About the NSF REU Fiji Program


FAQS for Students:

What is an REU?

The National Science Foundation has developed a REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) grant competition that provides funding to universities that create opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds to participate in “hands-on” scientific research.  The NSF Fiji REU involves anthropological research in archaeology and cultural anthropology in Fiji. Dr. Sharyn Jones is the program director for this grant. Funds and resources are provided for students to participate in this field school.

Do I have to be an Anthropology Student to Participate in the Field School?

No.  The NSF REU is administered through Northern Kentucky University, but undergraduate students enrolled in any U.S. college or university are eligible to apply. Previous coursework in anthropology is not a requirement for acceptance to the program, but experience in anthropology courses and an expression of a clear interest in studying anthropology, the past, and diverse cultures is an necessity.

How will students be selected?

Students will be selected based on a combination of factors. Students will need to provide academic transcripts, but GPA is not the most important factor—I am looking for hardworking, adaptable, and creative individuals who are eager to gain a hands-on experience in science and to learn about a foreign culture. It is essential for students to put aside their American-ness in order to engage in effective participant observation and learn about Fijian culture and the ethnographic process while in the field.

Can I Receive Course Credit?

Yes.  Students who would like to receive course credit for their participation in the field school have the option of enrolling in a variety of courses for credit through the Anthropology Program at NKU.

How Long is the Field School?

Generally, the program runs for nine weeks.

The fieldschool will begin with a one-week orientation to the research program and Fijian culture history (at NKU), followed by six weeks of research in Fiji, and finally, two weeks of laboratory work, analysis, interpretation, and public presentations of the projects in the Greater Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky area. All student participants will begin the program at NKU, travel to Fiji as a group and then return to NKU to complete the course and their individual research projects. Past projects have run from June-July, and include 9 weeks in total.

What Are the Living Conditions Like in Fiji?

The living and working conditions in Fiji will be like “camp” conditions.  We will be sleeping next to each other in extremely close quarters with virtually NO privacy. Accommodations will include huts, tents, or concrete buildings and will NOT have access to electricity, running water, formal showers, telephones, or the internet.  It is important that students who apply for the program fully understand that they must be in mental and physical condition for 5 weeks of camping-like conditions and working in the hot climate of Fiji. Once the team arrives at our research destination there will be no opportunities to leave the island early, except in emergency medical situations.

What Will Students Do Each Day in Fiji?

Students will be trained in standard anthropological field methods while in the field (archaeological, ethnographic, or both). Everyone will work together to conduct research. Students will be instructed in ethnographic techniques and the skills required to study in this intimate community setting. Participant observation will include engaging in everyday village and household activities, including cooking, cleaning, collecting fire-wood, feeding livestock, fishing, and other mundane domestic tasks. Ethnoarchaeological techniques and archaeological skills may also be taught (depending on the year and current project focus). Some material and data will be analyzed in a laboratory at the NKU. Students will be taught to record scientific data, keep field journals, make blogs and web-based media, and analyze and interpret data.

What Will Students Do After the Fieldwork in Fiji?

Every student will take part in post-field laboratory and other work at at NKU after fieldwork in Fiji. Students will also participate in public outreach activities in the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region and conduct specific research projects based on their field experiences. This part of the course will generally last two weeks. Students are expected to make public and academic presentations of their field research projects.



This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1156479 to Dr. Sharyn Jones. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.