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Student measuring treee

Welcome to the HERO Program

The Human-Environment Regional Observatory (HERO) program is a unique undergraduate-graduate-faculty experience that engages in research on human-environment relationships in Massachusetts. Starting in the summer, HERO Fellows conduct hands-on research under the mentorship of Clark University faculty. Over two decades, the program has sponsored 135 undergraduate HERO Fellows and a number of graduate students; received almost $2.5 million in research funding, much of it from the National Science Foundation; and generated approximately 45 book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. The program currently is sponsored by the John T. O’Connor ’78 Fund.

Why be a HERO?

HERO Fellows analyze the causes and consequences of global environmental changes at local scales in faculty-led research projects. Each fellow is paired with a Clark faculty mentor and other researchers on the HERO team. Fellows learn how to use various research methods such as geographic information science (GIS), remote sensing, geostatistical modeling, interviews, and focus groups.

  • Unique hands-on research experience working with graduate students and faculty
  • Opportunities for publications, presentations, honors, and awards
  • Stipend for eight weeks of research, plus academic credit in the following year
  • Funding for attendance to present research at Association of American Geographers (AAG) annual scholarly meetings
HERO fellows walking through Chicopee with local community members

How to Apply

A fellowship through the HERO program gives you the opportunity to perform field work, capture real data, and present at stakeholder meetings.

Student presenting place-making assessment research

Current and Past Research

HERO fellows have researched tree replanting, dynamic land change, climate change, and other areas to explore their impact environmentally and socially.

Applications for summer 2022 will be accepted starting in December 2021

HERO Research News

HERO researchers study how trees keep things cool

HERO fellows examine temperature data in Holyoke, Fall River, and Chelsea

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Clark HERO program celebrates a big milestone

Hands-on initiatives let students apply research muscle to local challenges

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HERO fellows work for tree-deprived communities

Environmental initiative partners students with Mass. Gateways Cities

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Affiliated Programs

Graduate School of Geography

Faculty and graduate students from the the Graduate School of Geography work closely with HERO Fellows as they learn different research methods.

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George Perkins Marsh Institute

The George Perkins Marsh Institute’s partnership with HERO is dedicated to research around humans’ relationship with the environment.

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Contact Information

HERO Program