Research Internships

About

The AGILE (AAPI in Geoscience: Inclusivity, Leadership, and Experience) Research Internship program is open to undergraduate students who would like to gain research experience in the geosciences (including the Earth, ocean, atmospheric, climate, environmental and planetary sciences). We welcome applications from students whose participation will add to the diversity of researchers in earth system science, including students from underrepresented groups, and first generation college students. Because of the goals of the NSF grant that is funding this opportunity, applicants who can articulate their personal or professional experiences supporting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) communities (including perspectives of those from multi-racial heritage) are especially encouraged.

Interns will work with geoscientists across the United States on a focused scientific problem under the close supervision of their research mentor. Research internships can take place at your home institution or at a different one. If you apply for a research project for the academic year that is not based at your home institution, the project will be done virtually (with regularly scheduled meetings with your research mentor).

Research projects can last anywhere from two to three months for a summer internship or three to six months for an academic year internship. Interns will participate in professional development activities organized by the Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Geosciences (AAPIiG) community as well as training opportunities provided by the research mentor. Awardees will receive up to $10,000 for a student stipend (for housing and other living expenses) which can help cover the cost of travel and research activities. If you are selected as an Intern, you will work with your research mentor on a budget request.

Research opportunities available to research interns can be found at the bottom of this page. We expect that most students will be matched with their preferred project based on their interest and the availability of the research mentor. Students can also submit their own research project proposals to work on a project with a mentor that they have already contacted. We highly encourage students with original research proposals to contact program coordinators two weeks before the below deadline so that we can help you design your materials.

There will be three calls for proposals for this program:

Call Announcement Deadline Program Start^ Duration
Summer 2022 Jan. 1, 2022 March 1, 2022 May 15 – June 15, 2022 8-12 weeks
AY 2022-23 April 1, 2022 July 1, 2022

After Sept. 1, 2022

and before Feb 1, 2022

3-6 months
Summer 2023 Jan. 1, 2023 March 1, 2023 May 15 – June 15, 2023 8-12 weeks

^ Program dates are flexible

Eligibility

Applicants must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate degree program at time of application, and either a US Citizen or permanent resident, or authorized to work in the USA. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the program coordinators with any concerns or questions about your eligibility. Students without research experience and/or those who are in their final year of their degree are especially encouraged to apply.

Apply

Please submit the application and supporting materials requested below using this form by the applicable due date listed in the table above. Applications will be reviewed within a month of the deadline. In the application form, applicants will be asked to review and rank (based on preference) specific fellowship opportunities. After the due date, interviews will be conducted and successful applicants will be matched to the fellowship opportunities based on interest and best fit.

Further information about the program including the application materials can be found below. Please direct any questions about the fellowship program or application process to Kimberly Lau.

Applicant Information:

  • Name
  • Your college or university
  • Email
  • Degree program
  • Current GPA
  • Unofficial transcript(s)
  • Years completed and expected graduation date

Support Materials Requested:

  1. Resume or curriculum vitae including education, employment, honors, and research experience or publications.
  2. Contact information for two references. Reference letters are not needed at this time – we will contact references directly if letters are needed. We suggest you verify with your references that they would be prepared to write a letter when contacted after the submission deadline.
  3. Responses to the following questions/prompts (500-word maximum for each):
    1. What are your academic interests and career goals?
    2. Why are you interested in research in the geosciences? We encourage you to explain how your interests connect to your academic background or previous experiences.
    3. How would this internship provide you with new opportunities?
    4. Describe your personal or professional experiences with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities or that demonstrate your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion/belonging
  4. Ranking of your top three research projects (if applicable).

Apply Here!

Opportunities for summer 2023

Examples of research projects that the fellow may be involved in:

  • Applying data science approaches to legacy IODP data: Solving cutting-edge biogeochemical cycling questions. Mentor: Professor Yige Zhang, Texas A&M University
    • The International Ocean Discovery Program has been in operation over 50 years, generated a tremendous amount of data. For example, carbonate and total organic carbon content are routine measurements onboard of the JOIDES Resolution. These data, however, are rarely compiled or used. Over the past few years we have been exploring data science approach to these legacy data, to constrain regional/global burial of organic carbon/carbonate, with the goal of addressing fundamental questions of the carbon cycle such as global organic/inorganic carbon burial, regional and global CCD changes etc. This project tailored to students can be done either remotely or in-person (with added lab components).
    • Offered in-person or virtual)
    • Located in College Station, Texas
  • TBA. Mentor: Professor Wenyuan Fan, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, UCSD
    • Please see the mentor’s research page for research interests: https://wenyuanfan.scrippsprofiles.ucsd.edu/
    • Offered in-person or virtual)
    • Located in La Jolla, California
  • TBA. Mentor: Professor Kabindra Shakya, Villanova University
    • The project is aimed to measure exposure to particulate matter and its chemical components (heavy metals) in different microenvironments around Philadelphia. The project topic can also be adjusted based on the interest of students. I will encourage the potential student to visit research webpage of my lab website: http://www.homepage.villanova.edu/kabindra.shakya
    • Offered in-person or virtual)
    • Located in Villanova, Pennsylvania
  • Quaternary explosive volcanism in the American Southwest. Mentor: Jisoo Kim, Arizona State University
    • This project can focus on post-caldera volcanism or distributed volcanic fields in the American Southwest, based on student interest. We can use some combination of petrology, physical volcanology, melt inclusion studies, and numerical methods, based on student interest.
    • Offered in-person or virtual
    • Located in Tempe, Arizona
  • Using element and isotope geochemistry to understand the co-evolution of Earth, life, and its climate. Mentor: Professor Xiao-Ming Liu, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
    • Non-traditional isotope geochemistry is an increasingly popular tool to study various processes on Earth and other planets. My research group studies geochemical systems including life, climate, and redox evolutions in Earth’s history. We use lithium and potassium isotopes to study chemical weathering and climate change over Earth’s history, and use metal concentrations in marine sedimentary rocks to study Earth’s redox evolution. This project can be conducted either remotely (focusing on data analysis) or in person (with additional hands-on lab experiences).
    • Offered in-person or virtual
    • Located in Chapel Hill (RTP), North Carolina
  • GIS investigations on sinkhole formation. Mentor: Professor Joon Heo, University of University of Texas-Permian Basin
    • Sinkholes occur where overburden on the surface collapses into karst or a void within the subsurface. The formation of sinkholes is usually unforeseen and can create catastrophic losses of life and property, hence the term “hidden threat” is designed to describe this phenomenon. Accounting for both the natural and anthropogenic sources of sinkhole formation is vital to understanding sinkhole formation and expansion. This research investigates environmental changes in conjunction with human activities with the goal of correlating the two in relation to the Wink Sink area. Historical changes in land use, precipitation, and temperature were analyzed to develop a comprehensive explanation behind the continual expansion of the existing Wink Sinks and currently developing sinkholes in the surrounding area.

      The main purpose of this research is to enhance our undergraduate/graduate student experience in GIS and geosciences applications. A student, currently a third-semester graduate in the Department of Geosciences, will gain real-life experience in GIS and groundwater data handling and developing historical maps and documenting their applications to be shared with and extended by other students and professionals. This research will utilize the National Land Cover Database (NLCD) classification data with Landsat imagery to classify land-use and land-cover changes for the Wink Sink in Winkler County, west Texas. We will develop the two-time steps between 1990s and 2020s. Variations in developed land, barren, vegetation, and water will be assessed to determine if increased growth trends have amplified the oil and gas developments. The graduate student will also have professional and academic experiences through the process of reporting through written and visual means.

    • Offered in-person and virtual
    • Located in Odessa, Texas
  • You design your own, with the guidance of a research mentor! Please contact us early at kvlau@psu.edu so we can help you with your application.

A note about virtual and in-person projects: If you are applying for an in-person project during the academic year, you should be enrolled at the mentor’s home institution at the time of application. If you are applying for a virtual project or a summer project, you do not need to be enrolled at the mentor’s home institution.

If you are a researcher (e.g., faculty, postdoc, or graduate student at a university, or a researcher in a non-profit, government lab, or other) and are interested in serving as a research mentor, please fill out this form to have your project listed. We also welcome projects with a student that you have already identified. In this situation, please work with that student to submit an application to conduct self-proposed research. Thank you!