An ambitious, University based, USDA sponsored research project investigating
the sustainable production and distribution of bioenergy and
bioproducts for the central U.S.

The Next Generation of Bioenergy: An Undergraduate Internship Opportunity


From the field of economics to working in fields of grass for agronomy research, the CenUSA Bioenergy Undergraduate Internship Program offers hands-on learning opportunities for students from many disciplines. These internships have created a mutually beneficial experience with key concepts and ideas taken from the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates program.

D. Raj Raman, one of the education directors for the internship program, and CenUSA Co-Project Director explains that CenUSA solicits project ideas from participating faculty. Consequently, CenUSA projects have a broad scope, touching many areas of research such as: plant genomics, agronomic practices, agricultural and chemical engineering, economics and environmental lifecycle assessment.

Applicants can review project ideas on the CenUSA website ( to see if any match their areas of interest. Raman says applicants should think most about their reasons for applying. He strives to know what the interns are passionate about. “We don’t think the model of ‘Hey, I’m interested in working for CenUSA’ is good enough,” Raman said. “We don’t want to force students to work on a project they are not interested in.” After reviewing the applications, the top few are sent to the project’s principal investigator. In 2014, CenUSA estimates providing research opportunities for eighteen undergraduates.

Maryann Moore, CenUSA Internship Program Co-Project director says, the undergraduate internship program places a high priority on making sure students get as fulfilling an experience as possible. “Interns develop friendships with practicing scientists, they see what research is really like, and they develop relationships that often last entire careers,” Raman said.

Building relationships with researchers, hands-on experience and the knowledge gained from these internships can be life-changing. “Be ready to work hard and take responsibility for your own success,” said Ben Meier, a former CenUSA intern.

Applications for the CenUSA Bioenergy Research Internship Application are available online and are due March 9th. To learn more or to apply visit,