The University of Minnesota has been granted an NSF award to support the continuation of the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site for geosciences in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Since 1998, the 10 week UMN summer intern program in the Dept. of Geology and Geophysics has focused on research concerning geological fluids from surface and near-surface systems to the mantle to the core. Fourteen undergraduate students from diverse background will be recruited nationally each year. The students will investigate topics with the common theme of fluids in the Earth. They will be involved in various research activities, including the impacts of human activities on groundwater quality, limnogeology research on lakes to understand regional environmental dynamics, evaluation of the chemical and mechanical effects of fluids in metamorphic and igneous systems, seismic detection of fluids and melts in Earth's mantle, the effect of melt on deformation of mantle rocks, and numerical hands-on experience with mantle convection and core dynamics using scientific visualization, and more. The program features many attributes that foster a cohort experience. In particular, interns participate in a weekly series of lectures given by participating faculty and in symposia in which they explain their projects and results to each other and to members of the department. The program evaluates the impact of this REU on interns' perception of the nature of science through weekly journals and case study responses. Longer term impact on their career paths will be assessed through exit and longitudinal questionnaires. In addition, they are exposed to disciplines outside their summer research and by participating in field trips to Midwestern sites (caves, glacial lake/river features, mid-continent rift lavas, deep underground observatories). An important goal of the internship program is to integrate the interns into the research environment of the Dept. of Geology and Geophysics, allowing interactions with faculty, post-docs, and graduate students in the various research groups of the department. The program also fosters a sense of community among the summer students as they interact with future Earth science colleagues and friends. Interns live in university housing with contiguous room assignments and shared cooking facilities and the program includes weekend activities such as picnics, boating on Lake Superior, and camping trips. Program activities emphasize the connections and commonality of research carried out in diverse research fields.
REU Site: Fluids in the Earth from Surface to Core