2015 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award – Mark Wilson

Mark A. WilsonThe fifth recipient of the GeoCUR Undergraduate Research Mentor Award is Mark Wilson, Lewis M. and Marian Senter Nixon Professor of Natural Sciences and Geology at The College of Wooster. Listen to an interview with the awardee (hit the “play” arrow below the image).

Read the press release from the College of Wooster.

The photos below were taken by Krista Herbstrith (NAGT) at the NAGT/GSA GeoEd/CUR Awards Luncheon at the GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, November 3, 2015. The group photo has pictured (left to right) Laura Guertin, co-chair of Mentor Award Committee, Mark Wilson, Lee Phillips, chair of GeoCUR Division.

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AGU Signs Agreement with Council on Undergraduate Research

From AGU website (January 7, 2016)  —  In furtherance of their shared goals to build and sustain the global science talent pool,the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). The MOU outlines the organizations’ commitment to promoting undergraduate research opportunities, enhancing diversity in the geosciences, and supporting the geoscience talent pool.

“From helping us to understand how and why natural hazards threaten our families and homes, to adaptation and mitigation strategies for the growing impacts of climate change, we know that Earth and space science research plays an important role in public health and well being and the competitiveness of our economy,” said AGU executive director/CEO Christine McEntee. “That’s why it’s so important that we develop and support a steady and diverse pipeline of creative and knowledgeable students who are well-prepared to meet society’s demands for scientific knowledge. It’s also why AGU is so pleased to be able to partner with a respected and knowledgeable organization like CUR as we work to advance this important goal.”

“The initiative is in line with the strategic goals of CUR, not only to expand and retain undergraduate research opportunities, but to do so in a way that diversity is sought and achieved,” said Elizabeth Ambos, CUR’s Executive Officer.  “I am thrilled about the opportunities that this relationship will represent to the members of the two organizations.”

“We are excited about partnering with the AGU to promote undergraduate education in the geosciences through engagement in research skills development and applied research opportunities. Our combined efforts will help promote the offerings of each organization, which should broaden the pathways to careers in the geoscience community,” stated Lee Phillips, CUR Geoscience Division Chair. “The AGU’s virtual poster showcase will, no doubt, help broaden participation in research by providing many more students the opportunity to present the results of their inquiry without the added expense of travel.  As we all know, presentation of one’s research has tremendous potential to be an incredibly transformative experience for aspiring scholars.”

The collaboration will focus on developing and growing programs and initiatives designed to strengthen research opportunities in the Earth and space sciences at the undergraduate level, as well as expanding such research opportunities at two-year colleges. This will include a particular focus on enhancing diversity in the undergraduate geoscience talent pool, as well as creating opportunities for these students to present their work to the broader scientific community, and beyond.


See also EOS article, “AGU Signs Agreement with Council on Undergraduate Research

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AGU Town Hall on Discovery-Based Research Experiences

Members of the Geoscience Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) are leading a Town Hall session at the upcoming American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting in San Francisco titled National Academy of Sciences Convocation Report: Integrating Discovery-Based Research Experiences into the Undergraduate STEM Curriculum.

Integrating Discovery Based Research convocation report coverNew possibilities and challenges to providing and scaling up opportunities for large numbers of undergraduates to engage in discovery-based research and related activities reflect the evidence base and current systemic infrastructure of higher education. The National Research Council hosted a Convocation in May 2015 on this very topic, inspired by the 2012 PCAST report “Engage to Excel,” which urged the STEM education community and funding agencies to “advocate and provide support for replacing standard laboratory courses with discovery-based research courses.” Panelists Laura Guertin (member of Convocation organizing committee and GeoCUR Council), Jeffrey Ryan (GeoCUR Council and Convocation participant), and Pranoti Asher (Geo CUR member and Convocation participant, representing AGU) will speak to the Convocation report and explore critical issues on student benefits, required institutional changes, and managing costs/benefits.

Copies of the Convocation report will be available at the Town Hall for attendees. In addition, the report can be ordered online or downloaded for free from: http://www.nap.edu/catalog/21851.

The Town Hall is being held on Wednesday, December 16, 2015, from 12:30PM to 1:30PM, in Moscone West 2009. Questions about the report and session may be directed to Laura Guertin (guertin “at” psu.edu).

For those unable to attend the Town Hall, a poster on the same topic will be presented on Monday morning (8AM to Noon), December 14, in Moscone South Poster Hall, Booth 851. The poster can be viewed online.

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AGI hosts 2015 “Life as a Geoscientist” Photo Contest

AGI is looking for any and all geoscience images featuring our internships, research, or geoscience work as a whole. Photos can be entered into three different categories: Outdoor Lab, Indoor Lab, and Data Visualization. AGI wants our best photos showing what geoscience work and research looks like and why we love being a geoscientist. Submitting epic photos allows participants the opportunity to win prizes!

All submitted materials should be sent to workforce1@americangeosciences.org

Deadline to submit is November 6th, 2015

Visit the following website for full details: http://www.americangeosciences.org/workforce/life-geoscientist-photo-contest

A high-resolution flyer (same as the one shown below) can be downloaded from here.

Screen Shot 2015-09-19 at 8.06.25 PM

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GeoCUR signs on to AGI’s Disability Consensus Statement

Disability Consensus Statement

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) statement on access and inclusion of geoscientists living with disabilities, written as a community document in 2015, serves to increase awareness of the challenges we face and the responsibilities we have as a community, and provides examples of ethical practices toward this group of individuals.  A list of AGI’s membership societies who have agreed to formally support this statement is provided and includes the Geoscience Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research (GeoCUR).  A downloadable PDF is available online. This is the first step, of many, on our collective journey to providing full access and promoting inclusion of geoscientists with disabilities into our academic programs and workforce.

To read the full statement online, visit: http://www.americangeosciences.org/community/disability-consensus-statement

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Councilor – Jennifer Wenner

jenwennerJennifer Wenner is a Professor of Geology at University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with expertise in igneous petrology/geochemistry and geoscience education.  She has been a councilor since 2013.

“Undergraduate research is one of the most important and rewarding parts of my job.  I have mentored more than 2 dozen students in the 15 years I have been at Oshkosh.  There is nothing more satisfying than watching a student blossom during the pursuit of a research project. I love to watch the evolution of an idea, through the development of a project and into fruition of presenting results and conclusions. I gain so much from the work I do with undergraduate students, not just the science but they keep me young and excited about the work I do.  My experience as an undergraduate researcher has informed my work with undergraduates, but the way I deal with research has evolved – I try very hard to help students learn what it means to be a researcher in the geosciences and meet them where they are at the moment. Many of them develop into autonomous researchers – procuring funding and learning analytical skills. I can’t imagine my job without the amazing time I spend mentoring students.”

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2015 GeoCUR Award for Excellence in Student Research

For the second time in 2015, CUR’s Geosciences Division presented the GeoCUR Award for Excellence in Student Research.  Please review the citations from the nominators and join us in congratulating our second group of student awardees.


Media coverage for student award winners

  • Darren Seidel, Angelo State University: Seidel Wins Student Research Award (Angelo State University News, March 20, 2015) [Darren was presented his award at the department spring picnic]
  • Angela Boney, Daytona State College: DSC Environmental Science student earns prestigious research award (Daytona State College Press Releases, April 6, 2015); Daytona State student wins national honors for beach study (The Daytona Beach News-Journal, April 13, 2015)
  • David McLennan, Indiana State University: Indiana State undergrad researcher honored with national recognition (Indiana University State Newsroom, May 5, 2015)
  • Kimberly Bowen, Penn State Brandywine: Penn State Brandywine student receives national recognition for citizen science (Penn State News, June 1, 2015)
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