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Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)

What is the NARA SURE?

The Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA) Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) is a 9 to 10 week summer undergraduate research program focused on the development of a forest residuals to bio-jet industry that is regionally focused, economically viable, and socially acceptable. This program includes an education component to enhance science literacy in biofuels, and help people understand how they’re going to fit into the new energy economy. Current undergraduates can participate in this program and spend the summer engaged in full-time, mentored research at Washington State University (Pullman, WA) OR at the McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS, McCall, ID) operated by the University of Idaho.


The deadline to apply is March 5, 2021. The application will require the following:

Personal Statement (6,000 characters or less) describing:

  • Additional experiences that demonstrate your ability to work independently and to be self-motivated.
  • What you hope to gain by participating in a research program such as this, and specifics about which part of the program interests you more…research in the biofuel sector (WSU – Pullman, WA) or energy literacy education training at MOSS.
  • Your short- and long-term goals, and how a summer research experience will help you realize them.
  • Previous experience you have in research or education, such as internships or experience in a classroom, working with instrumentation, laboratory techniques, and/or related computer skills.

Two letters of recommendation. NOTE: You will be asked to enter the email and name of two people that could write you a letter of recommendation. They will be sent an email with a link to upload a letter on your behalf. Please make sure you have their correct email address before you begin this application. Please ask your letter writers to submit your letter of recommendation (as PDF) by March 12, 2021. Hard copies of their letter are not required or accepted. If you have any questions, please contact Gaea Ridenhour at or Dr. Shelley Pressley at

Program Goals

The NARA SURE program goal is to provide undergraduate students an opportunity to participate in ongoing active research programs. Working closely with faculty and graduate students, the participants will gain hands on experience with using forest residuals to create bio-based alternatives to petroleum-based products such as jet fuel.

Who is eligible?

Participants must be currently registered at a two or four year college, may not have received their Bachelor’s degree prior to July 2021, and must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident. Women, members of demographic groups traditionally underrepresented in science and engineering, and students from community colleges or institutions that do not offer research opportunities for undergraduates are particularly encouraged to apply.

Students at all levels of their undergraduate work are sought for this program, and majors such as chemical engineering, environmental engineering, education, as well as students from chemistry, physics, math, and other technical majors are encouraged to apply. Yes, we take freshmen to seniors, and we do hope to have a broad mix of students at various levels of their college careers, so don’t hold back from applying just because you haven’t had any research experience.

What you get

In addition to gaining experience in the bio-jet industry and/or education of renewable energy, you also receive:

  • A stipend of $5,000 for the 9 to 10 week session and free housing

We plan to run the NARA SURE 2021 virtually, with a possibility of shifting to an in-person experience if public health conditions allow.

  • Travel assistance for travel to and from Pullman, WA or McCall, ID, if allowed

We will provide housing in an off campus facility, with a shared kitchen for all students, if allowed.

Dates of the Program

Start date: June 3, 2021
End date: Aug. 6, 2021

Students on the quarter system that are unable to start on June 3 are still eligible to apply. Please do not let that deter you. Students located at MOSS for the summer will come to Pullman, WA for the end of the summer poster symposium, if allowed.

Image Gallery

SURE Posters from Previous Summers