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John Clemmons, a middle-aged man who is a firefighter, Ethan Parsons and Rose Njoroge stand in front of the side of a red fire truck. John is in khaki shorts and an orange T-shirt. The firefighter is wearing khaki shorts and a purple shirt. Ethan is wearing a purple tie-dye shirt and light jeans. Rose is wearing a tan T-shirt and jeans.
John Clemmons, Ethan Parsons and Rose Njoroge partnered with public safety officials including a firefighter from the community of Friendship, Oklahoma, (second from left) during their 2023 Rural Scholar internships. (Photo provided by the OSU Rural Renewal Initiative)

OSU welcomes students for new rural research internship

Friday, May 10, 2024

Media Contact: Gail Ellis | Editorial Communications Coordinator | 405-744-9152 |

The Oklahoma State University Rural Renewal Initiative has selected participants for the new Research and Extension Experience for Undergraduates Scholars Program.

The REEU program was developed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and address pressing challenges in rural communities.

The 11-week summer internship allows students to live in rural Oklahoma communities and collaborate with mentors on research and service projects that tackle rural issues and identify research-based solutions.

The REEU program includes a comprehensive week-long training session in May, introducing students to community capital framework, rural community development, and research methods.

The following students were recruited nationwide and will join communities across Oklahoma to begin their internships the week of May 20.

  • Colin Caso, University of Oklahoma, Altus, Oklahoma: Trends in groundwater quality in Oklahoma wells
  • Delia Crawford, Oklahoma State University, Frederick, Oklahoma: Promote renewable energy technologies for sustainable agriculture
  • Madeline Drake, Kansas State University, Sallisaw, Oklahoma: Reducing out-migration through youth-adult partnerships
  • Diana Garcia, Northern Oklahoma College, Sallisaw, Oklahoma: A practical roadmap to improving treatment for diabetes and understanding of the disease in rural communities
  • Maya Miller, Tuskegee University, Mangum, Oklahoma: Identify factors contributing to the loss of rural veterinarians
  • Tania Peebles, Tuskegee University, Frederick, Oklahoma, and Cayden Pittman, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater: Fostering shared identity through the understanding of the rural narrative
  • Kristian Pouncil, Oklahoma State University, Boley, Oklahoma: Support and empowerment for Black farmers
  • Jake Schreiner, Oklahoma State University, Frederick, Oklahoma: Promote Renewable Energy Technologies for Sustainable Agriculture

Miller hopes to become a veterinarian and applied for REEU because of its involvement in research and agriculture.

“I would like my research to help solve the shortage of rural veterinarians,” Miller said. “I would also like to uncover and solve some of the adversity rural veterinarians face today.”

Drake learned about the REEU program from her advisor and is excited to discover new adventures and what Oklahoma can offer her.

“I decided to pursue this program because I am passionate about connecting with people and building strong communities,” Drake said. “I wanted a non-traditional agricultural communications role where I can help others.”

The REEU Scholars program is an extension of OSU’s original Rural Scholars internship experience. Learn more about the summer research planned by the 2024 Rural Scholars.

REEU participants will present their research findings in October at the Rural Renewal Symposium at Lake Murray Lodge.

Story By: Laney Reasner |

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