NSF MCB 1244355, MCB 0815354, IOS 0743284, plus REU and RET Supplements MCB 1112116, MCB 1233241, IOS 0826664, IOS 0824550, IOS 0924290, IOS 0925486, and IOS 1032265.

INTERESTED IN JOINING OUR GROUP? Contact Dr. Nicole Valenzuela at to explore potential options.



Undergraduate Research Internships Discovery-based learning opportunities

Undergraduate students from ISU and elsewhere conduct research

The ITA provides an opportunity to Integrate undergraduate discovery-based learning through a service-learning activity that helps immerse biology undergraduates into the field and lab modules of the research projects conducted by the Valenzuela lab at Iowa State University.

ITA interns learn about environmental and evolutionary genomics; field, experimental and developmental biology; herpetology, and evolutionary ecology.

The ITA combines service experience with academic learning and reflection by recruiting members via ISU’s Skunk River Navy (SRN) program (which is committed to improving the quality of local aquatic environments).

Additional ITA participants have come from ISU's Program for Women in Science and Engineering (PWSE), George Washington Carver Internship Program (GWC), the program for Alliance for Graduate Education and Professoriate, or as independent interns during the summer or academic semesters.

ITA interns disseminate their research via publications and presentations

Former ITA interns Undergraduate students from the following universities have participated in the ITA program:

Iowa State University, Benedict College, Emory University, University of Puerto Rico (Mayaguez), Cornell College, Luther College, Western Iowa Tech, Capital University.

K-12 Teacher Summer Internships Discovery-based professional and curricular development

K-12 Teachers carry out research

The ITA also provides opportunity for K-12 teachers to participate in summer internships on animal research, through a collaboration with the Plant Genome Outreach program at ISU.

K-12 Teachers develop curricular material

This internship enables teachers to share the latest scientific advances with their K-12 grade pupils to inspire them to love and pursue science. Teachers develop curricular material to be used by them in their classroom as well as by other K-12 teachers at peer institutions.

K-12 Curricular Material

TEDEducation Video on Sex Determination

ITA K-12 Materials Created by RET Teachers:

The following curricular material was developed by K-12 teachers during summer internships with the ITA. It is intended that this material be shared for their use by peer teachers and institutions. Credit should be given to the authors of the material and the funding sources that enable their development. Funding was provided in part by supplements IOS-0826664, IOS-0924290, and IOS-0924290 to NSF grant IOS 0743284 to Nicole Valenzuela.

Gene McClugage, Science Teacher, Ames Middle School, Ames, Iowa.

Gene McClugage's Population Genetics Poster

Karen Catron, 1st Grade Teacher, Lovejoy Elementary School, Des Moines, Iowa.

Karen's Turtle Biology Poster

Karen's Turtle Biology Unit

Tanya Manternach, Hempstead High School Teacher, Dubuque, Iowa.

Tanya's Genomics Poster

Tanya's DNA Unit

Tanya's Gene Expression Unit

Tracy Pearson, High School Teacher, Lawton-Bronson CSD, Lawton, IA.

Tracy's Developmental Biology Poster

Would you like to join our group?

If you are interested in joining our group, please contact Dr. Nicole Valenzuela at to explore possible options.