GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 155-10
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:30 PM


GOSSARD, Trey M., School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, PO Box 876004, Tempe, AZ 85287-6004, COLLELA, Harmony V., Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley, UC Berkeley Seismological Laboratory, 307 McCone Hall #4760, Berkeley, CA 94720-4760, HUBENTHAL, Michael, IRIS Consortium, 1200 New York Ave. NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20005 and SEMKEN, Steven, School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, PO Box 871404, Tempe, AZ 85287-1404,

For the geoscience community to continue to grow, students need to be attracted to the field. Here we examine the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) to understand how their experience affects their interest in geoscience and their educational and career goals. 11 interns over 2 years (2013-2014) were interviewed prior to the start of their internship, after their internship, and after presenting their research at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting. This is of particular interest because many of the interns come into the REU with different backgrounds (e.g., physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering). Both a priori and emergent codes are used to convert interview transcripts into quantitative data, which is analyzed alongside demographic information to understand how the REU influences their decisions. Relationships between the intern and their mentor and with the other interns, how they rated their experience, and enjoyment of their internship are expressed as primary factors that help shape their future educational and career goals. Other factors such as networking opportunities and connections during the REU also can play a role in their decision. Overall the REU solidified the decision to pursue a major in geosciences for interns who started the internship as geoscience majors and encouraged non-geoscience majors to explore opportunities in the field.