2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 11:25 AM


GOETZ, Staci, Department of Geology, Central Michigan Univ, 314 Brooks Hall, Mount Pleasant, MI 48859, HAM, Nelson R., Department of Geology, St. Norbert College, 100 Grant Street, DePere, WI 54115 and STRASSER, Jeffrey C., Augustana College, 639 38th St, Rock Island, IL 61201-2296, goetz1sl@cmich.edu

A site REU was initiated in 1998 at the Matanuska Glacier, south-central Alaska, and has operated every summer through 2004. Five or six students from institutions across the country are chosen to participate each year. Participants spend six weeks each summer researching modern processes that operate at the glacier's margin, as well as analyzing glacial deposits. Our program has directly supported the research of 38 undergraduate students and has indirectly supported the research of several undergraduate and graduate students through their use of the site facilities and equipment.

A primary role of our program is to provide a research opportunity for which undergraduates may choose to earn credit. About 95% of participants in our program utilize the results of their research project for senior thesis or independent-study credit. The remaining students have used the experience to receive credits that count toward field-experience requirements within their degree programs. A secondary role of our program has been to enhance participants' baccalaureate education through both scientific and personal-growth opportunities. To encourage students' scientific development, the PIs and participants co-design individual research projects based on factors such as faculty-identified projects, the student's interests and existing skills, available field and laboratory equipment, and the safety of field areas. To encourage students' personal development, a unique living situation and a challenging work environment are provided in the field. The REU experience culminates at the end of the following academic year when students submit a final report to the project co-directors; also students present their research, typically at a sectional meeting of the Geological Society of America.

As a measure of our success, ~90% of participants from the most recent three years of the program are finishing their undergraduate degree, attending graduate school, or working as a professional in the geosciences. Based on our experiences, we provide tested and effective suggestions for geoscience educators seeking to assist students who are designing their research problems, determining methods of study, or completing their analyses (on-site or upon their return home). In addition, we summarize “good mentoring” practices by faculty.