Summer Undergraduate Research and Extension (SURE) Program

MU Extension and the MU Office of Undergraduate Research are pleased to announce a new program for summer 2020.

  • $5,000 stipend
  • Up to $2,000 housing allowance
  • Eight projects at different locations around the state
  • 9 weeks (June & July 2020)
  • Research project and MU Extension experience

What is the SURE Program?

The Summer Undergraduate Research Extension Program is a nine-week program for students interested in research in a variety of locations, fields, and areas of study. SURE research students work closely with mentors to perform practical research and advance the goals of the University of Missouri Extension. Students will gain experience in research and learn how research is translated into extension programming to benefit and engage Missouri citizens. Students will have a campus mentor and one or more extension mentors. 60-80% of the time will be spent on a research project important to the MU Extension mission. For the remaining 20-40% of the time, students will assist or lead extension outreach activities that may include talking with local farmers, writing informational pieces, helping with youth camps or doing outreach at county fairs. Specific research and extension activities will vary by projects that were proposed by mentors.

To learn more about each of the sites and the fields of study conducted, refer to the 2020 SURE Program Information packet (link below.)

Program Goals

  • Provide a full-time, 9-week research/extension experience for MU undergraduates.
  • Place MU undergraduates at research/extension sites around the state of Missouri.
  • Facilitate research relationships between campus faculty and regional faculty through shared mentoring of undergraduates.
  • Increase research/outreach productivity at MU Extension research sites during the summer.
  • Introduce undergraduates to career opportunities in extension.

Who is eligible?

Students must have completed at least one year as an undergraduate at MU and plan to return to MU in the fall to continue working towards their undergraduate degree and will not graduate before December 2020.   The program itself is open to all majors; however, individual projects may have preferred requirements. Students should enjoy speaking with a variety of people in addition to having an enthusiasm for research.

Is the program paid?

Yes! Students are paid by receiving a scholarship stipend that amounts to $5,000. The scholarship will be awarded in two equal distributions of $2,500.

When is the student required to work?

Students are expected to commit to working full time for June and July. Typically, this will be Monday through Friday, but each program is unique. Specific work hours will vary site by site and are to be worked out between mentors and the student.

What is the application and selection process?

In addition to the application form, students will need to provide an unofficial transcript, résumé, personal statement and at least two letters of recommendation. Students will indicate which project or projects they wish to be considered for. Application packets will be sent to the appropriate project co-mentors for review. Co-mentors will contact finalists for phone interviews. Funding is available for one student per project. Students are NOT required or expected to initiate contact with the co-mentors prior to application.

Applications and letters of recommendation are due by Tuesday, March 12, 2020 and may be emailed to the Undergraduate Research Office ( or dropped off in 150 Bond Life Sciences Center.  Letters of recommendation should be sent directly by the letter writer to  Please use “SURE Program” in the subject line for all applications, letters, and correspondence.

What is Extension?

In fulfillment of its land-grant mission, the University of Missouri engages with citizens and communities across Missouri to find solutions for the grand challenges facing our state in economic opportunity, educational access and excellence and health and well-being.

For more than 100 years, MU Extension has provided relevant, reliable and responsive resources and learning to improve lives. We connect the university with people and partners across Missouri to help drive local economies, prepare youth for leadership and jobs and empower communities to become more resilient.

In its early years, extension programs focused on farmers and their families — who then made up most of the nation’s population — to improve their quality of life and standard of living.   Over the years, MU Extension has expanded to serve the ever changing and increasingly diverse needs of our state.

Today, more than 650 faculty and staff on- and off-campus directly engage Missourians across all 114 counties and the City of St. Louis. They develop and deliver in-person and online programs, courses and events in four focus areas of agriculture and environment, youth and family, business and community and health and safety. They serve and partner with everyone from farmers to 4-H youth ages 5 to 19; they empower small businesses, develop workforce skills and strengthen local economies. Continuing education partnerships serve a variety of fields from emergency responders to health care professionals.

Through county extension councils, more than 1,600 elected, appointed and delegated citizens volunteer to assess local educational needs and to work with extension faculty to deliver and evaluate programs that best serve local counties.

SURE Program Directors

Linda Blockus, Office of Undergraduate Research

150 Bond Life Sciences Center, 573-882-5979,

Sarah Traub, MU Extension

210A Whitten Hall, 573-882-2151,

Interested students are encouraged to meet with Linda Blockus or Sarah Traub if they have questions.  As this is a new program, questions are welcome!


2020 SURE Program Information            2020 SURE Program Application


Map of Missouri counties involved in the 2020 Summer Undergraduate Research and Extension Program