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:

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”

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.

Posted in GeoCUR Bytes

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

Deadline to submit is November 6th, 2015

Visit the following website for full details:

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

Posted in Announcements

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:

Posted in Announcements

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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2014 Undergraduate Research Mentor Award

maclaughlinThe fourth recipient of the GeoCUR Undergraduate Research Mentor Award is Mary MacLaughlin, from Montana Tech of The University of Montana. View the award citation (PDF file coming soon) and listen to an interview with the awardee (hit the “play” arrow below the image).

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AGU 2014 – Student poster sessions and faculty workshop

The following sessions were co-sponsored by GeoCUR for undergraduate student presenters:

Workshop: Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR): Getting Started in Undergraduate Research Workshop for New, Future, and Current Faculty (description)

GeoCUR co-sponsor for session: Undergraduate Research With Students at Two-Year Colleges (description)


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Posted in AGU Conference

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