Get Involved in REUs at CWI

Photo of Steve Lysne
Author: Steve Lysne
Published: February 2, 2023

“Careers in science are hard and hard to come by” said College of Western Idaho (CWI) Professor of Biology, Dr. Steven Lysne. And he’s right. According to National Center for Education Statistics, in 2019 – 2020, over 125K degrees were awarded in the biological or biomedical sciences. A quick national search on Indeed resulted in just over 30K jobs using the keyword biology. That’s a large disparity.

So how do you continue to follow your passion and stack the deck in your favor? By getting involved! One sure way to stand out in a crowd is to have accumulated relevant experiences in your chosen field. Fortunately, CWI has several Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) that faculty in the biological sciences have developed to help our students get involved and get a head start as clinical technicians and scientists.

The St. Luke’s Cancer Institute Clinical Research Internship  

The competitive clinical research internship program is a 16-week program for students interested in cancer research. It has been helping healthcare students gain practical experiences since 2014 and begins again in the fall of 2023. Students can earn up to three credits of elective coursework that can be applied to their degree programs. Contact Dr. Suzanne Oppenheimer at for more information.

Idaho INBRE (IDeA Network for Biomedical Research Excellence)

In its ninth year at CWI and supports faculty and students at every college and university in Idaho. Funded by the National Institutes of Health, the specific aims of Idaho INBRE change every three to five years but broadly support biomedical research and education in Idaho. Student Fellowships include paid 10-week summer research experiences in the Treasure Valley and across the state.

“Instead of just learning about science, undergraduate research allows students to do science. Students get to apply science to solve problems and experience first-hand the impact of science on addressing critical issues” said CWI Biology Professor, Dr. Elise Connor.

Idaho INBRE also supports faculty training in cutting-edge technologies and the purchase of equipment and supplies, benefitting all CWI students. For more information about the program and its various opportunities, contact Dr. Elise Connor at

Idaho Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)

EPSCoR is a National Science Foundation (NSF) supported program with broad aims relevant to NSF, National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Energy (DOE), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). EPSCoR specifically targets states that receive smaller amounts of federal research and development funds.

One EPSCoR program is Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) which provides a range of training, mentoring, and professional development for students and faculty. At CWI, the VIP course is finishing its second year of REU offerings and has become a successful regular class lead by Professor Miranda Striluk. The VIP course at CWI carries one credit and is offered in the fall and spring. You can find it listed as SCIE 200 in our course catalog. For more information, please contact Miranda Striluk at

Southwestern Idaho Bridges to Baccalaureate program (SWID B2B)

SWID B2B is another highly successful REU for CWI students. This NIH-sponsored program provides up to two years of support for students interested in pursuing a career in biomedical research. Now in its sixth year, the SWID B2B program has supported dozens of CWI students through advising and mentoring.

Highlights of this competitive program include monthly stipends, a tuition and fee waiver, two summers of paid research experiences, and conference participation with support for travel. Eligible students must be planning on transferring to Boise State University and meet other NIH requirements. Contact Professor Stephanie Sevigny at for more information.

The Biological Sciences faculty at CWI have been working hard to develop experiences that support students’ incipient careers as researchers. These are the opportunities that allow you to stand out in a crowded field!

Reach out to your professors, any CWI advisor, or the individuals listed here and get involved. You’ve nothing to lose and it may very well be the catalyst that jump-starts your future.

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