ teamwork, communication, and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills. VIP also enhances student integration into the scientific community, by nurturing increased scientific identity, ownership, and sense of belonging.

Undergraduate Summer Research


C-CoMP faculty will host undergraduate students by running application-based, 10-12 week C-CoMP summer internships at C-CoMP affiliated institutions. The geographically distributed cohort of undergraduates will work on independent projects in C-CoMP laboratories. At the beginning of the summer, the cohort will participate in a week-long online course in data-enabled oceanographic research following the successful models of the Rosetta Commons NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site and the University of Chicago course in data literacy (lead by Meren). The course will cover data analysis in the ocean sciences using Bermuda Atlantic Time-series (BATS) and Martha’s Vineyard Coastal Observatory (MVCO) data that are accessible in online repositories. At the end of the summer, the cohort will participate in a week-long field- and ship-based capstone experience at Bermuda Institute of Ocean Science (BIOS) collecting data for C-CoMP science objectives. These flanking activities will develop a sense of community and scientific identity, two predictors that students will continue in a STEM research career. Priority will be placed on selecting interns from backgrounds that have traditionally been excluded from the sciences (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, students with physical disabilities) and from colleges and universities with limited research infrastructure (e.g., two-year colleges).


Undergraduate summer research internships encourage interns to develop a sense of community and professional connections across C-CoMP, which they can use to support their continued academic and professional growth. These internships also encourage growth in students’ data integration knowledge, their ability to access robust and inclusive mentorship, and increased goal-setting related to STEM education and career pursuits.


Check back soon for the link to the application!

Professional development for education and outreach


In the first year of C-CoMP, faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers will participate in 8 hours of professional development facilitated by Erin Dolan based on the established Entering Mentoring curriculum. Mentorship education will be embedded in the C-CoMP culture and achieved through professional development activities during annual project meetings and online training. Senior personnel involved in CUREs and VIP teams will participate alongside teaching-intensive faculty collaborators in an additional 20 hours of professional development on CURE design and instruction, based on the successful CUREnet model.