College of Science

Department of Marine Science

Undergraduate Students

CMEP offers a number of research opportunities for undergraduates. A complete list of our programs can be found below.

  • Elkhorn Slough photo.
    Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing, CA
    Student flying Drone.
    Student flying a drone

    The Planet Stewards Program is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and provides first-year undergraduates pursuing a STEM degree with introductory research and professional development opportunities in coastal and estuarine science. Students will engage in workshops that begin in the summer and continue through the fall semester. Working with the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME) at CSUMB and the Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, students will be introduced to concepts around habitat restoration and conservation, living shorelines, autonomous monitoring technologies (e.g. drones), sea level rise, and communicating with diverse stakeholders. In addition to participating in research, students will also receive support in applying to the Hollings and NOAA EPP Undergraduate Scholarship Programs to help support their continued participation in NOAA research and professional development opportunities. This year the program is expected to run June 2021-December 2021. The 2021 application deadline has been extended to March 17, 2021 at 11:59 pm PT.

    *The NOAA Planet Stewards Program remains committed to providing enriching internship opportunities, however due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we received word from our campus administration that CSUMB will be closed to on-campus activities until August 01. This means our 2021 summer program will operate virtually.

    NOAA Planet Stewards flyer

    Student Support

    • $2,000 summer stipend
    • Funding to support summer room and board
    • Research funding
    • Funding to support travel to scientific conferences
    • Access to NOAA-sponsored professional development workshops

    Eligibility Requirements

    • Must be currently enrolled in a STEM degree program at CSUMB with Freshman class standing
    • Required cumulative GPA of 3.3 or above
    • Must be a U.S. Citizen
    • Must be fully able to participate in all NOAA Planet Stewards activities

    Application

    You will need three key parts for your application. Click on the application link to begin the application process.

    You will need to have your supporting documents ready to upload at the time of submittal. For any questions about the program or application, please contact us at cme@csumb.edu.

    • Application Form: This portion includes Applicant Information and Academic Background.
    • Contact Information for One Reference: This individual should be able to speak to your academic preparation and qualifications for the NOAA Planet Stewards program.
    • Supporting Documents: For any assistance with these documents, please refer to this page.
      • A) Statement of Purpose: This essay covers four areas: Motivation, Achievement, Research Interests, and Career Goals. Use the following questions for further guidance. (Format: 2 pages maximum, 12-pt font, standard margins, single or double spacing will be accepted and is up to the applicant)
        • Describe the areas of research in coastal and estuary science that interest you most and your personal goals for this internship.
        • Write about what your career goals are and how participating in this program will help you meet these goals.
        • What unique qualities and characteristics will you bring to our program?
        • The NOAA Planet Stewards program is dedicated to enhancing the diversity of future scientific communities and sharing our science with a broader audience. Please describe how you, based on your personal background and life experiences (including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges) will contribute to this mission during and after participation in this program.
      • B) Academic Resume or CV
      • C) College Transcripts (Unofficial or "released to student" version is fine!)
  • Student surveying geology.
    NOAA CCME alumni Miya Pavlock-McAuliffe conducting a geological survey
    Student at AGU meeting
    Monterey Bay REU alumni Cindy Matuch with her poster at the 2020 AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) Geo-Bridge Program is a 22-week summer through fall bridge program that leverages the scientific and educational assets of the Monterey Bay Region to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing careers in the geosciences (Atmospheric, Earth, Ocean, and Polar Sciences). The Geo-Bridge program brings together six Monterey Bay research institutions to give gap year post-baccalaureate students access to research and professional development opportunities to support their continued engagement in the geosciences. This program will help support training and retention in students who are within 1-2 years of receiving their Bachelor’s degree and, who have limited to no research experience.

    Beginning in summer, Geo-Bridge students will conduct research within the Monterey Bay Regional Ocean Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program. Fall activities will see Geo-Bridge students participate in research and professional development opportunities available through the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME). Participating in NOAA CCME will provide students the opportunity to understand how their research supports a federal research agency focused on the geosciences. All students will have the opportunity to present their research at the annual SACNAS conference via the NSF Geo-Futures program which will help them learn how to network a professional conference and identify potential career and academic pathways. Finally, all students will receive support in preparing applications to geoscience opportunities in graduate school or the workforce as part of their training. While in the Geo-Bridge program, all students will be paired with a mentor who can help students understand the process of becoming and conducting work as a geoscientist. Mentors will also assist with helping students develop a sense of identity as a geoscientist. Post-program activities will help students maintain the intellectual momentum gained during their time in the Geo-Bridge program and prepare students to pursue subsequent internship or graduate school opportunities in a geoscience discipline. 2021 applications are now closed.

    NSF Geo-Bridge Program flyer

    *The NSF Geo-Bridge Program remains committed to providing enriching internship opportunities, however due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we received word from our campus administration that CSUMB will be closed to on-campus activities until August 01. This means our 2021 summer program will operate virtually.

    Partner Institutions

    The Geo-Bridge program partners with the Monterey Bay Regional Ocean Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program and the NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems (CCME) at CSUMB to provide Geo-Bridge students with access to research opportunities in the geosciences. Our partner institutions are listed below and provide research opportunities in Atmospheric, Earth, Ocean, and Polar Science. A list of prospective mentors can be found on the REU mentor page.

    • California State University, Monterey Bay (Lead Institution)
    • Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
    • Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University
    • Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
    • Moss Landing Marine Labs
    • Naval Postgraduate School

    Student Support

    • $10,000 stipend
    • Full support for room and board on the CSUMB campus
    • Funding to support research activities
    • Funding support to attend a scientific conference
    • Access to the AGU Bridge Program to support the submission of applications to geoscience graduate programs

    Eligibility Requirements

    • Must have recently graduated (Spring 2021) or have received within the last 2 years, an undergraduate degree in the geosciences
    • Recommended GPA of 2.8 or above
    • Must be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
    • Must be able to fully participate in the Geo-Bridge program from June 2021-December 2021
    • Students with limited to no access to geoscience research and/or professional development opportunities (e.g. NSF REU, NOAA Hollings) while an undergraduate are especially encouraged to apply.

    Application

    You will need three key parts for your application. Click on the application link to begin the application process.

    You will need to have your supporting documents ready to upload at the time of submittal. For any questions about the program or application, please contact us at cme@csumb.edu.

    • Application Form: This portion includes Applicant Information, Faculty Mentor Preferences, and Academic Background.
    • Contact Information for Two References: These individuals should be able to speak to your academic preparation, qualifications for the Geo-Bridge program and interest in pursuing a career in the geosciences.
    • Supporting Documents: For any assistance with these documents, please refer to this page.
      • A) Statement of Purpose: This essay covers four areas: Motivation, Achievement, Research Interests, and Career Goals. Use the following questions for further guidance. (Format: 2 pages maximum, 12-pt font, standard margins, single or double spacing will be accepted and is up to the applicant)
        • Describe the areas of research in the marine geosciences that interest you most, your personal goals for this internship, and indicate your preference for working in office, lab, or field settings.
        • Write about what your career goals are and how participating in this program will help you meet these goals.
        • What unique qualities and characteristics will you bring to our program?
        • The NSF Geo-Bridge program is dedicated to enhancing the diversity of future scientific communities and sharing our science with a broader audience. Please describe how you, based on your personal background and life experiences (including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges) will contribute to this mission during and after participation in this program.
      • B) Academic Resume or CV
      • C) College Transcripts (Unofficial or "released to student" version is fine!)
  • Geo Futures Cohort 1 group photo at SACNAS 2019
    Geo Futures Cohort 1 group photo at SACNAS 2019 in Hawaii
    Geo Futures group meeting at SACNAS 2019 in Hawaii
    Geo Futures group meeting at SACNAS 2019 in Hawaii
    Geo Futures logo

    Geo-Futures is a conference-based program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that engages with and provides educational resources for students interested in pursuing a career in the geosciences (Atmospheric, Earth, Ocean, and Polar Science). Set within the annual Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference, a national conference that engages with the cultural structures of students from underrepresented groups, the proposed program employs strategies for engaging and retaining the diverse assemblage of students and perspectives that will be required to address the emerging needs of 21st century geoscience.

    The Geo-Futures program provides student attendees with mentoring before, during, and after their experience at SACNAS and helps them develop a sense of identity and community within the geosciences. Geo-Futures will also assist students as they begin to define their academic and professional pathways through the geosciences. The Geo-Futures Program will provide students with pre and post-conference training that will prepare them for understanding how to engage in a national research conference. Pre-conference activities will provide students with an introduction to navigating a scientific conference and networking with geoscientists in attendance. Conference activities will provide students with an introduction to original research being conducted in the geosciences as well as examples of career pathways that can be engaged in as a professional geoscientist. Beyond providing students with guidance on how to pursue academic and professional careers in the geosciences, the SACNAS Geo-Futures program helps students understand how their diverse talents and perspectives can contribute to 21st century geoscience research. 2020 applications are now closed.

    Interested in serving as a mentor in the program? We are now requesting volunteers to serve as mentors for our second Geo-Futures cohort. Sign up at the following link: Geo-Future Mentor Sign Up.

    Note: Students with REU or REU-type experience in the geosciences are especially encouraged to apply.

    Note: Since SACNAS will be a virtual conference this year, Geo-Future participants will receive a Google Chromebook and mobile hotspot to facilitate their participation.

    For additional information, please contact us at geofutures@csumb.edu

    Student Support

    • Full funding for conference registration
    • Google Chromebook
    • Mobile hotspot

    Eligibility Requirements

    • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
    • Must be currently enrolled in a two- or four-year institution
    • Majoring in a STEM discipline related to the geosciences (Atmospheric, Earth, Ocean, Polar Science)
    • Must have an accepted or have submitted a research presentation abstract for the SACNAS Conference

    Application

    You will need four key parts for your application. Click on the application link to begin the application process.

    You will need to have your supporting documents ready to upload at the time of submittal. For any questions about the program or application, please contact us at cme@csumb.edu.

    • Application Form: This portion includes Applicant Information and Academic Background.
    • Letter of Recommendation: Your application requires a recommendation from one person who can assess your academic abilities, motivation, potential as a geoscientist, and your potential to benefit from participating in this program. Letters should be submitted by Aug 31, 2020.
    • Proof of abstract acceptance OR submission to the 2020 SACNAS conference
    • Supporting Documents: For any assistance with these documents, please refer to this page.
      • A) Statement of Purpose: This essay covers four areas: Motivation, Achievement, Research Interests, and Career Goals. Use the following questions for further guidance. (Format: 2 pages maximum, 12-pt font, standard margins, single or double spacing will be accepted and is up to the applicant)
        • Describe the areas of research in the geosciences that interest you most, your personal goals for this internship, and indicate your preference for working in office, lab, or field settings.
        • Write about what your career goals are and how participating in this program will help you meet these goals.
        • What unique qualities and characteristics will you bring to our program?
        • The NSF Geo-Futures program is dedicated to enhancing the diversity of future scientific communities and sharing our science with a broader audience. Please describe how you, based on your personal background and life experiences (including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges) will contribute to this mission during and after participation in this program.
      • B) Academic Resume or CV
      • C) College Transcripts (Unofficial or "released to student" version is fine!)
  • Emily and NOAA NWFSC scientist Kinsey setting up a Lamapara survey
    CCME fellow Emily and NWFSC scientist Kinsey setting up a Lamapara survey
    CCME fellows conducting spiny lobster scuba dive surveys on Catalina Island
    CCME fellows conducting spiny lobster scuba dive surveys on Catalina Island
    NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Logo

    The NOAA Center for Coastal and Marine Ecosystems Undergraduate Fellowship provides funding for two years of undergraduate study to rising junior undergraduate students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields that directly support NOAA's mission. Examples of these areas include biology, engineering, fisheries science, and oceanography. Participants conduct research with CSUMB faculty and NOAA scientists. Student scholarship recipients will begin their first summer internship in early June. Note: All prospective students should review the eligibility requirements and profiles for prospective CSUMB faculty mentors prior to beginning the application process. Eligibility requirements and faculty profiles can be found below. Applications are now closed.

    Student Support

    • Two years of stipend support ($12,000/year)
    • $1,000 research scholarship
    • Additional travel and research support available

    Eligibility Requirements

    • Must be a U.S. Citizen
    • Must be currently enrolled as a full-time 2nd-year student in a four-year CSUMB STEM program, a currently enrolled student in a CSUMB STEM program with at least two years remaining or, transferring from a two-year institution to CSUMB
    • Studying a STEM discipline at CSUMB related to NOAA's programs and mission
    • Must earn and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA

    Application

    You will need three key parts for your application. Click on the application link to begin the application process.

    Please review the participating faculty listed below and consider who you are most interested in working with and why.

    You will need to have your supporting documents ready to upload at the time of submittal. For any questions about the program or application, please contact us at cme@csumb.edu.

    • Application Form: This portion asks for Applicant Information, Potential Faculty Mentors, and Academic Background.
    • Two Letters of Recommendation: Your application requires a recommendation from two people who can assess your academic abilities, motivation, work habits, potential as a researcher, and your ability to benefit from participating in this program. Letters should be sent to cme@csumb.edu by September 17, 2020, addressed to Dr. Corey Garza.
    • Supporting Documents: For any assistance with these documents, please refer to this page.
      • A) Statement of Purpose: This essay covers four areas: Motivation, Achievement, Research Interests, and Career Goals. Use the following questions for further guidance. (Format: 2 pages maximum, 12-pt font, standard margins, single or double spacing will be accepted and is up to the applicant)
        • Describe the areas of research in NOAA-relevant STEM disciplines that interest you most and your personal goals for this fellowship.
        • Write about what your career goals are and how participating in this program will help you meet these goals
        • What unique qualities and characteristics will you bring to our program?
        • The NOAA CCME program is dedicated to enhancing the diversity of future scientific communities and sharing our science with a broader audience. Please describe how you, based on your personal background and life experiences (including social, cultural, familial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges) will contribute to this mission during and after participation in this program.
      • B) Academic Resume or CV
      • C) College Transcripts (Unofficial or "released to student" version is fine!)

    If you require assistance during the application process, please contact us at cme@csumb.edu.

    Participating Faculty

    All NOAA fellows must have a CSUMB tenure-track faculty as their lead mentor. Review the faculty profiles below to learn more about our faculty and their research programs. Applicants can select up to three prospective mentors as part of their application. Please review the faculty profiles below and contact prospective mentors prior to submitting your application.

    Dr. Daniel Fernandez (dfernandez@csumb.edu), Research Interests: Physics, Sustainability and Alternative Energy, Fog Water Collection

    Dr. Corey Garza (cogarza@csumb.edu), Research Interests: Marine Landscape Ecology, Intertidal Community Dynamics, Geospatial Technology

    Dr. John Goeltz (jgoeltz@csumb.edu), Research Interests: Electrochemistry for energy, the environment, biology, and marine science

    Dr. Arlene Haffa (ahaffa@csumb.edu), Research Interests: Sustainable Agriculture, Climate Change, Microbial Bioremediation

    Dr. Alison Haupt (ahaupt@csumb.edu), Research Interests: Kelp Forest Ecology, Anthropogenic Effects on Marine Ecosystems, Population Connectivity, Conservation Genetics

    Dr. Nathaniel Jue (njue@csumb.edu), Research Interests; Functional, Evolutionary, and Ecological Genomics, Bioinformatics

    Dr. James Lindholm (jlindholm@csumb.edu), Research Interests: Sub-Tidal Ecology, Approaches to Image Analysis, Science-Policy Interface

    Dr. Sherry Palacios (spalacios@csumb.edu), Research Interests: Phytoplankton Biodiversity, Meso-Scale Ocean Features, Remote Sensing, Aquatic Optics

    Dr. Steve Moore (stmoore@csumb.edu), Research Interests: Benthic Marine Ecology, ROV Engineering, Biomechanics

    Dr. John Olson (joolson@csumb.edu), Research Interests: Freshwater Ecology, Water Quality, Bioassessment

  • REU Logo
    2019 REU Cohort group photo
    2019 REU Cohort at the Summer Research Symposium

    Through funding provided by the National Science Foundation, CSUMB offers a 10-week summer research experiences for undergraduates (REU) program in Monterey Bay. This opportunity is available to both CSUMB students and students attending 2 and 4-year academic institutions within the U.S. and its territories. Students can conduct research with faculty at CSUMB as well as with our partner institutions which include Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University, Moss Landing Marine Labs, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and Naval Postgraduate School. Working with research mentors, students develop original research projects in the following areas: Marine Biology and Ecology, Marine Geology, Ocean Engineering, and Oceanography. 2021 applications are now closed.

    *The Monterey Bay Ocean Science REU remains committed to providing enriching internship opportunities, however due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic we received word from our campus administration that CSUMB will be closed to on-campus activities until August 01. This means our 2021 summer program will operate virtually.

    Student Support

    • $6000 stipend
    • Room and board provided on the CSUMB campus
    • Round trip travel to and from Monterey Bay
    • Research supply account
    • Post REU support for travel to a scientific conference

    Eligibility Requirements

    • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident
    • Current sophomore or junior pursuing a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
    • Do not already have a Bachelor's degree
    • Recommended 2.8 GPA or better

    For additional information, contact us at reu@csumb.edu. Additional information about the program can be found on the REU website.

    Begin the application process. Applications deadline is February 07, 2021 at 11:59 pm PST.

  • Ocean opportunities
    UC San Diego

    Ocean Opportunities was a partnership to develop a new, coordinated strategy by the ocean sciences community to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in ocean science and ocean engineering graduate programs. This strategy was discussed and endorsed at the Fall 2010 Ocean Science Educators Retreat (OSER), hosted by the Consortium for Ocean Leadership in Washington, D.C. As a follow-up to the OSER meeting, a workshop held in June 2012 brought together faculty from minority-serving, undergraduate institutions with those who manage ocean science and engineering graduate programs.

    Ocean Opportunities acquainted underrepresented minority undergraduate students with these opportunities, encouraging students to pursue a graduate degree in ocean science and engineering programs. The partnership promulgated the career and educational possibilities of these programs by supporting institutional-neutral booths at scientific meetings that attract undergraduate students, distributing brochures and other promotional information, supporting a web page informing potential students of programs and careers in ocean science and ocean engineering fields, and coordinating campus visits by representatives from institutions offering graduate studies in ocean science and engineering to minority-serving colleges and universities. Funding is provided by the Deerbrook Charitable Trust.

    Student Support

    • Funded graduate school visits
    • Online professional development webinars
    • Support for conference participation

    For additional information or to get involved in the program activities, contact CMEP Director Dr. Corey Garza at cogarza@csumb.edu or visit the Ocean Opportunities website. Applications for program support are accepted on a continuous basis.