Meeting the Experiential Education component of the Spatial and Cultural Connections requirement of the Undergraduate Curricula

WELCOME
We welcome undergraduates who are not intimidated by chemistry to obtain a first or advanced introduction to research in the environmental sciences with opportunities to explore career options in a multi-disciplinary framework.  Take a look at the Weinberg research page to get an idea of the types of subjects we have been recently investigating. More areas are developing all the time and so if you already have some thoughts about the type of experience you are looking for, we may well be able to incorporate those into your research experience in our group.
WHAT WE CAN OFFER
You will be mentored and guided by graduate students in the School of Public Health and advised by Professor Weinberg and you will learn how to think about, develop ideas for, and practice research in the laboratory, field, and community. Although this group uses advanced analytical tools to evaluate environmental pollutants (their source, transport, effect on human health, and remediation) most of our research includes approaches to developing policy, educating the public and working with communities to help address environmental concerns as they relate to human and ecological health. Students first work alongside a graduate student in my group developing the skill-sets to evolve their own project. Depending on whether the student is looking for a single semester of academic credit (ENVR 691) or a long-lasting experience that could include funding during the summer, or placement after graduation, we work together to design the best opportunities for you.
PROCESS
During the semester prior to the one in which you are seeking to meet your Experiential Education requirement, send an email to Professor Weinberg (howard_weinberg<AT>unc.edu) explaining your interest, relevant background, and potential career interests. He will respond inviting you for a face-to-face interview in the School of Public Health and provide an opportunity to meet his graduate students. Following that meeting, the student will write back indicating whether they are interested in joining the group for their research experience and if there is mutual agreement the student will be offered a desk space and invited to join the group at the beginning of the semester for which they are registered for ENVR 691. NOTE – this course is now officially recognized by the Office of Undergraduate Curricula as meeting the Experiential Education Component as defined at the Office’s website: http://www.unc.edu/depts/uc/06description.html
As described above we can offer several components as listed on this site including "service learning" (work through the community with water quality issues), Fieldwork (collecting samples and designing sample collection program to assess a local water quality issue), sustained and mentored research (guided by graduate students and Dr Weinberg in both the laboratory and field), and creative process (developing a paper for presentation at a local community or representatives of State Offices based on a relevant subject related to a drinking water or water resources issue).
All undergraduate students participating in ENVR 691 with the Weinberg group will have the opportunity to learn about a wide range of environmental issues that are built around sound science and sensitivity to community (and industry) bases. Initially this will be through participation in research group meetings but eventually could involve attendance at relevant (by invitation only) seminars. In addition to developing an independent direction for their experience, students will also develop the confidence, in a nurturing environment, to present their findings in front of an audience and (for the more daring) develop a research paper that could be presented at a National or International Conference. All students who participate in the research activities of the Weinberg group are acknowledged in all research presentations and associated materials and also have the opportunity to be co-authors (or for more advanced students even first author status) on research papers that are accepted into International peer-reviewed journals. Finally, because of our connections to the World of Environmental issues, we are well placed to help students develop career directions and provide opportunities for employment at the local, State, national, or non-governmental international agencies.

Give us a try – you have nothing to lose (you will meet one of your graduation requirements with a high grade) and everything to gain (know whether you want to be a scientist and perhaps be guided to the ideal career for you!!!).

Contact (by email: howard_weinberg<AT>unc.edu)