Call for Applicants: NSF REU: GIS for Disaster Resilience Spatial Thinking, Summer 2018

The Center for Geographic Information Science & Technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology is now accepting applications for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Site ‘Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for Disaster Resilience Spatial Thinking’ summer 2018 cohort. Full applications (including reference letters) for the 2018 REU Cohort are due Friday 1 December 2017.

About the Research Program:

This cutting-edge ten-week interdisciplinary REU Site hosted at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) will be the first to focus on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for disaster resilience spatial thinking. Project objectives are to (1) enable students to research, create, and evaluate serious GIS games for disaster resilience spatial thinking, and (2) create and evaluate an interdisciplinary STEM research environment at the intersections of Geographic Information Science, disaster management, Information Technology (IT), social science and game development. The proposed REU Site will be the first research environment to explore the novel linkage between disaster resilience, spatial thinking, GIS, and serious games via three unanswered scientific research questions: (1) Which spatial thinking components are relevant to disaster resilience, (2) Which GIS tools and visual representations best connect disaster resilience with spatial thinking, and (3) What are the best serious game design practices that incorporate spatial thinking GIS tools and visual representations for disaster resilience to achieve learning outcomes.

We are anticipating research projects focused on international disaster issues with our partners in Germany, India, Rwanda, Jordan and elsewhere. We also received supplemental funding from the NSF to conduct field work in Houston, Texas to study the response and recovery to 2017 Hurricane Harvey.

Logistical Information:

The program is only available to current, full-time undergraduate students at US-based institutions. Students who have already graduated or are planning to graduate before the summer cannot be considered.

We can only consider applications from US Citizens and permanent residents.

Students must have a GPA 3.0 or higher (4.0 scale) at the time of application. We are looking to recruit Geography, Social Science, Game Design, Computer Science, Information Technology, and any other groups of undergraduate student interested in GIS, disasters, spatial thinking, game development, and vulnerable populations.

We particularly encourage participation from underrepresented groups in science. For example, RIT has a strong Deaf and Hard of Hearing student and faculty population via RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

The program will run for 10 week during summer 2018 on the Rochester Institute of Technology campus in Rochester NY. Located in upstate NY, Rochester is a great location to spend the summer with a wide variety of outdoor activities that range from bicycling on the historic Erie canal to water activities on Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes. Rochester also has a great music and nightlife scene with world-class attractions such as the National Museum of Play and the George Museum House of Photography.

Accepted students for the program students will receive a housing, per diem and living stipend to support their summer research experience at RIT.


Full applications (including reference letters) for the 2018 REU Cohort: Friday 1 December 2017

Skype interviews for short-listed applicants: Week of 18 December 2017

Notification of selected applicants: Week of 1 January 2018

Commitment/confirmation from accepted applicants to participate in 2018 summer cohort due: Monday 8 January 2018

For More Information and to Apply:

A video overview of information for potential applicants can be found on YouTube at:

Visit our website for more information on the REU Site and to apply:

For more information and questions, please contact:

Brian Tomaszewski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Center for Geographic Information Science & Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology
Rochester, NY  14623, USA
phone: +1 585-259-9678
Skype: brian.tomaszewski