2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 272-6
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM


MORRIS, Aisha R.1, CHARLEVOIX, Donna1, SHABRAM, Patrick L.2 and GROSS, M. Benjamin3, (1)Education and Community Engagement, UNAVCO, Inc, 6350 Nautilus Drive, Boulder, CO 80301, (2)Front Range Community College, Fort Collins, CO 80526, (3)UNAVCO, Boulder, CO 80301-5394, morris@unavco.org

Exposure to career opportunities in a non-profit research support facility through summer internships provides a unique perspective for students. UNAVCO, a non-profit university-governed consortium facilitating research and education in the geosciences, is well situated to expose students to and prepare students for placement in geoscience technical positions as well as advanced research opportunities. Since 1998, UNAVCO has hosted over 168 student assistants or interns in positions including accounting, engineering, education and outreach, and data services. These internships include a variety of opportunities for community college students through recent Masters graduates in three formal programs: the UNAVCO Student Internship Program (USIP), Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS), and the Geo-Launchpad (GLP) internship program. USIP interns gain real-world work experience in a professional setting, collaborate with teams toward a common mission, and contribute their knowledge, skills, and abilities to the UNAVCO community. The RESESS program, which has just completed the 11thsummer of research, provides the opportunity for upper level undergraduates to conduct authentic research with scientist mentors in the greater Boulder area.

In 2015, UNAVCO added the Geo-Launchpad internship, an NSF-funded pilot REU Site with the goal of engaging lower division undergraduate students in projects that prepare them for independent research opportunities and exposes them to career opportunities within the geosciences. In the summer of 2015, 3 two-year college students and 1 rising university sophomore worked in two pairs to support UNAVCO engineers and gain technical understanding of the role of a research support facility. During the 8-week residential summer program, interns also participated in weekly skill-building workshops and career exploration activities with local professionals. Additionally, interns participated in a weekly communications seminar designed to hone their formal and informal communication skills. This presentation will focus on the challenges and success of the UNAVCO internships with a focus on student and mentor feedback from evaluation and assessment of the programs.