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Department of Plant Pathology

Research & Extension Experiences for UndergraduatesResearch & Extension Experiences for UndergraduatesResearch & Extension Experiences for UndergraduatesResearch & Extension Experiences for UndergraduatesResearch & Extension Experiences for Undergraduates
Department of Plant Pathology
Kansas State University
1712 Claflin Road
4024 Throckmorton PSC
Manhattan, KS 66506

Ph: +1-785-532-6176
Fx: +1-785-532-5692

REEU Calendar

Pre-session timeline:

  • December 1, 2019: Open application section of the website.
  • February 7, 2020: Applications due.
  • February 14, 2020: Letters of recommendations due. These should be sent to luckymehra@ksu.edu directly by referees.
  • March 28, 2020: Decision letter will be emailed to the applicants.

Before you arrive:

A group video orientation will be held in late April with program coordinator, Dr. Lucky Mehra. You will be introduced to other interns, and briefed on the 9-week schedule and logistical details. Video conferences between each mentor and their student intern will take place in early May to get acquainted and discuss expectations.

Sample 9-week program:

Tables 1-3 below outline the timeline. Most weeks will follow a similar schedule to facilitate planning of work schedules in the host labs. All weeks will include these elements:

  1. Professional development (Prof. Dev.): Interns in plant pathology REEU will join the workshops offered by the Consortium of Undergraduate Research Experience Programs (CUREP). On weeks without a CUREP workshop we will offer sessions on ethics, video interview skills, and international agriculture development.
  2. Field trips: Weeks 1-8 will have a half- or full-day field trip for hands-on experiential learning about research and extension in different agricultural systems. 
  3. Agricultural data analytics activities: Each week will have a 1-2 hour group session focused on Food and Agriculture Cyberinformatics and Tools (FACT). The group sessions are intended to develop skills in the entire cohort and give all students exposure to different types of data including bioinformatics, high-throughput phenotyping, and large-scale field data at a conceptual level appropriate to the interns. 

Table 1: Week 1 timeline

This year, the first week of internship will start on May 27th, 2020.

TuesdayTravel, checking in to housing. Project Directors join interns for casual dinner at dining center.

Morning: 8:00-9:00: welcome coffee with all mentors, with overview of KSU plant health research and extension; 9:00-12:00: additional group orientation with
Coordinator (Mehra). Complete pre-session survey. Initiate required safety trainings. Create professional LinkedIn profiles.

Afternoon: Acquire ID’s for access to campus facilities, other logistics, and then initial worktime in host lab.


Morning: Worktime in host labs, finish any necessary safety trainings for those labs.

Afternoon: Command-line crash course. 2-hour session to learn about the command line interface, the inner workings of a computer and about resources such as GitHub.


Morning: ½ day field trip to KSU farm to learn how to set up field experiments, methods to measure diseases and insects, & learn about extension.

Afternoon: Worktime in host lab; 4:00-5:00 Initiate group blog with Coordinator Mehra.

Evening: welcome BBQ or dinner

Table 2: Timeline for weeks 2-8

Week 2Prof. Dev.“Preparing for Research” – presented by CUREP
 Field Trip

Field trip to university research farm to observe high throughput phenotyping, UAVs, and big data (FACT). 


Data visualization. 

Week 3Prof. Dev.“Research Ethics”
 Field trip, 1/2 dayIndustry breeding plots.
 FACTAnalyzing UAV data using Machine Learning.

Friday afternoon 4:00: ice cream break, informal progress updates. All interns sign up for a free one-year student membership to the American
Phytopathological Society.

Week 4Prof. Dev.“Graduate School Application Process,” presented by CUREP
 Field trip, full day

KSU Horticulture Center and 2-3 farms in Kansas City area. Fruit/vegetable/ornamentals. Interaction with county extension educators & growers.


“Big picture” conceptual introduction to bioinformatics. What is it, why is it important, and what questions can we ask? Meet in teaching  computer lab and learn about genome sequencing and bioinformatics.

 Other1-hr tour of Integrated Genomics Facility.
Week 5Prof. Dev.“Financial Support for Graduate School." Presented by CUREP
 Field trip, 1/2 day

KSU Biosecurity Research Institute. 1 hr intro session, then go into mock-containment demo lab to learn hands-on methods for BSL3 work. Learn how extension personnel interact with regulatory officials to work with growers on exotic/emerging pathogens.


Using long-read sequence data to assemble complete genomes. Discuss cutting-edge sequencing technology and how it is revolutionizing biological sciences. Use 2nd & 3rd generation sequence data to assemble two fungal genomes using KSU High Performance Computer Cluster.

 OtherMid-point survey/feedback.
Week 6Prof. Dev.“International agriculture opportunities.”
 Field trip, 1/2 day

Engaging the public through experiential displays. Behind-the-scenes tour of the KSU Insect Zoo to learn how entomologists use the zoo for science communication to the public, including children. Brainstorm ideas on how to showcase their own projects in a fun and creative way.


Using long-read sequence data to assemble complete genomes (continued). Analyze the completed genome assemblies and develop hypotheses they could further test.

  Other July 4th holiday will come around this time. Work with other KSU REU’s to provide interns with recreational activities for the day.
Week 7 Prof. Dev. “Effective Oral and Poster Presentations Skills.” Presented by CUREP.
  Field trip, 1/2 day Campus landscape disease walking tour and extension experience. Hands-on diagnostic problem-solving.

Synthesizing large-scale weather data to help growers make management decisions. Hands-on activity using Fusarium Head Blight Forecasting System,
an interactive map-based extension website used by growers in 30 states.

Week 8Prof. Dev.

“Survival skills for graduate school video interviews.” Prepare for and practice mock interviews using Zoom.

 Field trip, full day

Row crops (corn/soybean) research and farms. Include county agents/educators. Stop at large implement dealer to view equipment.


Global Food Systems - Discussion of the roles people, policies, & cultures play in global food systems. Roles of research and extension. Sustainable food production, processing, distribution, and availability.

Table 3: Week 9 timeline

This year, week 9 of the internship will start on July 27th, 2020.

MondayMorning: worktime with labs; Afternoon 2:00-5:00 Interns conduct a practice poster session with Coordinator Mehra and each other. Staggered exit interviews with Mehra.

Morning: worktime in host labs; Afternoon: Research Symposium and Reception. Evening: Farewell potluck picnic with entire department

WednesdayMorning: closing discussions and reflections. Evaluations. Mehra, Kennelly, Cook
Afternoon: departures