Undergraduate biology Research Experience

The FOCUSS program is an NSF-funded initiative of San Juan College and Fort Lewis College. Its goal is to increase the number of SJC students who continue their STEM education at four-year colleges and to increase the number of students who graduate from FLC with STEM degrees (Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geology, Math, and Physics).

Through the FOCUSS Scholars program, SJC and FLC students are paid to do research with SJC and/or FLC faculty members during the summer. For the 6 week program, students receive $12 an hour for a total of $2,880.

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Projects in several STEM disciplines are possible. Students may choose to perform their research on the San Juan College or Fort Lewis College campuses. For descriptions and pictures of past summer research projects, click here.

  • Most projects require 6 weeks of work, 8:00a - 4:00pm, Monday through Friday. (Work schedules for field-based projects may differ depending upon the type of research being performed.)
  • San Juan College students working at the Fort Lewis Campus in Durango may be housed on campus during their project or receive a stipend for commuting costs. Interested students should ask for more details.
  • At the end of the research experience, students present their projects at mandatory poster presentations to the San Juan College and Fort Lewis communities.


  • San Juan College students who are seeking a degree in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geology, Math, or Physics.
  • Fort Lewis College freshmen and sophomores (fewer than 60 credit hours completed at the end of fall semester) intending to major in Biology, Chemistry, Engineering, Geology, Math, or Physics.

To Apply

Submit a completed application form and unofficial transcript to the School of Math, Science, and Engineering.


For more information, please call Dr. Callie Vanderbilt at 505-566-3080. Or send an email to