2020 Fall Research Programs

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Program Overviews

Session 1: Environmental Science focus*

Mentored one-on-one by a professional scientist, you will engage in the process of high level science by conducting your very own original research and submitting your discoveries to a science journal for publication.

*3 groups available: see dates and sessions below for details

Session 2: R

Learn R, a statistical programming language that is widely used across multiple disciplines. Students will come away from the program with a basic understanding of statistical analyses that can be used on their own collected data and how to run analyses using R coding language.

Online Research Program Reviews:

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Location: ONLINE

2020 Camp Dates: September 7-Nov 20

Cost: Envsc. program- $1250, R program- $1200

We have reserved 3 slots for scholarship participants. Apply here for a scholarship. You will be notified with a private registration link if you are selected and do not need to register now.

-Applications accepted until August 20th at 5:00 p.m.
-3 slots are reserved on top of our paid registrants
-Applicants will be notified on DATE

Questions: Contact us with any further questions


Environmental Science Program


During the Headwaters Fall Environmental Science Research Program, you will engage in this very process by conducting your very own original research and submitting your discoveries to a science journal for publication.

Students will be paired with a professional scientist who is experienced not only in research publications but also in mentoring students like yourself. You will emerge as an expert in your chosen field of study with a polished account of your findings and the skills to conduct your own future investigations.

Note: Students need access to water sources to sample. Projects do not need to be water-focused, but the preliminary lesson and data collection will be on water quality.   

Research tools: A base kit of equipment will be provided, depending on the exact research question you develop you may need to purchase additional science equipment at your own expense.

Base kit Provided by Headwaters: TDS meter w/ thermometer and nutrient test strips. Digital resources: Observational guides, EPA guides, Munsell chart, insect guide and net instructions, quadrant instructions.

What To Expect

Through group lessons and one-on-one sessions with your assigned scientist mentor, you will ask an original research question, design and conduct an experiment to test that question, analyze your data, and submit a manuscript to a youth-specific scientific journal to be considered for publication. Just like all Scientific research, this will involve creative thinking, trial and error, and 2-3 hours of independent work per hour of instruction.

Sample Study Topics

While there are many different topics participants can create a great research project around, here are a few systems our team of scientists enjoys studying:

  • Urban environments: How do organisms function in heavily impacted environments?
  • Water quality: Sources of pollution and their impacts in your neighborhood. 
  • Human impact: How do we affect the environments around us?
  • Organism responses to the environment: How do plants, insects, or birds respond to different environmental cues?

Meet The Mentors

Spencer Eusden – Group lesson lead and mentor – Spencer has been teaching
with Headwaters since its inception in 2014 and has experience guiding student
research projects in almost any topic imaginable.
Meg Seifert Ph.D. – In addition to being Headwaters’ Executive Director, Meg brings research experience in zoology from her doctorate and a passion for student-led research.
Dan Dudek – Dan holds a masters in evolutionary biology from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is entering a Ph.D. program at the University of Texas Arlington with extensive amphibian and genetic research experience.
Ashley Pierce Ph.D. – As a former Headwaters Program Director and current science and technology policy fellow with the National Science Foundation (N.S.F.) Ashely brings her strong background in chemistry and atmospheric pollutants to
this program.
N.O.A.A Research Scientists – Several scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will also be serving as mentors sharing their knowledge and experience in studying weather, microclimates, and how they affect us.

Gabriela Rios-Sotelo – Gabriela holds two Master’s of Science degrees and enjoys paring research with learning. She has also developed scientific inquiry based curriculum as a part time Truckee Meadows Community College Biology instructor in Reno.

Dates And Sessions

September 7 – November 20

Three different sessions of this program will take place concurrently. These programs are identical, and are designed to accomodate different schedules. 

Program group 1: Group sessions Monday from 3:30-4:30 p.m.

Program group 2: Group sessions Monday from 5:00-6:00 p.m. 

Program group 3: Group sessions Tuesday from 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Session Breakdown

Group lessons are at the specified time on Monday or Tuesday based on which group you select (see dates and sessions tab). For the one-on-one sessions, you will need to choose a time from a list of options on the given days. If you anticipate a schedule conflict with a group or individual session please reach out to us ahead of time, as some accommodation may be possible.

Click here for a calendar of session dates.


R Program


Headwaters Science Institute is offering a ten-week course on R – a statistical programming language that is widely used across multiple disciplines. Students will come away from the program with a basic understanding of statistical analyses that can be used on their own collected data and how to run analyses using R coding language.

Headwaters Science Institute will hold group instruction in combination with individualized meetings with our team of mentors to ensure everyone succeeds! In addition to statistical practices, we will also go over how to create presentations and manuscript-level figures using R. It is our goal that students will be able to take what they learn in this program to use it in future scientific endeavors.

What To Expect

R is a free program that’s used for statistical programming. Students need no prior coding experience, but should expect to learn how to write coding script in R. Students will also develop their own questions to answer using statistical analyses and are expected to draw upon their knowledge of past research in order to understand the data they’re working with.

Meet The Mentor

Anne Espeset is the Group Lesson Lead and mentor for this program. Anne has a phD in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology and an in-depth knowledge of statistical analysis.

Dates And Sessions

10-week Semester class – Runs the week of September 14th, 2020 – November 16th, 2020 (pre-meetings begin 8/8)

Meetings will be on Tuesdays at 4:30 – 6:00 pm PT

Office Hours will be held on Thursdays at 4:30 – 6:00 pm PT

Individual meetings may be scheduled on an as-needed basis

Session Breakdown

Week 1: Mentor and Mentee Introductions; Statistics refresher (p-value; significance; types of variables; null-hypotheses; etc.)

Week 2: Getting familiar with coding language: Downloading R; Getting & Organizing Data; Basic Mathematical Functions in R (summary of data); Creating Your Own Workspace; Installing Packages

Week 3: Statistical Tests in R: Chi-squared Test

Week 4: Statistical Tests in R: T-test

Week 5: Statistical Tests in R: ANOVA; Tukey Test

Week 6: Statistical Tests in R: Linear Regression

Week 7: Figure Making: Plotting Figures (scatter plot, box plot, etc.); Customizing plots

Week 8: Figure Making: Creating Maps; Adding pictures to plots

Week 9: Choosing the right statistical analyses for your data; Independent Data Analyses

Week 10: Presenting Results

This Camp is Supported By: