2020 GeoCUR Award for Excellence in Student Research

In 2020, CUR’s Geosciences Division presented the GeoCUR Award for Excellence in Student Research. Please review the citations from the nominators (2020 Award Citations) and join us in congratulating our student awardees for their work and recognition!


Posted in Announcements, GeoCUR Bytes, Student Award

GeoCUR Early Career Distinguished Mentor Award

The Geosciences Division of the Council on Undergraduate Research has established an annual award to recognize faculty, scientists, and educators engaging in original and successful mentoring of undergraduate research activities who demonstrate dedication to the scholarly success of their students.

Award Citation

The Geoscience Division of the Council of Undergraduate Research (GeoCUR) recognizes the critical work of developing best practices in undergraduate research. This awards highlights individuals that place undergraduate research at the center of professional activities. GeoCUR annually recognizes individuals who are initiating creative, impactful, and/or innovative undergraduate research activities.


All Geoscientists involved in the mentoring of undergraduate research and/or who are developing new undergraduate research programs or opportunities. This award intends to recognize those in the earlier stages of integrating undergraduate student research into their career research program. Generally, nominees for this award fit into one or more of these categories:

  • Mentoring UG for 10 years or fewer
  • Recently transitioned to undergraduate research
  • Not more than 10 years since Masters or PhD
  • Pre-tenure

Evidence of best practice undergraduate research includes, but is not limited to:

  • Expanding research opportunities to reach new communities or groups to foster inclusive excellence
  • Establishing pathways and programs to engage a wider target audience for UG experiences
  • Incorporating research activities into the classroom and service learning
  • Developing leadership in the undergraduate research enterprise
  • Student-mentor collaborations culminating in student presentation or publication opportunities
  • Publishing studies on teaching and learning effectiveness in undergraduate research

Candidates need not to meet all of these criteria and may achieve the spirit of the award through other activities. The awardees will be recognized with a brief citation and certificate from the Geoscience division of the National Council for Undergraduate research as well as on the GeoCUR website.

Application Process

Nomination (including self-nominations) materials: (1) A one-page detailed narrative from the nominee explaining how they meet the criteria of the award and up to five-page CV that is focused on interactions with students. (2) Three letters of support, one from a student research participant, one from someone who can comment on the nominee’s professional role (e.g. from someone within the nominees’ institution, department, program, professional organization), and a third at the discretion of the application.

Send completed nomination packet to: GeoCURMentor@gmail.com. Questions and inquiries can be addressed to Erin Kraal (kraal@kutztown.edu) or Dan Brabander (dbraband@wellesley.edu).
Applications are accepted beginning December 1 and are due January 15th. Awardees will be selected and notified by early March.

Applications from a range of individuals and institutional settings are encouraged. GeoCUR recognizes that exemplar mentorship can take in settings ranging from community colleges/2YCC, primarily undergraduate institutions, research universities, national laboratories, and industrial partnerships. The Geoscience Division of CUR represents a wide range of disciplines and this award follows the AGI definition of geoscience (geology, hydrology, planetary science, marine science/oceanography, atmospheric and space science, climate science, geochemistry, petrology, paleontology, environmental science and related fields).

Posted in GeoCUR Bytes

2019 GeoCUR Award for Excellence in Student Research

In 2019, CUR’s Geosciences Division presented the GeoCUR Award for Excellence in Student Research. Please review the citations from the nominators (PDF) and join us in congratulating our sixth group of student awardees in the history of this award!

Award certificate

Posted in GeoCUR Bytes, Mentor Award

2018 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

The 8th recipient of the GeoCUR Undergraduate Research Mentor Award is Colin Laroque, Colin-Laroque-150X200a professor in the Department of Soil Science in the School of Environment and Sustainability at the University of Saskatchewan.  He is an interdisciplinary scientist, with a specialty in using dendrochronology to understand past climates and an outstanding prolific undergraduate research mentor. Laroque fosters, and sustains undergraduate research through curiosity-driven experiential learning, leading to publication and ColinLaroquepresentation.  He engages and mentors many students through programs like his course-based First year Research Experiences (FYRE), integration of research into his undergraduate classes and extensive participation of students as researchers in his MAD (Mistik Askiwin Dendrochronology) Lab.

See the University of Saskatchewan press release here.

Posted in GeoCUR Bytes

2017 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

The seventh recipient of the GeoCUR Undergraduate Research Mentor Award is Earth and Environmental Science class with Brannon AndersenBrannon Andersen from the Earth and Environmental Sciences at Furman University.  The Award recognizes his longstanding excellence in and commitment to ‘teaching through research’ by embedding research in the curriculum, his collaborative work across disciplines that has provided significant research experiences to more than 300 undergraduates, and his leadership in promoting and embodying the ideal for undergraduate research.

See the Furman University Press Release here.

Posted in GeoCUR Bytes

Councilor – Ginny Peterson

GP irelandGinny Peterson is a Professor and former Head of the Geology Department at Grand Valley State University.  She has served as a GeoCUR Councilor for many years and is currently serving as Division Chair.

“My own experience as an undergraduate researcher was transformative for me and I greatly enjoy and value the opportunity to serve in the role of mentor/collaborator to undergraduate scientists. Throughout my academic career I have been persistent in mentoring dozens of undergraduate research students in both collaborative (REU) and individual projects. Both my students and I benefit significantly from doing science together and it has served to enhance my passion as an educator and scientist. I have been a faculty member at two different Primarily Undergraduate Institutions and recently served 6 years as the head of the Geology Department at GVSU.  I have taken a leadership role at both institutions in departmental curricular revision, with an aim to better integrate development of research skills across the curriculum.  In addition to my work with CUR, I currently serve as a facilitator for the NAGT Traveling Workshop Program; facilitating department level discussions, action planning and assessment.  I have also served as external evaluator for other geosciences departments.”

Posted in GeoCUR Bytes

Councilor – David Szymanski

Dave Szymanski is an associate professor of geology and Chair of the Department of Natural and Applied Sciences at Bentley
University. He’s been a CUR member since 2012 and became a GeoCUR councilor in 2018.

“I work mainly with undergraduate business students and I teach sustainability at the intersection of earth science, policy, and business. As a geologist and chemist, I understand the power of research as a tool for teaching science. But more importantly, research provides a way of knowing that’s required to make good decisions in politics, policy, and business. No single discipline has all the answers and the research process humbles you quickly if you think otherwise. Undergraduate teaches the skills of inquiry and discovery, but it also develops skills that serve students in any career and it prepares them for citizenship. I joined CUR to become a better guide for students in this process of undergraduate research; I became a GeoCUR councilor to help my colleagues do the same.”

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@geosociety It’s that time of year again - GSA! We are here in Phoenix at the annual Geological Society of America conference. Are you here presenting your undergraduate research? Let us know! #undergraduateresearch #GSA2019 #geoscience
Incredible! #Repost @cofcnaturalhistory with @get_repost ・・・ Student volunteers and researchers revealing the past - as recently highlighted by @postandcourier! There is so much to do in order to keep CCNHM running that we rely on a small corps of student volunteers, docents, and junior scientists to maintain CCNHM as a center of natural history at @collegeofcharleston. Visitors are most familiar with our student docents - but may not be as familiar with the behind the scenes activities. Our volunteers are primarily students and retirees, and are responsible for cleaning fossils off, reassembling broken fossils, and producing mounts that keep the fossils safe during long term storage. Geology Junior Suzanne Grantham (top) is currently working on reassembling a fossil dolphin - well, it's actually two dolphins that died near eachother, and their bones became fragmented and the fragments mixed together. (...fun) We have one student researcher at present: Bailey Fallon (bottom), a junior in Biology, who is studying fossil leatherback sea turtles from the Charleston area, and has already had her first research manuscript go through peer review! Next semester Suzanne is considering joining the research team, as is another student, Nathan McCuen - they will be studying South Carolina cetaceans and mosasaurs (respectively). Read the full article here:https://www.postandcourier.com/news/shrouded-in-mystery-ancient-marine-fossils-take-shape-in-a @cofcssm @cofcgeology @cofcbiology #naturalhistory #science #studentresearch #college #scientist #juniorscientist #researchstudent #undergraduateresearch #paleo #paleontology #geology #evolution #fossils #fossil #museum #naturalhistorymuseum
#Repost @americangeophysicalunion with @get_repost ・・・ To round out women’s History Month, AGU is celebrating the geoscience discoveries and advances made by women. Here’s the second of ten: Inge Lehman discovers Earth’s inner core is solid in 1936, which helps explain how the core generates Earth’s magnetic field. #agu100 #women #womenshistorymonth#womenempowerment #geoscience #science#womeninstem #earth #discovery