Adam Stanford-Moore was cautiously hopeful he could spend the summer pursuing a meaningful environmental solution. The outdoor-loving Stanford physics major was hesitant about pursuing research though because of the likelihood it would keep him inside.

That’s where the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment’s Mentoring Undergraduates in Interdisciplinary Research (MUIR) program came in. MUIR provides stipends of $7,000 to full- and part-time Stanford undergraduate students to conduct interdisciplinary environmental research for 10 weeks during the summer under Stanford faculty member guidance.

“Through MUIR, I was able to study glacier motion on Mt. Baker in Washington state, and hike and camp on the mountain to collect data,” Stanford-Moore said. “It was a truly remarkable experience.”

Working with Stanford assistant professor of geophysics Dustin Schroeder, Stanford-Moore used a new technology, terrestrial radar interferometry, to monitor fluctuations in glacier ice speed. Then, he connected those variations to changes in water flow underneath the glacier. This work contributes to a better understanding of climate change impacts.

This past summer, MUIR fellows worked on projects ranging from an analysis of agriculture and gold mining’s influence on ecosystem functioning in the Peruvian Amazon to a forecast of climate change’s impact on native Caribbean mammals. Read about some of these projects in the slideshow below. Read more MUIR-funded projects.

MUIR Summer 2017

“I did MUIR so I could make an impact on real-world environmental problems. I learned about how many fields are coming together to improve technology and the way we interact with the Earth and our resources.”

  • Cheyenne Peltier, chemistry major (project: development of new catalysts for sustainable plastics)

“As a native student, I was excited to combine my interests in environmental science and traditional ecological knowledge by conducting field research in a mostly native community. I learned about the frustration, rigor and joy of conducting field research. Mostly, I am happy that I learned how to ethically conduct such research through cooperation with the community in which I resided."

  • Gabi Saiz, anthropology major (project: the effect of prescribed burns on Yurok & Karuk tribes and forests in Northern California)

“I chose to do MUIR because of the incredible researchers and resources at Stanford. I had a blast and learned a lot. Most importantly, I met about four new people who I now consider close friends.” 

  • Oliver Lewis, Earth system science major (project: understanding stresses of climate change and soil arsenic on rice yield)