Young Explorers Program of Nevada: Ecuador

The Young Explorers Program of Nevada (YEP-NV) recruits students who will engage in international research and scholarly activity and foster connections across disciplines; amplify the scholarship of University faculty and programs to larger and new audiences; and increase the University’s global engagement while internationalizing campus. Students selected from a range of disciplines will develop a cohort that will travel to Ecuador to implement faculty led research and scholarly activities. Students will also write news articles and create social media posts highlighting the work. The program creates opportunities for undergraduate students interested in becoming part of the global citizenry, develop their experiences in international engagement, and trains the next generation of science communicators.

Project description

The Amazon basin is known to be a hotspot of biodiversity with large areas of limited access to the outside industrial world. Indigenous communities have and continue to coexist sustainably in these forest systems, but the increasing effects of climate change, the global push for clean energy, and external pressures to seek employment in modern society have altered the dynamics between Indigenous cultural systems and forest ecology. This project seeks to increase research capacity, networking, and sustainability within Indigenous communities while enhancing knowledge of chemically mediated species interactions through Indigenous Knowledge. This interdisciplinary project combines approaches anthropology, ecology, chemistry and mathematics to gain insight on the mechanisms that maintain biodiversity in tropical systems and the subsequent effects on network resilience in a changing environment.

Faculty Mentor/Researcher: Professor Lora Richards
Number students supported: up to 4
Majors who should apply: STEM, Communications, Policy and others

YEP-NV is a collaboration between the Ozmen Institute for Global Studies, the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships, the Honors College and University faculty.

Program overview

The Young Explorer Program of Nevada (YEP-NV) pairs fulltime University undergraduate students with international research projects led by University faculty. The program covers the costs of travel, lodging and meals, and compensates students for their field work while abroad. Each cohort of students selected will travel abroad, then return to the campus to process their data, present their findings, and develop their own projects and proposals. Prior to traveling, students will work with the research team, faculty mentors, and their peers to learn more about the place they will be working and the scope and nature of the research. Additionally, selected students will enroll in a course hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships on international research, which will help them develop their own Nevada Undergraduate Research proposal and present their work. For more information, please contact and

The Cohort (students from three majors)

YEP-NV focuses on interdisciplinary training experiences on complex environmental and social problems. A cohort of up to 4 students from different disciplines will work together prior to field work, travel to an international location to collaborate on a faculty led research projects, write news articles and social media posts highlighting the work being done while there, and propose their own projects and submit proposal to fund independent research projects when they return. For each Cohort, we are looking for a student from the STEM fields and majors which can communicate or convey learned information to society. The Cohort will engage with community partners, ask new research questions, and report on their experiences.

Who should apply:

  • Students from all majors are encouraged to apply. Preference is given to students early in their majors, enrolled full time, and continuing in their education through Fall 2023.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required.

Cost of program

YEP-NV covers the costs of student travel to their international field site, lodging and food while there, and compensate students for their time conducting field work. Students will be encouraged to enroll in a 2-credit HON 399 course associated with their field work (often hosted the same term as their field work). While students do not need to be Honors students to apply, if accepted into a YEP-NV Cohort they will be required to become one.

How to apply

Applications are open and review and students may apply up until Thursday, October 26 at 5 p.m. PST. It is suggested that students review some of the “Resources for Applicants” provided in the next section to help with the essays.

Apply for the Young Explorer's Program of Nevada: Ecuador

The application requires the following information:

  • Personal information: your name, NSHE ID number, University of Nevada, Reno email address
  • Academic information: year in school, major, expected graduation term
  • Your (unofficial or official) University transcript
  • Two letters of recommendation (at least one from a University faculty)
    • Applicants must contact recommenders directly with application form: Recommendation form
    • In the application, you are required to provide their name, title, and email
  • Your resume/CV as PDF or Word Doc(x)
  • Three required application essays (each one, single-spaced page with inch margins and 12-point Times font) uploaded as a PDF or Word Doc(x):
    • Essay question 1) Explain how participation in this project will enhance your understanding of your discipline (major) and/or profession, as well as how it relates to your future plans.
    • Essay question 2) This project will require students to work in interdisciplinary groups, learn new methodologies for field work, collect and process data, and engage with different communities. With that in mind, give a narrative explanation of relevant work experience and/or completed course work.
  • A short answer explaining your experience with social media, community engagement, and/or communications and outreach (1250 character limit).

After October 26 applications will be reviewed and finalists will be invited to interview in early November.