SOARE at UMD! Summer Opportunities in Agricultural Research and the Environment (SOARE)


The Summer Opportunities in Agricultural and the Environment (SOARE) is a partnership between the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (AGNR), The Big Ten Alliance Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), and The UMD Graduate School. SOARE is a gateway to graduate education. The goal of the program is to increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing graduate study and research careers in agricultural, environmental, nutrition and food science, and natural resource areas of study. SOARE provides underrepresented undergraduate students with on-campus research experience to establish important relationships with faculty in their respective fields of study and to conduct graduate-level research under the supervision of a renowned AGNR faculty member. 

Students participating in the SOARE will spend ten weeks at UMD working closely with AGNR faculty members as part of their research teams. Students are expected to spend about forty hours per week working with their research teams and to be contributing members. Participants will attend weekly seminars to learn more about the graduate school experience, the graduate school application process as well as social activities during their stay.  At the end of the ten-week period, students will have produced tangible results from experimental research and will report the results in a special research forum. Participants will also become acquainted with the culture of graduate school and learn what is needed and expected of them as graduate students in their respective disciplines.

Program Dates

Sunday, May 23- Friday, July 30. The program runs 10 weeks, from May 23- July 30, 2021.  Students are required to begin mandatory orientation on Sunday, May 23. All participants must be available for the entire 10 weeks.  No program leave will be permitted.

Stipend & Financial Support

The typical stipend ranges from $3,300-$6000.  *All travel, room, board, excursions to Baltimore and Washington DC, and fees are paid by AGNR. We try to accommodate as best we can in arranging travel from the most convenient airport, train/bus depot, etc. to Washington Regan National or Baltimore's Thurgood Marshall Airports or Union Station.  Typically, flights and other travel will be covered fully (up to $500 USD).  For those participants who plan to drive their own vehicle (not for drop-offs), mileage is reimbursed at the rate of approximately $0.58/mile.

*2021 SOARE is a virtual program.  No travel or housing expenses will be provided.



  • Provide rising juniors and rising seniors an opportunity to learn about graduate studies and the range of research and scholarship at the University of Maryland
  • Providing laboratory experiences that enhances basic research knowledge and skills
  • Providing lectures, workshops, didactic exchanges and other programming to enhance students' knowledge of the graduate application process, negotiating the academic rigors and professional and personal challenges encountered in graduate school, and developing career paths
  • Provide mentoring and networking opportunities for students to advance their training
  • Increase the knowledge of, and interest in, doctoral-level training in the agricultural, natural resources, and environmental sciences
  • Increase the number of underrepresented students pursuing graduate study, research careers and the professoriate


Group housing will be provided on campus.*  All participants must live in provided housing.  

*2021 SOARE is a virtual research internship.  Participants will not live on campus and housing will not be provided.

Participating Academic Departments

  • Agricultural and Resource Economics

  • Animal & Avian Sciences, Genetic and Cell Biology

  • Animal & Avian Sciences, Reproduction & Development

  • Animal & Avian Sciences, Nutrient Utilization and Metabolism

  • Animal & Avian Sciences, Pathobiology and Infectious Diseases

  • Comparative Biomedical Sciences (VMSC)

  • Environmental Science and Technology, Soil and Watershed Sciences

  • Environmental Science and Technology, Ecological Technology Design

  • Environmental Science and Technology, Wetland Science

  • Environmental Science and Technology, Ecosystem Health & Natural Resource Management

  • Entomology

  • Food Science

  • Landscape Architecture

  • Nutritional Science

  • Plant Biology, Agronomy

  • Plant Biology, Cell Biology

  • Plant Biology, Molecular Physiology

  • Plant Biology, Molecular Physiology

  • Plant Biology, Pathology

  • Plant Biology, Ecosystems Management

  • Infectious and Zoonotic Diseases

  • Cell Biology

  • Poultry Health Management

  • Immunology

Participant Eligibility

Applicants must meet ALL of the following requirements

  • Be enrolled full-time at an accredited four-year institution of higher education
  • Have junior or senior status by Fall 2021
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Have an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale
  • Major in agricultural, environmental, natural resources, food science, nutritional science, or related STEM field
  • Have a career goal that includes graduate-level education
  • Demonstrate an interest in pursuing graduate study in agricultural, environmental, natural resources, food science, nutritional science, or related STEM field
  • Have a STEM background and have completed one of each: chemistry, biology, and calculus course
  • Be enrolled in at least one semester of undergraduate study upon completion of the SOARE.
  • Be available for the entire period of the program. 

Application Requirements

All applicants must submit a personal statement and a supplemental essay.  Applicants are encouraged to identify one or more AGNR faculty members with whom they are interested in working and explain why they would like to work with them. Learn more about AGNR graduate programs and faculty.

  • Personal statementYou must address the following statements: 600-700 word length; double-spaced, 12 font.
    • Tell us about your academic and graduate education experience to date.
    • Describe your academic and career aspirations?
    • What are your research interests? Include the specific field of interest you will pursue in graduate school, your career goals as a scientist and explain why you desire to participate in SOARE.
    • Describe how might SOARE help you reach your educational and career goals
    • Applicants are encouraged to identify two or more AGNR faculty members whose research experiences align with their interests and explain why they would like to work with them (see available faculty members in the list of participating departments).
  • Supplemental essay. You must address the following statements: 600-700 word length, double-spaced; 12 font.
    • Discuss how you will contribute to the diversity of the community of SOARE scholars given this program is designed for students who are underrepresented in academia and their disciplines in graduate studies, including but not limited to those who come from educational, cultural, or geographic background that is underrepresented in graduate study in the United States of at UM.
    • Specifically, address how you meet one or more of the following:
      • Come from an educational, cultural, or geographic background that is underrepresented in graduate study in your discipline
      • Have demonstrated a commitment to diversity in the academic, professional, or civic realm through your work experience, volunteerism, and leadership or community organizations.
      • How do you plan to contribute to enhancing diversity in the agricultural sciences and in your career through your research, teaching, service, or other activities?
  • Current résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) 
  • PDF version of your unofficial transcript reflecting all earned undergraduate credits and grades through December 2020.  If you have attended multiple colleges or universities, submit copies of transcripts from each institution. All applicants will be required to submit their most recent transcript before admission to SOARE.
  • Two Letters of recommendation from faculty members (send to
  • Photograph (for the opening program). Must send upon request.
  • Completed application & supplemental materials due February 10, 2021. 

APPLY HERE! Deadline February 10, 2021. DEADLINE EXTENDED to February 20. Email to submit an application after February 10.

SOARE Application 

The SOARE application is offered in conjunction with the Big Ten Academic Alliance's Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) and is a two-part application process. 

Step 1. Applicants must first complete the common/shared BTAA SROP application.  Applicants interested in the UMD AGNR SOARE must be sure to select "The University of Maryland" as one of the top three institutions that they are considering for graduate study.

Step 2. After applicants have completed the common/shared BTAA SROP application, in order to specifically apply for the AGNR SOARE, applicants must also answer supplemental questions through the UMD SROP Supplemental Application.

The application for the 2020 SOARE will be available from November 1, 2020, to February 10, 2021 (letters of recommendation must be received no later than February 10, 2021). Applications will be reviewed February – March 2020 and selection announcements will be made beginning in April 2021.


For technical problems or questions about the Big Ten Academic Alliance (BTAA) common application, please contact the BTAA SROP Coordinator at