vonHoldt Lab

Evolutionary Genomics and Ecological Epigenomics

NSF REU Training Site: Computational Biology Research, Gateway to STEM

Summer Research, 3 June - 2 August 2024


This REU Training Site has the mission to support formerly incarcerated undergraduate students in gaining research experience in computational biology, the principles of scientific thinking, and research scholarship.


The program seeks to recruit formerly incarcerated undergraduate students who have good standing in their math coursework and performance, but who are not majoring in a STEM discipline or who have not yet declared a major. Community college applicants are especially welcome. Eligible applicants include those who have US military service and students over 30 years of age, and all groups that have been historically excluded in STEM education and employment.


Students accepted into the 9-week REU program will be assigned to a participating faculty mentor and join their mentor's research group. In addition to the faculty research mentor, participants will have guidance from a day-to-day mentor who is part of their faculty mentor's research group. REU interns will also be supported by Princeton University's Prison Teaching Initiative team for weekly lunch meetings with larger groups of summer interns to discuss experience, reflections, or any topic of interest.

To ensure a cohort experience and collective training, this REU program will host mandatory weekly working lunches where all REUs will gather to discuss general topics of interest including quantitative thinking, the scientific method, research ethics, data analysis and interpretation, graphical analysis, oral and written presentations, resume building, and STEM careers and graduate study, as well as contemporary social issues related to science in general or biology in particular. We encourage also regular meetings between the intern and their faculty mentor, wiht likely near daily contact between the intern and their day-to-day mentor to discuss their reserach project, analytical methods, and overall conceptual understanding and context of the project.

REU interns will find that their first few weeks will be filled with intensive training in computational workshops, data organization, code documentation, scientific reasoning, and conduct.

REU students are expected to give informal oral reports on their work during the course of the summer. By the end of the program students also will prepare a formal written report on their research and an oral presentation (e.g., a scientific poster).

The program requires full-time commitment (minimum 40 hours/week for 9 weeks) and no additional commitments to jobs, courses, exam reviews, etc. are permitted outside of this REU internship employment

Financial Support

The program provides a weekly stipend of $600, with disbursement of the final paycheck contingent upon submission of the REU final report from the student. Interns will be provided a dormatory and meal plan for on-campus living during the full 9 weeks at no cost. Interns have free access to the University's considerable library, computing resources, gym, and other campus resources.

Application Process

Please download the application, complete all the required fields, and save as a PDF. Also submit the additional items needed (proof of US citizenship or permanent US resident card; proof of health insurance; three letters of recommendation).

Application Due Date: 8 March 2024
How to submit: Please submit these materials to Dr. Jill Stockwell (jfstockw@princeton.edu). The email subject line must read: REU APPLICATION MATERIALS for [applicant's name]. Each letter writer must email their letter directly to Dr. vonHoldt with a subject line that must read: RECOMMENDATION LETTER for [applicant's name].

STEM departments at Princeton University

  • Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE)
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE)
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB)
  • Mathemataics (MATH)
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE)
  • Molecular Biology (MOL)
  • Princeton Neuroscience Institute (PNI)
  • Psychology (PSY)
  • Contact

    For questions about the REU program and application, please email Dr. Bridgett vonHoldt (vonholdt@princeton.edu) or Dr. Jill Stockwell (jfstockw@princeton.edu).

    The faculty members who run this program are:
    Professor Bridgett vonHoldt, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology [website]
    Professor Jannette Carey, Department of Chemistry [website]