E.S.S.R.E. 2001
E.S.S.R.E. 2002
E.S.S.R.E. 2003
E.S.S.R.E. 2004
E.S.S.R.E. 2005
E.S.S.R.E. 2006
E.S.S.R.E. 2007
E.S.S.R.E. 2008
E.S.S.R.E. 2009

Environmental Science Summer Research Experience for Young Women

    Research Findings Soil Ecology Experiments Biota Survey Protocols Microclimate Data    Research Sites Descriptions Annotated Bibliographies Sponsors

Welcome to E.S.S.R.E.!

    Launched in July of 2001, the Environmental Science Summer Research Experience for Young Women is a three week summer internship  in environmental field studies for 9th and 10th grade girls from the greater Baltimore area.  Participants explore the soil chemistry and biota of the Roland Park Country School campus, author and test lab activities for studying soil microenvironments, and adapt these labs for dissemination and use in a wide variety of educational situations and socio-economic conditions.  The program's primary objectives are to give this target audience the opportunity to engage in authentic, self-directed primary research into the ecological roles of soil microbes and, as a result, to nurture their interest in science in general as a possible career option.

    Now in its 16th year, E.S.S.R.E. has received national recognition for our efforts to promote the study of soil ecology,  including the 2006 SeaWorld/Busch Gardens/Fuji Film Environmental Excellence Award and inclusion in the monograph, Exemplary Science for Resolving Societal Challenges by the National Science Teachers Association.  Former interns have gone on to work at national research centers such as the University of Maryland's Center of Marine Biotechnology, the Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Palo Alto VA Hospital, MITRE’s Nanosystems Group, and the Johns Hopkins Space Telescope Science Institute.  Many graduates of the program have pursued careers in science, including the Ethyl and Albemarle Science Scholarship from the University of Richmond, the Meyerhoff Scholarship from the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the National Science Foundation's STEP program at Dickinson College.  A lab manual based on the girls' work was published in 2008, and several past interns still earn royalties for ideas they developed out of their work in the program. 

     You can learn more about E.S.S.R.E. through this short video (or visit one of the yearly program pages to watch one of theirs), and we sincerely hope that you might join us in our endeavors.   To apply for the 2016 program (July 11-29), simply submit an application to the Project Director,


Program Description

      Run in conjunction with the RPCS 9th grade soil ecology project, "The Little Things that Run the World", E.S.S.R.E. offers adolescent girls a unique and challenging educational opportunity and provides educators around the country with labs and soil ecology lessons to help implement the national science teaching standards in their classrooms and courses. Participants in E.S.S.R.E. engage in a wide variety of activities during their internships. Depending on the prior skills and backgrounds of those involved, these can and have included:

  • performing a broad general survey of the biotic and abiotic  factors located within the urban woodland on the school's campus using standard biodiversity protocols;
  • generating a baseline of data for studying soil microbes and their environmental conditions from this survey;
  • using the baseline data to design, and perform experimental investigations into one specific aspect of soil microecology of the participants own choosing;
  • developing these investigations into inquiry lesson plans and the requisite support materials for use in other classrooms; and
  • modifying and verifying both the research protocols and the lesson plans to make them easily accessible to all schools, regardless of their physical or economic situation (including urban schools, schools with inadequate funding, and schools that teach populations of students traditionally under-represented in science).  

     In addition, interns customize and prepare their experiments, activities, lessons, and data for dispersion to the wider science education community via the Internet, and each research team must create their own web page to make available to other schools, teachers, and pupils all the classroom materials produced through this program, along with the database of information collected from the initial survey as well.

    Finally, everyone involved with this project learns various general science research skills, including specifically (but not limited to):

  • how to perform advanced statistical analysis (including student t-test & regression analysis);
  • how to write a scientific paper for submission for publication in a professional journal;
  • how to keep a field research journal; andd
  • how to generate and prepare an annotated bibliography.

    For their participation in the program, all students are paid a small stipend.

Further Information

    To learn more about E.S.S.R.E., follow one of our links or click on one of our intern teams' photos to learn more about an individual year's program.  

(last updated July 2016)

E.S.S.R.E. 2010
E.S.S.R.E. 2011
E.S.S.R.E. 2012
E.S.S.R.E. 2013
E.S.S.R.E. 2014
E.S.S.R.E. 2015
E.S.S.R.E. 2016