SUPER Testimonials

Zoe Lipscomb
Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Major, SUPER Participant: 2020-2021

Mentor: Scott Bradfield


“Participating in the SUPER program, I worked on testing the heat threshold of dominant perennial grasses and measuring erosion at a grassland field site in Northern Colorado. SUPER allowed me to gain hands on experience working on a research project, which is something that I had not considered pursuing as a career before participating in the program. Working with my mentor, I was able to build not only my understanding of research methodology, but also my communication and networking skills. I participated in SUPER as a sophomore and getting the experience in the program early in my undergraduate degree allowed me to build on my experiences and skills that I gained while in SUPER over the past year. Because of my connections through SUPER, my mentor’s lab hired me, and I have been working for them ever since. I have built not only credentials that will be helpful looking toward graduate school, but experiences that have solidified my interest in pursuing a career in research. SUPER is truly the most impactful experience that I have had at CSU and has had a great impact on my post-undergrad plans.”

Daniel Dominguez
Watershed Science Major, SUPER Participant: 2019-20

Mentor: Allison Rhea, Ecosystem Science & Sustainability


“As an aspiring scientist, the SUPER program allowed me to participate in a unique undergraduate research experience and work through the entirety of a scientific project. From a literature review to a final presentation at a conference, I built the necessary confidence in completing a research project and insights that led me to continue to pursue postgraduate education. The technical skills such as coding and data analysis that I learned in the program have allowed me to participate in the NASA DEVELOP program. More importantly, it helped me focus on research areas that I will continue to pursue in my academic career. As a soon-to-be Marshall Scholar and NSF GRFP Fellow, I can confidently say that my experience in the SUPER Program has been one of the essential experiences in my academic career.”

Alannah Leibert
Biological Science Major, SUPER Participant: 2016-17
Mentors: Dr. Robert Flynn and Dr. Gabriel Senay, North Central Climate Science Center

“When participating in SUPER, I was connected to the North Central Climate Science Center to create vulnerability assessments for US Air Force Bases. We worked to research protected species within the boundaries of these bases and how these species may be impacted by projected changes in climate, helping establish priorities for environmental managers.”

“This program helped me understand research in areas I thought I had already mastered, from learning to communicate with mentors to forming an attractive and informative scientific poster. To top it all off, I ended up continuing my work with the NCCSC and am still working with them today – without SUPER, I may have never met my team!”

Connor McCarty
Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Major, SUPER Participant: 2016-17
Mentor: Dr. Stacy Lynn, East African International Research Experience for Students

“My project focused on characterizing problematic plant species in the drylands of northern Tanzania. The purpose was to identify which species were problematic in the area and to create a non-western definition of problematic traits. Using focus groups, I collected data on which plants people found to be problematic in the area. The participants then ranked the plants and further classified the three most problematic species.”

“SUPER and IRES have been a wonderful experience for my educational, professional, and personal growth. My research development skills, field experiences, and ability to adapt have improved immensely. I now know better how to better communicate with my research team and across language barriers.”

Ellen Eisenbeis
Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Major, SUPER Participant: 2016-17
Mentors: Dr. Greg Newman and Dr. Sarah Newman,

“The SUPER program was one of my favorite experiences at CSU. It allowed me to work alongside an amazing team of professionals and gave me an inside look into how research is conducted professionallyIn the four years since I participated in SUPER, I have been able to use my research experience with to further my career. My experience allowed me to gain confidence in my ability to work with colleagues on research projects, which has been integral to positions I have held since, and to my work as a current graduate student at the University of Denver. Hands-on experiences like SUPER made my transition from undergrad to full-time work and then to graduate school easier, as I was more confident in my own abilities and better able to communicate questions I had to team members. I currently work as a Graduate Researcher for former Governor Ritter at the CSU Center for the New Energy Economy where I track and research state-level energy legislation. I am also attending graduate school at DU in the Environmental Policy and Management program.

Zachary Petsch
Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Major, SUPER Participant: 2016-17

Mentor: Cara Steger, Graduate Degree Program in Ecology


“In this intensive, hands-on experience, I was able to learn and apply essential research skills that both stimulated my passion for conducting academic research and prepared me for entering the scientific workforce. My experiences culminated into a project focused on using satellite imagery of the Menz-Guassa Community Conservation Area in the central highlands of Ethiopia. Imagery over a period of thirty years was used to produce NDVI composites and monitor land cover change during multiple resource management regimes. The SUPER program paired me up with a great advisor, who has remained to this day (four years later) a trusted mentor in my academic career. This project was vital in showcasing the scientific knowledge I gained at CSU and this program inspired me to continue my education by pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental GISc. The SUPER program truly changed the trajectory of my career and provided an unmatched opportunity that will remain with me throughout my life.”