San Joaquin Valley Food and Agriculture

Cyberinformatics Tools and Science (FACTs)

Bridge Program

We are offering a new, innovative summer research program to give students who are entering UC Merced (first-year, second-year, and transfer students) and students who are in the process of completing their first year (rising sophomore students) an opportunity for research experience in ag-food-tech.

The paid summer internship will provide on-campus housing, stipends, travel to field sites, and experience with a lab group.

Building a future in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley means participating in the most productive agricultural area in the world. This program will help you explore opportunities in multiple aspects of agriculture. You'll learn about agriculture generally, from production to mechanical harvesting and processing, from massive processing plants to small farm stands. You could spend your summer in a dynamic team building novel robots to improve irrigation efficiency. You could monitor greenhouse gas releases and address climate change through improving soil quality. Or you could learn about social science methods to support improved public and environmental health. Pick your top two mentors when you apply and you'll receive experience in the fields of your interest.

Through the program you will gain research experience, build a network with fellow interns, lab mates, and faculty members. You'll connect with the agricultural industry, exploring potential internships and employment in the future. Even if you don't picture yourself in ag, you might be surprised at the diversity of opportunities.

Applications are open!

Due May 15th, 2024 at 11:59PM PST


As a FACTS undergraduate researcher, you will receive:

  • a paid 6-week summer internship before you enter UC Merced
  • Free on-campus housing (following appropriate COVID-19 precautions)
  • Mentoring from Ag-Food-Tech faculty, graduate students and your lab team
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring
  • Life skills training and tactics to succeed in school,
  • Experiences to add to your resume
  • Exposure to agricultural career opportunities
  • and more!

UC Merced professors want you to join their lab. Review the faculty-mentors below and include them in your application. We will do our best to match you to the lab or focus of your choice.

UC Merced Ag-Food-Tech Faculty Mentors and Areas of Research:
Research Focus Faculty Member
Agroecology & Food Production Rebecca Ryals
Gerardo C. Diaz
Tapan Pathak
Nutrition & Food Security Rudy Ortiz
Digital Agriculture & Spatial Analysis Joshua Viers
Erin Hestir
Mechatronics & Embedded Systems YangQuan Chen
Jian-Qiao Sun
Environmental & Agricultural Economics Josue MedellĂ­n-Azuara
Lisa Yeo
Soil Biogeochemistry, Microbiome, & Remediation Teamrat Ghezzehei
Asmeret Asefaw Berhe
Integrated Pest Management Andrea Joyce
Robotics & Machine Learning Reza Ehsani
Xiaoyi Lu
Life Cycle Assessment Colleen Naughton
Hydrology & Water Management Safeeq Khan
Tom Harmon
Peggy O'Day


  • Six week program and will conclude the week before fall semester begins.
  • The program is approximately 40 hours per week of training, field trips, and research experience over the six weeks period.
  • You will receive a stipend of approximately $2100 but a final amount will be given in an offer letter if selected in addition to an on-campus room and meal plan.

  • Further Questions?

    Contact Professor Colleen Naughton

    This work is supported by the Undergraduate Research and Extension Experiential Learning Fellowships, grant no. 2020-69018-30661, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture.