Bug2School: A summer undergraduate research and education experience in school gardens

Local school garden

Spend the summer in your hometown doing guided insect ecology experiments! The summer will begin with an in-person, 5-day “BugCamp” where we’ll gather for team-building and rigorous training in gardening, insect ecology, experimental design and data collection. Then, you’ll establish, tend, and analyze small experiments for 8 weeks at 2-3 school garden sites. You’ll receive a two on-site visits and regular remote mentorship from UGA faculty in a course-like structure, along with on-the-ground mentorship from local teachers and community partners. During the summer, you’ll learn to be a scientist, while simultaneously serving your home community by leading at least 2 outreach activities with children in your hometown and creating priceless teachable moments for students when they return in the fall. We’ll gather via Zoom each Friday afternoon for project updates and reflection activities with the cohort of interns, and cultivate skills in data visualization/analysis, along with scholarly research and writing. Internship credit may be granted for those who wish to enroll.

Length of commitment

The 8-week internship will require 30 hours investment per week (240 hours), and will run from Mid-May through Mid-July. This means you’ll have time in your schedule for one online summer course if you wish!


Stipend: $3600 (equivalent to $15/hour) Because this program operates remotely in school gardens across the Southeast, you may also be able to save on living expenses.  All food and accommodations will be covered during “Bug Camp”, and travel assistance is available for those with financial need. Half the stipend will be disbursed during the first week of the internship, and the other half will be disbursed at its conclusion. 


Undergraduates with at least a 3.0 GPA in GA, SC, and NC.


Applications will be considered until the 15 available positions are filled. Priority will be given to applications submitted before March 18th.

Before applying, identify 1-2 potential school garden sites, and submit 5 documents:

  1. Resume
  2. Cover letter that addresses the following prompts:
    • a) Describe why you are excited to cultivate skills as a researcher, and why you’re interested in insect ecology research and sustainable agriculture.
    • b) Describe why working in school gardens is important to you, and how you plan to benefit your home community through collaborative research and outreach.
    • c) Describe how your experience and education uniquely prepare you to excel as a Bug2School intern. Previous research experience and course work in entomology are not required; tell us about how you might apply lessons learned through your work experience or other coursework in your internship.
  3. Letter of collaboration from one teacher who will host you in their school garden. At each site, we’ll need two raised beds at least 4×8 ft. These can be provided by UGA if teachers are excited to participate and don’t have raised beds on-site already. Click here for an example/template for a local teacher letter of collaboration! *Please contact Dr. Blubaugh if you would like some assistance recruiting schools to participate! We are excited to help you. 🙂
  4. Letter of collaboration from one local community mentor (this could be a 4H extension educator or non- profit leader) who agrees to be your ‘on-site’ partner for the summer. Click here for an example/template for a local community mentor letter!
  5. Letter of recommendation from a professor or employer who can describe your knowledge, curiosity, enthusiasm, reliability, and ability to work independently.
Students working in school garden


Feel absolutely free to contact Dr. Blubaugh (carmen.blubaugh@uga.edu) if you have questions about the program or the application process, or would like some guidance in finding potential collaborators.