Much of the world—including the United States—faces increasing conflict as Earth’s human population continues to grow but the supply of good, clean water decreases. Water shortages and the struggle to determine how much should be used for agriculture, industry, recreation, wildlife and drinking have sparked legal and policy battles. In addition, pesticides, pollution, invasive species, climate change and droughts threaten the availability of good, clean water. Resolving these complex issues requires the best scientific information and training of natural resource scientists, managers, engineers and policymakers.

The National Science Foundation established a National Research Traineeship program at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to meet this need. As stated by the National Science Foundation, NRT programs are "dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary research areas, through the use of a comprehensive traineeship model that is innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs."

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln NRT program trains master’s and doctoral students in understanding resilience of agricultural ecosystems, particularly the Platte River Basin in Nebraska. The NRT students come from multiple disciplines—the natural, computational, engineering, agricultural and social sciencesto study panarchy theory, novel sensing technologies and modeling, adaptive management and policy interventions. They strive to develop tools that can collect, synthesize and analyze data to inform decisions and policies for managing water resources. They hope to keep the Platte River Basin and other agro-ecosystems healthy and resilient for all who depend upon them now and for generations to come.

Recent Events

Master's students Julie Fowler and Alison Ludwig presented virtually about NRT collaborations they are involved in to the External Advisory Board of the Nebraska NRT at the board's annual meeting June 30.

Andrea Basche, assistant professor in the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, spoke by Zoom to NRT students on June 24 about federal fellowships and how to apply for them.

The NRT accepted Catherine Chan and Breanne Lewis-Jones as doctoral students and Kate Bird, Alexis Chavez and Sarah Thompson as master's students for fall 2020. These outstanding new students will start their NRT traineeships August 1. Congratulations to all!

The eight NRT students in the Council for Resilience Education won an Educational Aids Blue Ribbon from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers for their educational materials about ecological resilience. NRT students Conor Barnes, Dominic Cristiano, Julie Fowler, Katharine Hogan, Jessica Johnson, Alison Ludwig, Daniel Morales, and Rubi Quiñones will receive the award virtually at the ASABE international meeting July 12. The Educational Aids Blue Ribbon Awards Competition promotes excellence in informational materials contributing to the understanding of agricultural and biological engineering subjects outside of the traditional classroom setting.

The Nebraska NRT worked with Northwestern University to offer the Science Communication Online Programme (SCOPE) to NRT students here jointly with Illinois students April 20 to June 8. 

Laurel Badura, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, spoke to NRT students about federal jobs and shared tips for preparing and applying for such positions at the May 27 trainee meeting.

NRT master's student Alison Ludwig was awarded a Sampson Fellowship with the Center for Grassland Studies, as announced by the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture May 26.

In May, four NRT master's students defended, the first in our NRT: Jazmin Castillo, Christopher Fill, Jessica Johnson and Brittany Kirsch. Castillo and Johnson graduated in May, and Fill and Kirsch will officially graduate in August. Johnson and Kirsch have already landed jobs with the NRCS. Congratulations, all!

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Note: In response to the coronavirus, the university is taking numerous precautions to protect its staff and students. These include canceling in-person public events and requesting that staff and students work from home. We are still carrying on the great work of Nebraska—but now at a distance. Go, Big Red!

August 1

Welcome new cohort of students to Nebraska

August 3-7

"Decision-Making and Attribution Science of Socio(agro)ecological Systems” minicourse with Francisco Muñoz-Arriola, professor in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, and Thiago Romanelli, professor at Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

August 17

Classes start remotely

August 24

In-person classes begin

September 7

Labor Day. Classes meet.

October 19-20

Fall break suspended. Classes meet.

November 19-20

"Fifteenth Week" preparation for finals

November 21-25

Finals take place. Fall semester ends.

November 30-December 18

Optional remote mini-session 

Collaborating agencies