The Geo-Launchpad Program (GLP) is a paid summer internship based in Boulder, CO that is open to community college students in Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming that have an interest in geoscience. Geo-Launchpad exposes students to geoscience careers, assists in professional development and communication skills, and provides an opportunity to develop research-ready skills.
No previous research experience is required!
What is geoscience? Geoscience includes atmospheric science, chemistry, earth science, engineering, environmental science, geography, geology, hydrology, physics, technology, etc.
In addition to a paid weekly stipend, GLP provides free shared housing for all program participants and travel to Boulder for participants traveling from outside of Colorado.
“As someone with an untraditional academic background, little to no STEM courses under my belt, and absolutely no idea what the scientific community was like, I was incredibly intimidated. To be frank, in the early weeks of the internship I felt an extreme sense of imposter syndrome that I considered giving into. Thankfully, under my mentor who was extremely understanding, very informative, and energetic about educating us, the negative feelings I had began to subside. Day by day, week by week, I felt more and more confident about what I was doing. By the time we began to finalize our poster and presentation, I felt -and continue to feel- very proud of the work we did this summer. This experience has made me excited for my future in the scientific field. Transferring to a university for a science degree no longer feels like a far-flung dream.” -2022 GLP intern
Research-support Project. Interns will work on a research-support project with a project mentor, often in pairs. Students are provided office space and any required computing resources and supplies.
Career Circles. 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 development as a student and a scientist. Past workshops included resume/CV and cover letter writing, interview practice, science poster creation, and science communication.
Mentorship. Interns will meet and interact with a broad range of peers and professionals providing multiple levels of mentorship and support during the summer program (and ideally beyond).
Local Field Trips. Interns will participate in field trips, along with other student interns, to a local area of interest. Past trips include Morrison and Colorado Springs, CO and Rocky Mountain National Park.
Final Presentation. A final presentation will take place during the final week of the program. Interns will learn to create and present a scientific poster and 5-minute lightning talk detailing their summer work.
Professional Conference. In addition to presenting at the end of the summer, interns will have the opportunity to present at a professional conference in the fall. Funding opportunities for travel are provided.
“Without Geo-Launchpad, I wouldn’t have the confidence, support, and continued drive in Earth Sciences. This summer I made lifelong memories, I met brilliant people, and was inspired to continue to work hard. With your help, I can now navigate the world of science with a little more ease, knowing there are people who want to see me succeed.” -2021 GLP intern
Spend eleven weeks working full time (~40 hours per week)
Complete a research-support project under the guidance of a project mentor
Present your results in a scientific poster presentation at the end of the internship
Participate in other intern activities, such as communications and professional development workshops, participate in field trips, present your work and local and national conferences, and any other required activities
Most projects are based in Boulder, CO, however, we strive to be flexible in work location. Some projects can be hybrid or 100% remote. If working outside of your home, a working space will be provided to you. Professional development activities take place in Boulder, CO, typically at the University of Colorado Boulder. Most of these activities can also be accessed online if working remotely.
Yes. Interns are paid a weekly stipend of $680 during the eleven-week internship + one-time transportation and completion stipends. The weekly stipend is not hourly-based, but deliverable-based. This means that as long as you are showing up to work and completing your assignments your weekly stipend will be deposited every Friday.
The EarthScope Consortium offers multiple internship opportunities at various academic levels, beginning with Geo-Launchpad at the community college level.
EarthScope’s research internships (RESESS and URISE) are targeted at upper division undergraduate students from underrepresented groups in the geosciences and serves as a research experience.
EarthScope’s Student Career Internship Program offers internships that are real-world work experiences for upper division undergraduates, graduates, and post-graduates that relate to the students’ major or career goal.
The Geo-Launchpad internship is designed for students who are early in their academic career, with no prior research experience, such as community college students.
Our internship programs utilize a third-party company for applications called Submittable. Note that you will be asked to create a Submittable account upon entering the application. This is required to complete the application and allows you to save your progress while working on the application. Please complete all required (*) fields. Note that demographic information is optional and not shared with any identifying information (including to the review panel).
All applications must be completed and submitted by the deadline of February 15, 2023 to be considered for the program. Finalists will be notified in mid-February and those who advance into the next round will be asked to submit a letter of reference. More details regarding reference letters will be shared as applicable.
Introduce Yourself: Please tell us about how you became interested in the Earth or environmental sciences. What drives your passion for Earth science?
Geo-Launchpad works to support students from community colleges on an education and career path in the geosciences. Please describe how you, your life experiences, and/or your participation in the Geo Launchpad internship program will support our mission.
Please tell us about your career and academic goals. Specifically describe how participation in this program will lead to the pursuit and fulfillment of your career and academic goals.
Interests: Please indicate which topics interest you the most in the Earth and environmental sciences. You may list as many topics as you like.
Educational background: What college-level science, technology, engineering, or mathematics courses have you completed or are you currently enrolled in?
Academic Record: Do you feel your academic record accurately reflects your abilities and potential? Why or why not? Please describe any adversity (physical, mental, educational, economic, social, or otherwise) that you have overcome in pursuing your academic goals.
Have you previously earned any college degrees? If so, how do you feel the Geo-Launchpad internship program will benefit you?
Please list any extracurricular activities (clubs, employment, volunteer work) you have participated in during the academic year.
What has made your college experience unique or unlike a stereotypical college experience?
What do you consider to be your proudest achievement? (It need not be related to science or academia).
(Optional) Please share any additional information about yourself not addressed by this application, or any concerns you have with participating in the Geo-Launchpad program.
The “getting to know you” questions can also be accessed on a separate document that is linked here. Please complete them on your own separate document and upload that document to your application.
You will need to submit a copy of your official or unofficial transcripts as part of your application. We recommend having a copy saved to your computer for easy upload when submitting your application. If you have questions at any time throughout this process or need assistance with the application, please contact email@example.com or call 303-381-7505.
Note: In order to follow federal guidance and maximize the safety of working conditions, EarthScope requires all interns and staff to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or provide documentation of an exemption for medical or religious reasons. Requests for medical or religious exemptions can be made by contacting Human Resources (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Geo-Launchpad Program is a summer internship program dedicated to introducing early academic career students to research and increasing diversity in the geosciences. This program is hosted by EarthScope Consortium and funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under Grant Nos. 2117397, 2119440 and 1724794.
Kyle Albrecht (he/they) is in the process of transferring as a rising junior from Front Range Community College to the University of Michigan. Up until the Geo-Launchpad internship, they were pursuing an associate’s degree in Art History. After taking an environmental science course, they decided that a career in the subject was right for them. Upon transfer to the University of Michigan, he will pursue a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science with hopes to go after a master’s degree in a more specific field. As a Geo-Launchpad intern, Kyle will work with Marianne Okal (an engineer at UNAVCO) and Taryn Toby (a fellow Geo-Launchpad intern) to test the accuracy and precision of GNSS receivers conducting RTK surveys.
Kristen Grayson is currently a student at Pikes Peak Community College. She will be finishing her Associates of Science Degree in Biology in this upcoming school year. She is currently in the process of deciding which university she wants to transfer to between University of Colorado Colorado Springs, University of Colorado Boulder, or Colorado School of Mines. Kristen’s major will change when she transfers to university based on the university she transfers to and what is offered at that university that interests her the most in the sciences. She is currently a full time mom of two, a 2 year old toddler and a 9 month old baby, with her third child on the way to be due in October of 2022. She is working with Western Resources Advocates this summer in their Western Water Policy department to do state policy research to update policy databases, review local conservation programs, update FAQs, and outreach with stakeholders from different water utility companies throughout Colorado.
Jamie O’Reilly (she/her) is finishing her final classes at Red Rocks Community College for her Associates of Engineering Science Degree. She is currently planning to transfer to Colorado School of Mines to pursue a Humanitarian Engineering degree with a focus in Community Development, as well as exploring Public Policy. Jamie’s personal background and life experience, in combination with her work in the Trenfy Honors program at Red Rocks, have led her to find her passion of working with marginalized communities and researching the interconnected issues of poverty and climate change. She is working with Western Resource Advocates and will be spending her internship researching how wildfires disproportionately affect different communities and determining possible policy recommendations.
Taryn Roby is a rising junior at Metropolitan State University in Denver, CO. Majoring in Environmental Science with emphasis in Water Management, her plans are to continue her education to earn a master’s degree in Hydrology. Taryn’s interest in the environmental field sparked from always having a deep appreciation and respect for the great outdoors. As a Geo-Launchpad intern, she will be working on GNSS receiver testing by carrying out surveys to determine various instrument performance parameters such as precision and accuracy. Passionate about nature and outer space, she is looking forward to exploring more pathways in the science world.
Madalyn Massey is a student at Front Range Community College, in Fort Collins, CO. Madalyn currently studies Natural Resources as a first generation college student. As a first generation student, she has studied a variety of scientific courses, such as social sciences, chemistry, environmental science and forestry. She has decided to pursue a path as a supporter of science. Madalyn values the importance of inclusion, communication and connection between public and science. With these in mind, Madalyn seeks a future where research and data is more accessible and will practice this, this summer, on her project with United States Geological Survey (USGS). As a Geo-Launchpad intern, Madalyn will research, evaluate, and compile best practices regarding the preservation of geological data. The second part of the program is the planning, and participating to conduct a series of virtual webinars. Madalyn will further develop her skills and research practices, to better herself as a student, and future scientist.
Allison Sowers is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Applied Science degree in geospatial science at Front Range Community College in Longmont, CO. Her summer internship project is centered around the importance of documenting and publishing scientific protocols for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), applying open science practices, and creating a meaningful resource for others to build upon.
Jimmy Swift is traveling to Socorro, New Mexico in the fall to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in geology at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. His Geo-Launchpad summer project involves analyzing research and development projects in order to make architectural improvements and to develop new capabilities to parts of the USGS geoscience data portfolios.
Patrick Walston is transferring as a junior to Fort Lewis College in Durango, and will be pursuing a Bachelors in Geology with a certificate in GIS for the fall semester of 2021. His work in the Geo-Launchpad program focuses on working with the USGS to research and compile best practice techniques for geologic sample data preservation which will be presented to the numerous collectives that work with the USGS.
Jonathan Bias is currently studying at Front Range Community College to obtain his Associate’s in Geography. He plans to transfer to University of Colorado Boulder where he will major in Geographic Information Systems and minor in Geology. During his time with the Geo-Launchpad internship, Jonathan was involved in the inspection and assessment of IFSAR-derived Hydrography data and standard operating procedures for the National Geospatial Technical Operations Center staff. Along with this data review, Jonathan compiled test results and recommendations to ensure accurate, up to date data is being delivered to the National Hydrography Dataset, in addition to future USGS enterprises.
Celeste was born in Denver, Colorado and has lived in Highlands Ranch almost her entire life. She has a passion for travel and for learning new things. She graduated from Arapahoe Community College in 2020 with an Associate of Arts degree and is currently attending the University of Colorado Denver for a Master’s in Creative Writing and Literature. Celeste is also very passionate about the environment and environmental sciences, and it is this passion that led her to join UNAVCO’s Geo-Launchpad summer internship program. Although her dream is to be a published/best-selling poet, she is dedicated to learning as much as she can about how she can help to save the environment. For this internship, she worked on USGS’s TNMCorps project, editing and updating various map points of man-made structures across the United States, such as hospitals, post offices, schools, and fire stations, in order to provide accurate and authoritative spatial map data for The National Map.
Sean Vogel was born in Nashville, TN and joined the U.S. Air Force in 2012. After a six-year enlistment, he moved to Colorado to be closer to family. He currently attends Front Range Community College and is finishing an Associate of Science degree, with plans to transfer to C.U. Boulder to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering. Sean is interested in building better community-used structures and roads to leave a more efficient and productive society for future generations. As an intern, Sean worked with USGS to edit, update, and maintain accurate spatial map data for their web-based project: The National Map.
Maeve Wilder lived all over the U.S. before finally settling in Colorado and realizing her interest in Earth Sciences. She just graduated from Red Rocks Community College with an Associates of Geography and is planning on getting a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science from Fort Lewis College. Her other interests include skiing, art, and playing cello. Over the summer Maeve is working with the USGS to test training processes and the standard operating procedure for their Alaskan Elevation-derived Hydrography project. The results of her feedback will inform the training process for future data reviewers on the project.
Lily came from Taiwan when she was nine years old and currently lives in Boulder, CO. After graduating from CU Boulder with an art degree, she wanted to find her style as an artist and continued to take art classes in Chinese calligraphy and classical painting. These classes helped her realize science inspires her artwork. So she took a class at Front Range Community College on meteorology and is now continuing her journey in science. As a GLP intern, Lily enjoyed the summer interning at Droplet Measurement Technologies learning about the instruments and created a process to improve their lean manufacturing practices.
Alex Cohen is currently studying at Red Rocks Community College in Lakewood, CO for her A.S in biology. She plans to transfer to CU Boulder to obtain an undergraduate degree in evolutionary biology and ecology. She enjoys travelling the world and researching coral reefs. During the Geo-Launchpad internship, Alex was working with USGS to assess published USGS approved publications for reproducibility factors. The goal of this project was to demonstrate how open access for scientific publications has changed in USGS, since several policies were enacted in 2016.
Jackson Galloway was a participant in the Geo-Launchpad internship program at UNAVCO and spent the summer working with the US Geological Survey in digitizing and managing data archives in their Antarctic collections. Jackson recently transferred to CU-Boulder, where he plans to obtain a degree in Global Environmental Affairs. He would like to utilize a strong background in earth sciences to better enable economic development and quality of life improvements for marginalized populations around the world by integrating improvements in agriculture and land management, education, and renewable energy access.
Kaely Harris is a participant in the 2019, Geo-Launchpad Internship hosted by UNAVCO in Boulder, Colorado. She is a former student of Front Range Community College and will be transferring to Colorado State University Fall 2019 to earn a degree in Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation with a concentration in Wildlife Biology. She aspires to use her education and training to work as a wildlife researcher for state and private institutions. Kaely participated in the project titled, ‘Analysis of State Avian Species of Greatest Conservation Need within North American Flyways’, and learned to use data management tools and technology to analyze data on avian species in the region.
Project Mentor: Abby Benson, Daniel Wieferich, Steve Aulenbach (USGS)
Daniel Kelly was a participant in the Geo-Launchpad program at UNAVCO. His project involved data entry and synthesization at USGS. Daniel graduated from Front Range Community College in Fort Collins in May and now plans to finish his undergraduate degree at CSU in the fall. Daniel enjoys slacklining with his friends, riding his bike and attending food truck rallies.
Shannon O’Neill is a recent graduate of Front Range Community College with an Associate’s of Science. In fall 2019, they are transferring to CU Boulder to pursue a Bachelor’s degree of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. They are passionate about making science education more accessible and engaging the public in the scientific process. This summer, Shannon worked at the U.S. Geological Survey on a project to help geoscientists improve the reproducibility of their published results.
Santiago Cuevas is currently studying geology at Arapahoe Community College with plans to transfer to the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2019. Santiago’s interest in the geosciences began at a young age. With the guidance of many amazing teachers, his interest became a passion. After taking geology and astronomy classes in high school, Santiago found an interest in planetary geology. He hopes to graduate with a master’s in geology with plans to study planetary geologic processes. During the Geo-Launchpad program, Santiago helped digitize historic photographs and field records of the United States Geological Survey Library. Santiago’s ultimate goal is to someday become an astronaut doing geologic work for NASA.
Grace Donovan is a student at Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU) pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. Before recently transferring to MSU, she completed two years at Front Range Community College. Grace originally planned on pursing a degree in International Relations. However, after taking an Introduction to Environmental Science course, changed her academic track completely. During her internship with UNAVCO, she worked at the US Geological Survey within the Core Science Analytics and Synthesis & Libraries program. Her project focused on linking data on protected rivers and streams to the National Hydrography Dataset, enabling in-depth research, discovery, and the development of resource management tools.
Alexandrea (Alex) Hurtado is a 3rd year student at Front Range Community College (Larimer Campus) pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Geography. Alex has had former experience with outreach, working as the Visibility Coordinator for the Climate Reality Project Campus Corps at Colorado State University in 2016. Through this experience, Alex gained a sense of stewardship for the land and was interested in furthering her education on the physical sciences to better understand the systems she hopes to protect. The Geo-Launchpad internship was a firsthand experience of the research side of science and exposed Alex to data management tools such as Python, QGIS, and Google Earth Pro. Alex worked with her mentor, Daniel Wieferich, at the U.S. Geological Survey on a project that linked the National Hydrography Dataset Plus Version 2 to the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. This linkage will provide a better understanding of the hydrologic network in the lower 48 to provide insight for improved future and effective designations.
Katie Gallagher is currently pursuing an A.S. at Front Range Community College, with plans of pursuing a bachelor’s in Environmental Science. During the Geo-Launchpad Program Katie digitized the United States Geological Survey’s (USGS) extensive collections of historic photography and scientific field records to preserve materials and make them more accessible online to researchers and the public. Katie’s dream is to help create a process of sustainable agricultural that can feed the growing population while still being environmentally conscious.
Dylan Blanchard is presently studying geography at Front Range Community College, with plans to transfer to the University of Northern Colorado in 2018. Through a chance encounter on his campus, Dylan met a former Geo-Launchpad intern who piqued his interest in the geosciences. Dylan’s project at UNAVCO consisted of learning to assemble and use a 3D printer, ultimately creating a “how to” guide for the conversion of LIDAR data to a printable file.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in geography from the University of Texas, Elizabeth (Liz) Etzel worked in the outdoors on trail crews, as an environmental educator, and as a natural resources technician. Liz decided to get back into her original interests in geography by going back to school at Front Range Community College to pursue a Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) Certificate. While part of the Geo-Launchpad program at UNAVCO, Liz worked on a project to map out shorelines of the Western Interior Seaway for the Core Research Center at USGS. She hopes to work as a GIS analyst helping people answer questions about how things relate spatially and eventually undertake a graduate program that incorporates her interests in botany and remote sensing.
Jessica Ghent is currently pursuing an A.S. in geology at Front Range Community College, and intends to transfer to the University of Colorado Boulder for geophysics. She hopes to one day attain a Ph.D. and work for the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program. Her passion for geosciences, and volcanoes in particular, stems from her childhood love of the best disaster film ever made, Dante’s Peak, and from her travels to Iceland and Costa Rica. As a Geo-Launchpad intern, Jess worked for the USGS, georeferencing fossil localities to complete collection databases for the Smithsonian.
Brandon Lucas is currently a student of geography and GIS at Front Range Community College with plans to transfer to CU Boulder to study atmospheric and oceanic science. Brandon’s a passionate geoscientist who hopes to better the world and society using science and GIS. At UNAVCO, he trained in obtaining Structure from Motion with drones (UAV’s). Outside of scientific endeavors, he loves spending time with his dogs, cat, and fiancé, as well as writing, making, and watching horror movies, and playing in his band, The Dead Side.
Amye R. Pedrino, 2017 UNAVCO Geo-Launchpad intern, is a physics major at CU Boulder. Amye was pursuing a degree in social work when she became suddenly and deeply interested in geosciences after taking geology and astronomy courses at Front Range Community College (Larimer campus). During the Geo-Launchpad program, Amye helped construct a mineral showcase at the United States Geological Survey Core Research Center (USGS-CRC) to promote public awareness concerning Rare Earth Elements (REE’s) and their importance to the national security of the United States. Amye plans to apply her multidisciplinary experiences towards contributing advancements in our global society.
Beth Schaeffer is a native of Denver, Colorado and is currently attending the Community College of Denver for an AS with a geology concentration. When she “grows up” she would like to travel the world, monitoring volcanic and other geologic processes. Her passions include geology, geophysics, geomorphology, volcanology, cartography, GIS, Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones), camping, hiking, and spending time with her husband and young daughter. Her time at UNAVCO was spent using drones and structure from motion to map geologic change.
Jodi Schoonover is currently a sophomore at Front Range Community College and transferring to CU Boulder in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in geology. Her passion for geology began while hiking the Colorado Trail and was further fostered by geology courses she attended. During her internship with UNAVCO, she worked on the 3D Printing Team to construct a 3D printer, write “how to” manuals for the printer, and aid in its application in field support and outreach.
Billy Jack Traversie started college at the young age of 35, previously having no intentions of going back to school let alone pursuing higher education. After Billy worked in couple different industries, he started to see the value in an education. When he went back to school, Billy was interested in a degree to take back to the pharmaceutical industry. While taking Geography as an elective at the Community College of Aurora he quickly realized he had a passion for the subject. Billy is currently enrolled at Metropolitan State University of Denver for Physical Geography. Billy’s role for the Internship was to build a mineral display case and to research on (REE’s) or Rare Earth Elements for the (USGS) United States Geological Survey.
Kelly has been interested in the weather and climate even as a small child, but fell in love with many aspects of Atmospheric Science after taking a General Meteorology class. Through her studies she has found great interest in how the atmosphere, earth and oceans interact. She worked on the Polar team in the Geo-Launchpad program, and studied how many of the Earth’s processes are tracked using the different methods of GPS.
Laura has a B.S. in Geology from Northern Arizona University and is currently earning a GIS certification from Front Range Community College. She became fascinated with geology as a teenager after reading a wall map that displayed the global plate boundaries along with volcanic and earthquake prone zones. She enjoyed working with Arc/GIS during her capstone as an undergraduate and is looking forward to combining her two interests as she enters the work force in her new career.
Bradley Norman is a geology major from Longmont, CO who found his passion for geoscience camping and hiking around the country, and watching Star Trek. As a Geo-Launchpad intern at UNAVCO Bradley gained field experience working with GPS equipment and supporting UNAVCO scientists performing research in Antarctica. His work over the summer included using GPS at St. Mary’s Glacier to measure snowpack to determine how the glacier is changing over time.
Alex Olsen-Mikitowicz is currently pursuing a degree in Watershed Science at Colorado State University. Alex recently separated from the U.S. Air Force where he developed a passion for service after participating in humanitarian aid missions. He plans to further this interest by focusing his knowledge and talents on assisting third world communities facing water based challenges.
Project: Range and precision accuracy of Terrestrial Laser Scanners
About Dana Downs
Dana has long loved both science and art and found the perfect balance of the two in geology. Her previous social science background and her experiences as a lab assistant and geology club president at Austin Community College have inspired her to work toward becoming a professor at a two-year institution. She will continue that journey this fall at the University of Texas in Austin.
Project: Applications and utilization of UNAVCO GPS equipment for Polar research support
About Alexis Ho-Liu
Alexis’ devotion to community service has taken him all over the world, where his multicultural background as an Asian Hispanic born and raised in Puerto Rico has helped him connect with people everywhere he works. This passion for community service led him to study geography and geoscience at Syracuse University with an interest in teaching and using geospatial analysis to identify and assess natural hazards and needs around the globe.
Faculty Mentors: Joshua Villalobos and Debra Caskey
Project: Applications and utilization of UNAVCO GPS equipment for Polar research support
About Nicole Ingraham
Nicole is a geology major from El Paso, Texas, who plans on transferring to a university once she completes her associate’s degree at El Paso Community College. She is passionate about Earth science and enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, swimming, climbing, and collecting rocks.
Project: Range and precision accuracy of Terrestrial Laser Scanners
About Jessica Whiteaker
Jessica is a geology major at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She became interested in geology from her grandfather’s love of the Earth and from collecting rocks together. Her current interests are geophysics and seismology.
Interested in learning more about what Geo-Launchpad interns do?