REU Program FAQs

The application process:

What if I can’t start on the exact date of the summer session?

Please indicate when you will be able to start or when you must finish. If you are selected, you can make arrangements with your mentor.

I am a freshman, can I still apply?


If my application is late, will I be considered?

No, all items must be in by the deadline. Partial applications will not be considered.

Whom should I ask for a letter of recommendation?

At least one letter should come from one of your science instructors. Referees should be able to evaluate your abilities, motivation, integrity and intellect. We are also interested in your ability to work independently and with a group, and your enthusiasm for science.

Can letters of recommendation be sent by email?

Yes, we encourage emailed letters with the referee’s professional (.edu) address.

Program details:

How are we refunded for our travel expenses?

You must keep your itinerary (if flying) with receipts. Once you return home at the end of the summer, send us your round trip itinerary and receipts and you will be reimbursed up to $500. If you are driving, you will be reimbursed for mileage according to federal standards.

How will I purchase my groceries and personal items?

We will plan scheduled trips to the local grocery store.

Is our pay taxed?

No, FICA taxes are not taken out.

What are the typical work hours both weekdays and weekends?

Hours are up to your mentor, but generally you should plan on putting in at least an eight hour day. There are no concrete start or end times.

What sorts of trips do students go on during the summer?

The REUs will go on field trips to Florida’s diverse aquatic ecosystems, including local beaches and estuaries, UF’s Seahorse Key Marine Lab and the Gulf of Mexico coast at Cedar Key. You will also visit different graduate departments on the main UF campus in Gainesville. (you can see photos of REU experiences at

What am I expected to do for the REU symposium?

You will write a research paper describing your project, present a 15 minute Power Point seminar, prepare and present a poster. You will be assisted by your mentor, your scientific communications workshop and the Lab illustrator.

Can I get credit for my time at the Whitney Lab as an REU student?

You must work this out with your home institution.

Outside the lab:

Is there wireless in the dorms?


Are dishes and laundry areas provided in the dorms?

Yes. The washer and dryer are free, you must provide your own laundry detergent and dish detergent.

What are some of the recreational activities in the area?

Although the Whitney Lab is located in a rural environment, a multitude of cultural and recreational activities are within a short distance.

Outdoor recreation:

Swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing in the Atlantic Ocean, Intracoastal Waterway and associated marshes and a multitude of fresh water springs and rivers
Camping, hiking and picnicking in numerous county and state and national parks in the immediate area

Cultural activities:

Shops, restaurants and historic museums of St. Augustine, the nation’s oldest city
Concerts, theater, baseball, Nascar racing, July 4 celebrations from Jacksonville to Daytona Beach
Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and other attractions in Orlando

Should I bring my car?

Yes, if possible. The Whitney Lab is 10 miles from the nearest city, Palm Coast, and the closest grocery store is 5 miles away. The Laboratory vehicle is available for limited supply trips but not for recreational use.