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2020 UNAVCO Internships Go Remote!


  • UNAVCO Staff:
    Education and Community Engagement (ECE); Geodetic Data Services (GDS)
  • Dates: May 18 - July 31, 2020
  • Location(s): Remote/Online
  • Funding Sources: NSF EAR-1724794; NSF ICER-1540524

Written by Andria P Ellis
05 June 2020


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and ‘safer-at-home’ directives, we successfully launched UNAVCO’s three internships to a remote platform with 11 weeks of virtual programming. All student interns are participating in their internship programs from their home locations.

Supporting Diversity and Inclusion with Internships

UNAVCO has a long history of leading in and running student internship programs with a focus on increasing diversity and broadening participation in the Earth sciences. We currently host three summer internships, each with a different focus: Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS), Geo-Launchpad, and the UNAVCO Summer Internship Program (USIP).

We are confident that our remote internship programming will provide new insights and development to the National Science Foundation’s inclusion and diversity mission by fundamentally ensuring that programming is accessible to a wider audience than previously achievable due to location and physical limitations.

2020 Summer UNAVCO Interns

This year (2020) 12 students are participating in three programs: Geo-Launchpad (four interns from community colleges), RESESS (six interns drawn from a national pool of students underrepresented in geoscience), and the UNAVCO Student Internship Program (two graduate-student interns). By offering the full length of our programs (11 weeks) on a remote platform, we are keeping our promises of education, career advancement, monetary compensation, and community connection to our interns.

We are looking forward to an exciting and productive summer!

Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students (RESESS)

RESESS is dedicated to increasing the diversity of students entering the geosciences by providing upper-level undergraduate students with real-world research experiences throughout the summer.

Meet the 2020 RESESS Interns

We are pleased to welcome six first-year interns to the 16th RESESS cohort:

  • Jae Bridges
    Oregon State University
  • Zulliet Cabrera Gomez
    State University of New York at Oneonta
  • Keneni Godana
    University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Makayla Mather
    University of North Dakota
  • Benjamin Miller
    Tufts University
  • Mario Velazquez
    California State University at Chico
  • Remote Professional Development for Our Interns

    In addition to their project work, interns are actively participating in a robust suite of professional development (PD) courses that occur weekly, including technical writing workshops, Geoscience Career Circles, and Communications Seminars focused on soft skill development. Each PD module is delivered synchronously online. The RESESS writing workshop is led by Dr. Seth Myers from University of Colorado-Boulder, the all-intern Communications Seminar is led by UNAVCO ECE staff, and guest speakers from around the country provide their pathways and perspectives through our Geoscience Career Circles.

Geo-Launchpad

Geo-Launchpad helps community college students from Colorado and New Mexico develop research-ready skills. Similar to recent years, we have partnered with the United States Geological Survey at the Denver Federal Center in Lakewood, Colorado to develop engaging projects for these interns. The program provides support in creating a career path in science, engineering, or technology and is dedicated to increasing the diversity of students entering the geosciences.

Meet the 2020 Geo-Launchpad Interns

We are pleased to welcome four new interns to the 6th Geo-Launchpad cohort:

  • Jonathan Bias
    Front Range Community College - Westminster Campus
  • Celeste Briefs
    Arapahoe Community College
  • Sean Vogel
    Front Range Community College - Westminster Campus
  • Maeve Wilder
    Red Rocks Community College

UNAVCO Summer Internship Program (USIP)

USIP internships are real-world work experiences for upper-division undergraduates and graduate students. USIP interns are integral members of the UNAVCO team and play an important role by contributing their knowledge, skills, and abilities to specific staff projects, directly contributing to UNAVCO and the community we serve. This year’s interns are graduate students working with UNAVCO staff members on the Geodetic Data Services team.

Meet the 2020 USIP Interns

We are pleased to welcome two interns to the 2020 USIP cohort:

  • Cassie Hanagan
    University of Arizona
  • Sara Mirzaee
    University of Miami

Remote Internship Program Evaluation

We are also having our 2020 remote internships externally evaluated. The external evaluation will focus on students’ professional, social, and mentorship outcomes from the remote internship experience. Previous data from the in-person internships will be used for comparative purposes to discern differences in students’ and mentors’ experiences and outcomes between the traditional in-person internship and the remote internship.

Our Dedicated Mentors!

All of our internship programs benefit from countless hours and immeasurable efforts of volunteer project mentors. Moving to a remote platform, all of our mentors have gone above-and-beyond to accommodate this unique virtual experience for our interns this summer. They have each shown tremendous adaptability, innovation, and dedication to student growth in successfully transforming their projects to accommodate an online-only format.

We appreciate all of our mentors’ eagerness and generosity in supporting our programs!

2020 RESESS Project Mentors:

  • Dr. Ellen Alexander
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Dr. Cailey Condit
    University of Washington at Seattle
  • Michael Frothingham
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Dr. Kevin Mahan
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Dr. Vera Schulte-Pelkum
    University of Colorado at Boulder

2020 Geo-Launchpad Project Mentors:

  • Erin Korris
    United States Geological Survey
  • Amanda Lowe
    United States Geological Survey
  • Charles Matthys
    United States Geological Survey

2020 USIP Project Mentors:

  • Dr. Dave Mencin
    UNAVCO Inc.
  • Dr. Scott Baker
    UNAVCO Inc.

Additionally, RESESS utilizes graduate student Communication Mentors as an additional layer of near-peer mentoring to help the RESESS interns refine their research manuscripts and other written communication deliverables. This year, we’ve invited three of our RESESS intern alumni to mentor pairs of the 2020 RESESS cohort. By connecting the interns with RESESS alumni, our aim is to instill a larger sense of community among this year's cohort even though we aren’t in-person together.

2020 RESESS Communication Mentors:

  • Joel Johnson
    University of Colorado at Boulder; RESESS Intern in 2018
  • Zachary Little
    North Carolina State University; RESESS Intern in 2017 & 2018
  • Theron Sowers
    California State University at Sacramento; RESESS Intern in 2017

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Last modified: 2020-06-05  19:59:58  America/Denver