Research and Internship Opportunities

Research is foundational to obtaining knowledge in science and an important component of the biology program at Luther College. For students, obtaining research experience as an undergraduate is an essential part of preparing for a career as a biologist and necessary when applying for graduate programs.

On-Campus Research Experiences

Our faculty maintain active research programs involving students, which helps keep us current in our field and enhances our teaching.

  • Investigative research projects may be part of regular courses, may be faculty-directed research, or can be independent research designed by students.
  • Luther biology students collaborate with faculty on research in the lab and the field, collecting data and presenting their results at regional and national conferences and in papers published in scientific journals.
  • Many faculty host summer research students in their labs, with funding from extramural grants or research assistantships through the Luther undergraduate research program. Summer research assistantships typically provide an hourly wage, on-campus housing, and funds for project expenses.
  • Students interested in participating in research with Luther faculty should contact faculty to find out the types of projects in which they might be involved.

Off-Campus: Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REUs)

Many students also obtain NSF-funded REUs (research experiences for undergraduates) to work with scientists around the country.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the Hormel Institute

Luther biology major Avihe Kalipondoka participated in an REU at the University of Minnesota's Hormel Institute during the summer of 2023.

Off-Campus Summer Research and Internship Opportunities

*Indicates international students may apply.

National Science Foundation – Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program: Click “Search for an REU Site” for list of all REU sites, topics, and contact information.

Pathways to Science: Education and career training opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Association of American Medical Colleges: a wide variety of summer undergraduate research program opportunities

American Heart Association SURE Scholars Program: the SURE (summer undergraduate research) program for underrepresented college students at institutions around the country.

Amgen Scholars Program: providing summer undergraduate research opportunities at major research universities around the country

Programs at Specific Organizations

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences: 10 weeks REU program on the Gulf of Maine.

Blandy Experimental Farm REU Program: University of Virginia summer REU Program in field ecology.

Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University: summer research opportunities in plant genomics

Center for Engineering MechanoBiology: The center seeks motivated undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds for it’s research program.

*Chicago Botanic Garden: Conservation and Land Management Internships

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: The Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute hosts the Injury Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, a 10-week paid summer research internship opportunity for undergraduate students.

*Department of Fisheries & Wildlife: Large nationwide and international job board used by universities, agencies, private companies, and non-profits for natural resource positions in wildlife, fisheries, and habitat management.

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center: internships in plant biology, 11 week program in St. Louis, MO

Ecological Society of America: Cooperative Summer Internship Program

Goodhue County Soil and Water Conservation District: Intern’s focus will be on water quality monitoring in Mississippi River – Lake Pepin Watershed in Goodhue and Wabasha County. Intern will collect stream grab samples, conduct stream surveys, coordinate sample shipment assist with data analysis and interpretation and assist district staff with office and fieldwork when needed.

*Hormel Institute, Summer Undergraduate Research Experience: SURE Student Program, University of Minnesota research center in Austin, MN with opportunities in biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology, and nutrition

*Iowa Lakeside Laboratory: Internships available for college level students with majors in biology, environmental science, education or related course of study.

*Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Internship-Statewide and Blufflands Crew: Land Stewardship Internship program including an Iowa statewide crew.

Kansas State University Summer internships in plant health, including plant pathology and entomology.

Kellogg Biological Station: Michigan State University summer REU Program in agricultural and field ecology.

*Lacawac Sanctuary & Biological Field Station: This is a non-profit biological field station and Environmental education center located in NE Pennsylvania.

*Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences: Summer undergraduate research fellowship program

*Minnesota DNR: a variety of paid internships that are available across the state of Minnesota

Minnesota Zoo Internship: The Minnesota Zoo offers unpaid internships in many of its divisions. A MN Zoo internship provides workplace experience and the opportunity to learn about careers in zoology, education, communication, conservation, and public service.

Mountain Lake Biological Station: another University of Virginia summer REU site in field ecology, including entomology

National Institutes of Health: Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research (SIP)

National Center for Rural Health Professions: The National Center for Rural Health Professions (NCRHP) is located on the campus of the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford and is under the direction of the associate dean for Rural Health Professions.

*The Nature Conservancy: summer internship opportunities around the world, for the Anna Beal Intern Crew in IOWA, search for job ID 52597

*National Park Service: a variety of volunteer, internship, and job opportunities with the NPS, particularly the “Scientists in Parks” program.

Organization for Tropical Studies: Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Tropical Biology in Costa Rica

Prior Lake – Spring Lake Watershed District: water resources interns.

Purdue University Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP): summer reseaarch experiences particularly for underrepresented groups of students in a wide range of disciplines.

Quarry Hill Nature Center: Nature center in Rochester, Minnesota with several positions.

REU Site in Raptor Research in Idaho

Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory: summer REU program in ecology and alpine biology

*Rosetta Commons REU – in Computational Biomolecular Structure & Design

*Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research: (SPUR): summer program in Sioux Falls, SD

*SENS Research Foundation SRF Summer Scholars Program in regenerative medicine.

*Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Natural History Research Experiences: in Washington, D.C.

*U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services: Internships are available in the areas of Biology, Vegetation Management, Visitor Services/Environmental Education, and Native Plant Propagation. Interns typically work for 9-12 weeks in the spring, summer or fall seasons.

University of Alabama at Birmingham, Summer in in Biomedical Science (SIBS): Undergraduate Research Program in biomedicine.

University of Chicago: This summer immersion experience is available for juniors and sophomores in Molecular Genetics and/or Cell Biology courses whose backgrounds may make them less likely to have considered a PhD or research as a career.

University of Iowa Biomedical Scholars Interdisciplinary Summer Undergraduate Research Program (BSSURP) including genetics, human toxicology, immunology, molecular medicine, neuroscience, and free radical and radiation biology.

University of Iowa Health Care: Biochemistry summer undergraduate research fellowship (BSURF)

University of Iowa Summer Health Professions Program: SHPEP at the University of Iowa is a free, six-week program for undergraduate students interested in health professional careers. Students must be from an underrepresented in health professions background, low income, first generation college, or rural student. An informational webinar will be held on January 31st . Early admission deadline is February 1st and regular admission deadline March 1st.

University of Iowa Summer Undergraduate MSTP Research (SUMR) program: sponsored by the Iowa Medical Scientist Training Program for students interested in combined MD/PhD medical scientist training programs.

University of Iowa Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in Microbiology

University of Iowa – Iowa Institute of Human Genetics: Bioinformatics Summer Internship

University of Iowa: Genetic Counseling Internship

University of Minnesota Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Programs (LSSURP): biomedical engineering, ecology & the environment, molecular biology, and neuroscience

University of Nebraska: Summer Research Program in health and medical sciences, also in natural resources and agriculture (including entomology, plant biology, etc.) in Lincoln, Nebraska.

University of North Dakota: Summer Research program in North Dakota. The program is Genes & the Environment

University of North Texas: SOAR (Summer Opportunities in Anatomy Research) program

University of Oklahoma: summer undergraduate research programs (SURP) for students in biomedical research or health-related sciences

University of Texas at El Paso: (SMART MIND): Summer Mentoring and Research Training program in Methods in the Neuroscience of Drug-addiction

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Biological interactions summer research program (includes a wide variety of research projects including the Tiny Earth project, chemistry, genetics, neuroscience, entomology, plant pathology, etc.)

University of Wisconsin-Madison: Summer program for undergraduate urology research (SPUUR) in the biomedical sciences

*University of Wisconsin-Stout: Summer REU Internship in research focusing on lakes.

Upstate Medical University: Summer undergraduate research fellowship (SURF) program in biomedical research in upstate New York

* UT Southwestern Medical Center: Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF)

Other Summer Opportunities

*University of Montana: Summer field station (Flathead Lake) with courses on both aquatic and terrestrial realms that will be of interest to students ranging from “sophomores-to-be” (Field Ecology) to upperclassmen to early grad students.

Luther Center for Sustainable Communities Internships

Environmental Career Center

Cyber-Sierra’s Natural Resources

Environmental Career Opportunities


Contact Information

Kirk Larsen
Professor of Biology

Phone: 563-387-1558