Geo-Launchpad is a paid eleven-week paid summer internship program based in Boulder, CO that is open to all Colorado and New Mexico community college students with an interest in geoscience. Geoscience includes atmospheric science, chemistry, earth science, engineering, environmental science, geography, geology, hydrology, technology, etc. This is a pre-REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) program that exposed students to geoscience careers, assisted in professional development and communication skills, and provided an opportunity to develop research-ready skills.
Interns will work full time on a collaborative research-support project under the guidance of technical staff. Professional development activities and communication workshops take place throughout the summer, as well as Geoscience Career Circles that offer students the opportunity to meet and participate in an informal discussion with a geoscience professional. Interns present their project as a scientific poster at an end-of-summer poster symposium along with other interns from local programs. Interns also have the opportunity to present their poster at a regional or national professional conference.
Webinar #1: What to expect this summer in the Geo-Launchpad program. This webinar will focus on the program and outline what the interns can expect prior to and just after arriving in Boulder.
Webinar #2: Project descriptions and Q&A with former Geo-Launchpad interns. This webinar provides an opportunity to talk to other students who have participated in the program.
Research-support Project. Interns will work collaboratively on a research-support project with a project manager. Students are provided office space and any required computing resources and supplies.
Geoscience Career Circle. Interns have a unique opportunity to meet informally with professionals from different sectors of the geoscience workforce. Guest speakers will discuss their career trajectory including their academics, any challenges they’ve faced, and offer advice. Interns are encouraged to ask as many questions as they like.
Professional Development Workshops. The purpose of the workshops is to explore non-academic communications as a student and a scientist. Past workshops included resume/CV and cover letter writing, interview practice, technical writing, science poster creation, and conflict resolution.
Mentorship. Build and maintain a mentor relationship with a faculty mentor from your home institution. A faculty mentor is a faculty member from your school who can provide support to you before, during, and after the internship program. They must also travel to Boulder to attend your poster session during the last week of the program.
Local Field Trips. Interns will participate in field trips, along with RESESS and USIP interns, to a local area of interest. Past trips include Morrison, CO, Colorado Springs, CO, and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Community Poster Symposium. Geo-Launchpad interns will present a poster detailing their summer work along with several Boulder-based intern groups at the annual poster session held locally in Boulder. This event takes place during the final week of the program.
Professional Conference. In addition to presenting at the community poster symposium, interns will have the opportunity to present at a professional conference in the fall. Funding is provided for travel if necessary.
Fall Mentor Meeting. Meet with faculty mentor to discuss career paths, research opportunities on campus, and other ways to stay connected to the scientific community. Submit a write-up to Geo-Launchpad during the following fall semester.
How to apply
2021 Summer Program Dates: May 24 – August 6
Applications for Summer 2021 are now closed. Applications for Summer 2022 will open in December 2021 and close February 1, 2022.
A successful candidate will:
- Be enrolled in a community college in Colorado or New Mexico with plans to transfer to a 4-year university
- Have a cumulative GPA of 2.5 or higher
- Currently enrolled or have completed college algebra (minimum grade of B)
- Currently enrolled or have completed at least one additional course in geology, physical geography, hydrology, environmental sciences, physics, math, geophysics or engineering (minimum grade of B)
- Have a faculty mentor from their home institution willing to support them before, during, and after the internship. See the faculty mentor page for more information
- Be interested in career paths involving science, technology, or engineering
- Have U.S. citizenship or permanent residence status
- Have read and understand the internship requirements including traveling to Boulder, Colorado for the summer.
The application has 10 steps, each with several questions, some of which are not relevant to the program. Please carefully read the following prior to starting your application. Once the application is started, you will not be able to save your progress.
**Do not upload a resume or CV. When prompted, select “Proceed without resume/CV.”**
- Step 1: fill in required contact information
- Step 2: select ‘Intern’ for both ‘Current Job Type’ and ‘Desired Job Type’. Leave all other responses blank.
- Step 3: only answer first question to state you are authorized to work in the U.S.
- Step 4-5: answer relevant and required questions
- Step 6: do not upload a resume or cover letter. Instead, please upload PDFs of all of your college transcripts (unofficial copies are accepted). One single PDF is preferred.
- Step 7: Geo-Launchpad Applicant Questions – Please prepare your responses prior to starting your application (500 word limit).
- Introduce yourself and tell us how you first became interested in science or engineering.
- Tell us about your career goals. What scientific or engineering topics most interest you in terms of a future career?
- Please describe how you have helped someone in your family or community learn about or understand science or engineering.
- Name, city, and state of current educational institution (all eligible applicants must attend community college in Colorado or New Mexico).
- The name and email address of your faculty mentor.
- Your expected graduation date.
- Step 8: Not applicable
- Step 9: Equal Employment Opportunity
- Step 10: Voluntary Self-Identification
- Step 11: Review and Submit
Note: Applicants who do not meet the internship requirements will not be reviewed.
If you have questions or are unable to complete the application online, please contact geolaunchpadunavco.org or call 303-381-7500. The Geo-Launchpad Internship is a summer internship program dedicated to exposing early academic career students to research and increasing diversity in the geosciences. This program is hosted by UNAVCO, Inc., in Boulder, Colorado and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).
Frequently Asked Questions
Faculty Mentor Information
It is important that Geo-Launchpad interns have a strong and supportive relationship with a faculty member from their home institution in order to ensure they continue on a path to a career in science or technology. Therefore, we ask that students apply with a faculty mentor who will provide support before, during, and after the internship.
Why be a mentor?
There are many benefits for faculty members who mentor undergraduates. Mentoring provides an opportunity for you to have the greatest impact on a student, yet most faculty members are constrained by other academic commitments and the importance of student mentoring is not emphasized at their institutions. By being a mentor through Geo-Launchpad, you are provided with training, support, and a stipend to help you with your mentoring efforts. Most mentors report personal satisfaction and fulfillment, are often creatively inspired by their mentees, have increased networking due to their involvement with students, are motivated to stay current in their field, and mentoring relationships often result in lifelong friendships (Johnson, 2007).
What do faculty mentors do?
- Complete the letter of recommendation (below) for the student as part of their application
- Regularly communicate with the intern about their project throughout the summer
- Travel to Boulder, CO during the last week of the program to attend the interns’ final poster session (note that travel costs to Boulder will be provided)
- Following the program in the fall semester, you will need to have one official meeting with your student during which you discuss career paths, opportunities on campus, and how to stay connected to the scientific community (the student will submit a summary of this meeting to Geo-Launchpad, and then you will receive a stipend for your efforts)
- Although it is not required for the program, we encourage you to meet with your student regularly throughout the year
Faculty mentors receive:
- Mentor resources
- Geoscience career resources
- Travel expenses to Boulder for student program final presentations
- Stipend for post-summer support
- Experience guiding students into STEM academic pathways and careers
How does mentoring benefit undergraduates?
Students with a close mentoring relationship have a number of documented benefits including: academic achievement such as higher GPAs and completing more credit hours, higher likelihood of graduation, enhanced professional skill development, better networking, more likely to secure initial employment, higher income levels and promotion rates, and many more (Johnson, 2007).
Full reference: Johnson, W. Brad. On being a mentor: A guide for higher education faculty. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers, 2007.
Find the Faculty Mentor Letter of Recommendation submission page here.
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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1724794