Research and Teaching Opportunities for Students

Two Vassar students wearing waders standing thigh deep in water holding a net with soil sample from the water.

Vassar students have multiple opportunities to engage in original research beginning as early as the first year. They do independent research for course credit, work as paid research assistants in professors’ labs, and do intensive summer work both on campus through the Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) and at other major research laboratories—NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Mayo Clinic, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, to name a few. Vassar students interested in careers in science education also have opportunities to gain practical experience in teaching math and science through Exploring Science at Vassar Farm and (if selected) through Teaching Experiences for Undergraduates.

Undergraduate Research Summer Institute

Each summer, Vassar’s Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) gives about 50 talented science students the opportunity to work one-on-one with Vassar science faculty on their research and at the same time to earn a generous stipend. URSI students are frequently coauthors on studies published in scholarly journals or presented at national conferences. Learn more about URSI.

Environmental Research Institute

Vassar’s Environmental Research Institute (ERI) supports multidisciplinary collaborative research on environmental issues and acts as Vassar’s bridge to the larger Hudson Valley community on environmental concerns. Students may apply for support to attend field camps, do research at environmental field stations, or carry out independent projects. Learn more about ERI.

Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium

Vassar astronomers are part of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium (KNAC), which also includes Wellesley, Williams, Wesleyan, Haverford, Swarthmore, Colgate, and Middlebury. Originally funded by a Keck Foundation grant in 1990 and now supported by the National Science Foundation, this consortium allows Vassar students to apply for a 10-week paid internship at any of the other consortium schools to do research in astronomy. Learn more about KNAC.

Exploring Science at Vassar Farm

Vassar students interested in a career in science education have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience through Exploring Science at Vassar Farm, an environmental education program at the Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve. Vassar students work with faculty to design and implement lessons for local Poughkeepsie elementary students in grades 2–5 who spend a morning at the farm in exploration and discovery. Learn more about Exploring Science.

Teaching Experiences for Undergraduates

Supported by a major National Science Foundation grant, Teaching Experiences for Undergraduates (TEU) provides STEM majors with an immersive summer experience in secondary mathematics or science education. Each year, TEU selects 12 mathematics majors and 12 science majors from 61 liberal arts institutions (including Vassar) to participate in the program. Learn more about TEU.