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RESESS Interns Take on the Challenge of Research

Written by Val Sloan
9 November 2012


Imagine doing a summer research project and submitting an abstract to a national meeting in just over two months. This past summer, 17 college students converged in Boulder, Colorado to participate in the RESESS internship and take on this challenge. These interns come from all over the country, including Georgia, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, South Dakota, Maryland, and Puerto Rico. Working with a mentor at the University of Colorado, USGS, or UNAVCO, interns conducted a wide range of research including projects such as using GPS to measure the collapse of a volcanic dome, earthquake events to constrain the thickness of the Earth’s crust, and soil chemistry to assess the impacts of forest fires on soils.

Doing a discrete research project in ten weeks is no easy feat. With the support of mentors and RESESS peers and staff, interns worked through the stages of research and participated in a weekly Writing Workshop. By summer’s end, the interns gave remarkable presentations in a colloquium and poster session. Most submitted an abstract to a national science meeting such as AGU, GSA, or other conference, and one has been awarded the prize for Best Student Paper at the National Association of Black Geoscientists 2012 Annual Meeting.

Technical Training Opportunities

Some interns took advantage of opportunities at UNAVCO to be trained on the Terrestrial Laser Scanner (TLS), and mapped the surface of a Colorado rock glacier and a glacial till in Italy. Others learned technical skills in chemistry, mineralogy, computer modeling, and GIS while working on their own research.

Exploring Colorado’s Geology

Interns had the chance to explore the amazing geology of Colorado on RESESS field trips to local canyons with PreCambrian through Cenozoic rocks, and to mountaintops with views that tell stories of landscape evolution. CU Boulder faculty and graduate students from the Dept. of Geological Sciences led a spectacular and fascinating overnight geology field trip that the interns enjoyed.

What do RESESS interns think about the experience?

Fernando Martínez talks about his experience as a RESESS intern. Watch on YouTube [35 sec.]

I really appreciated that RESESS worked so hard to find a project in my interest area. I think that's really important, even if it just teaches you that you might want to work in a different field than you initially thought. Having the opportunity to do research in your field of interest is one of the most beneficial aspects of RESESS." – Kayla Christian (2012)

"It encouraged me to embrace and understand how much hard work goes into graduate school - it's not a walk in the park. I think the most I took from it is that you’ve really got to work hard. – Jordan Allen (2011, 2012)

"I would definitely recommend it to other students, because this program just has so much here to help you. They want you to succeed." - Christine Chesley (2011, 2012)

"I think the best way for a student to become more self confident is to have them give presentations like we do and make sure to give lots of positive comments back to them." - Jenn Lente (2011, 2012)


We thank the National Science Foundation and UNAVCO for support, the USGS, the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder, SOARS and UCAR, and several universities for their participation in this program, and our beloved mentors for dedicating a tremendous amount of time and effort to the students.

Learn more at the RESESS web page!


Last modified: 2020-02-03  20:49:07  America/Denver