This award provides renewed funding for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University. LDEO is located in Palisades, NY. The program will support ten students/year during a ten week summer research program. The intellectual focus is very broad as Lamont-Doherty has over 100 PhD level scientists, and the students have a wide range of mentors whom they can choose. Interns pursue a summer of research, interspersed with special semi-weekly lectures on topics like scientific writing, science careers, ethics, as well as research practicalities such as computing hardware/software resources, and methods for viewing/analyzing scientific data. The program ends with student-authored research poster presentations, including written abstracts and a final paper. This program is not a field-based program, but students have access to global databases and excellent computer equipment. Students will be encouraged to publish in peer-reviewed journals and participate in national conferences following the summer research program.
Project Outcomes The NSF REU Sites program supports research experiences for undergraduate students. Our students come from colleges and universities all over the United States (Table 1). Most have little previous exposure to scientific research. Many are considering scientific research as a career, but all are curious about science and scientific research. Table 1. Students supported by the REU grant who participated in the 2014 REU site. Student Name School Name Support Research Mentors Austin Hart St. Lawrence University NSF REU Sites Grant Billy D'Andrea Laura Laderman Swarthmore College NSF REU Sites Grant Tim Creyts and Colin Stark Michele Markowitz City College of San Francisco NSF REU Sites Grant Wade McGillis and Diana Hseuh Abigail Martens Illinois State University NSF REU Sites Grant Mark Anders and Sidney Hemming William Skorski Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute NSF REU Sites Grant Dallas Abbott and Cristina Recasens During the summer, our students work with a research mentor or mentors on a cutting edge scientific question in marine or earth science. A cutting edge science question is one whose answer is important and whose answer is unknown. The question can be one whose answer will contribute to the general progress of the scientific discipline. It is also a question whose answer has societal relevance (Table 2). Table 2. Student REU Research Projects 2014 and Their Societal Relevance. Student Name Scientific Question in Accessible Form Societal Relevance Austin Hart How do alkenones respond to climate change in Amsterdamøya, Svalbard? Understanding rapid climate change at high latitudes where the effects are greatest Laura Laderman What does 3D mapping of glacially sculptured bedrock in Central Park tell us about subglacial water flow? Understanding how climate change is affecting flooding and sea-level rise from glacial melting Michele Markowitz How does anthropogenic pollution and local rock type affect microbial abundance in Haitian rivers and inland waters? Understanding how local rock types can influence the spread of diseases like cholera Abigail Martens How often and how voluminously does the Yellowstone hotspot beneath the Snake River plain erupt? Understanding large volcanic eruptions with potential North America-wide effects William Skorski Can diatoms be used as proxies for abrupt events in the Hudson River estuary? Predicting flooding from hurricanes