2012 IRIS Workshop

IRIS' Undergraduate Internship Program Celebrates its 15th Year and Offers New Opportunities for Community Involvement!

Michael Hubenthal: IRIS, John Taber: IRIS, Rick Aster: New Mexico Tech

Alumni career paths post IRIS internship. From 1998 to 2010 the IRIS Undergraduate Internship Program facilitated opportunities for 99 undergraduates to work with leaders in seismological research, conduct fieldwork, and produce high quality research products. Solid lines indicate pathways, labeled with the number of interns who completed that pathway. Boxes indicate the number of interns in that stage of their career (e.g. 32 interns completed undergrad degrees and enrolled into a PhD program).

Full-resolution graphics file in original format: 0077.tiff

Since 1998 the IRIS Undergraduate Internship Program has provided research experiences for up to 15 students each summer. Through this 9 - 11 week internship program, students take part in an intensive week-long preparatory course, and work with leaders in seismological research, in both lab-base and field-based settings, to produce research products worthy of presentation and recognition at large professional conferences. The IRIS internship program employs a distributed REU model that has been demonstrated to bond students into a cohort, and maintain group cohesion despite conducting their research at geographically distributed sites. Some elements of this model include an emphasis on the acquisition and analysis of seismic data to help address broader Earth science questions, an orientation week to build the cohort through shared experiences, a cyberinfrastructure to nourish group cohesion while enabling peer-learning and collaboration, the opportunity to reconnect face-to-face and become integrated into the alumni network, and an annual Alumni Mentor to provide experienced, consistent support throughout the each summer. Now in its 15th year, this mature program finds its alumni employed primarily as research or teaching faculty, and staff geophysicists/geologists at petroleum environmental engineering firms, and the USGS. Program alumni have given plenary talks at the IRIS Annual Workshop, won NSF early career awards, and for the first time, program alumni will formally serve as science mentors for interns in 2012! We have come full circle. The success of the program has been a direct result of the active involvement of IRIS Consortium members. Volunteers regularly serve on the applicant review committee and instruct at the annual orientation week. Most importantly IRIS researchers apply each summer to mentor our highly qualified interns at their home institution. In addition, some of the student funding that has allowed us to expand the number of interns w

Acknoweldgements: IRIS's Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is funded through support from the National Science Foundation and Noble Energy.

Keywords: education, undergraduate, internship, seismology

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