Conducting summer undergraduate research during the COVID19 Pandemic

Date

06/15/20
SUROP Fellows and mentors meet multiple times each week over Zoom to discuss science approaches and career development. Captured in this photo from SUROP Week 2, graduate student mentors Robby Goldman, Yan Zhan, Jon Golla, Jack Albright, and Katie Ortega

 

The COVID19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation that has had wide reaching impacts on our campus community. Summer plans have been dashed for many of our Geology undergraduate students as internships and summer research experiences have been cancelled. Our undergrads rely on summer months to gain important career development and hands-on training. Unfortunately, the typical summer opportunities are not available this year due to the global shutdown we are experiencing. 

As the situation began to unfold this spring, we started to look for alternatives for our undergrads – ways that they could gain critical skills and employment for the summer months. Given the excellent faculty and resources in our department, we wondered whether a summer research program could be developed for our students and delivered completely online. With this motivation, Professors Trish Gregg and Cristi Proistosescu developed the online Summer Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (SUROP). The goal of SUROP is to provide critical research and professional development that our undergraduate students may not be able to gain this summer due to the COVID19 shutdown. Geology faculty and graduate students quickly jumped on board, providing excellent project ideas and volunteering to serve as mentors to our SUROP fellows.

Thanks to generous gifts from Geology Department Alumni, SUROP is able to provide a $2500 stipend for each of the SUROP Fellows. These outstanding undergrads range from rising sophomores to rising seniors. Over the course of the six-week SUROP, the Fellows will conduct a variety of research projects, which will culminate in a public, virtual symposium on Friday, July 10th at 1 p.m. CDT via Zoom. Further details about how to register to attend the SUROP Virtual Symposium will be provided in the coming weeks.

Meet our SUROP Fellows:
Marjean Cone
Rising Senior
Project Title: A petrologic investigation of gabbros, diorites and granites from Torres del Paine (Chile)” 
Mentors: Katie Ortega (Ph.D. Student) and Prof. Craig Lundstrom

Brooke Dykstra
Rising Senior
Project Title: Promoting flank eruptions due to basal slide at Kīlauea Volcano, Hawai’i
Mentors: Robby Goldman (Ph.D. Student), Dr. Yan Zhan, and Prof. Trish Gregg

Garrett Frank
Rising Junior
Project Title: Drainage network development in the Glaciated Central Lowlands
Mentor: Prof. Allison Anders

Lily Lucas
Rising Sophomore
Project Title: The impact of ice sheet withdrawal on the stability of magma systems
Mentors: Jack Albright (Ph.D. Student), Dr. Yan Zhan, and Prof. Trish Gregg

Alexandra Mandybur
Rising Senior
Project Title: A petrologic investigation of minerals from the Ol Doinyo Lengai carbonatite volcano
Mentor: Prof. Craig Lundstrom

Richard Ross
Rising Senior
Project Title: A petrologic investigation of plagiogranite genesis from the Troodos ophiolite
Mentors: Chris Campe (M.S. Student) and Prof. Craig Lundstrom

Jinyu Wang
Rising Senior
Project Title: Examining the deep pyrite oxidation front in the Critical Zone
Mentors: Jon Golla (Ph.D. Student) and Prof. Jenny Druhan

Rishi Chandra
Rising Senior
Project Title: Investigations of Lunar impact craters
Mentors: Dr. Mike Zanetti (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center) and Prof. Trish Gregg
    *Rishi is supported by a College of LAS Undergraduate Research Scholarship

 

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