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Instars & Emerge Diversity and Mentoring Programs

Instars & Emerge Diversity and Mentoring Programs

    Instars & Emerge

    The Instars and Emerge programs aim to increase persistence in freshwater science of scholars from historically underrepresented backgrounds in freshwater science.

    Individuals from a wide range of groups and identities are historically underrepresented in freshwater science and the Society for Freshwater Science (SFS), based on several factors including dimensions of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and status as a first-generation student. ​

    Instars and Emerge program alumni are eligible and encouraged to reapply.



    Eligibility: Undergraduate students, graduate students, and early career professionals from historically underrepresented backgrounds interested in freshwater science.

    Emerge fellows will engage with each other to build a scientific and support network, develop skills in science, and collaborate using data from NSF NEON sites. They will be able to take part in the extended network of freshwater scientists as facilitated by the SFS. Fellows will have the opportunity to participate in the SFS Annual Meeting (May/June), as well as in professional development workshops geared to advance skills in data management, dissemination of research, science communication, and skills working in freshwater environments (e.g., river safety through river float trips, excursions, etc.). In addition, fellows will expand on their general knowledge of freshwater ecosystems and associated careers in freshwater science through connections with members of the Steering Committee and collaborators who will increase their exposure to other freshwater science professionals, collaborators, and/or employers. They will also have access to an array of face-to-face and online collaborative opportunities. Fellows will also learn from the other fellows, which includes career stages from undergraduate, graduate student, to early career professionals.

    The program includes:

    • A three-day river float immediately before the SFS Annual Meeting (including costs of travel, equipment, food, camping gear, etc.)
    • All SFS Annual Meeting opportunities included in the Instars program
    • SFS membership, SFS Annual Meeting registration (including costs of travel, lodging, and some meals at the Annual Meeting)
    • Online collaborative projects and community events
    • A NEON + R / Data Analysis Workshop (including costs of travel, lodging, and meals)
    • A Visual Communications Workshop (including costs of travel, lodging, and meals)

    Additional information on Emerge can be found here


    Eligibility: Undergraduate participants from historically underrepresented backgrounds interested in freshwater science.

    Instars is a continuing program within the SFS that seeks to increase diversity and inclusivity within the freshwater sciences. This program is open to undergraduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds who plan on participating in the SFS Annual Meeting. Launched in 2011, Instars serves undergraduate students from historically underrepresented backgrounds at the SFS Annual Meeting by helping them develop science identity and a sense of shared values. We hope to inspire and excite students about our science by offering activities at the SFS Annual Meeting with other undergraduates, graduate student mentors, and professional SFS members. 

    The program includes:

    • SFS Membership and SFS Annual Meeting registration
    • Funding to offset the costs of SFS Annual Meeting travel and lodging
    • A half-day, pre-meeting orientation and professional development workshop
    • Exclusive networking activities and socials with Instars and Emerge peers and mentors during the meeting
    • Attendance at plenary sessions and a full range of special, technical, and poster sessions chosen by students
    • Opportunities for undergraduates to present their own research in general sessions with friendly review from SFS members
    • Post-meeting networking and linking to research and educational opportunities in freshwater science

    Additional information on INSTARS at the SFS Annual Meeting can be found here