SCEC ELCA supports students and early career researchers

SCEC SURE and UseIT interns kick-off their summer experience with a San Andreas fault (SAF) field trip led by Dr. Sally McGIll (CSUSB).

In 2019, SCEC's Office of Experiential Learning and Career Advancement (ELCA) successfully accomplished its goals to provide research opportunities, networking, and resources to the SCEC community in order to encourage and sustain careers in STEM fields.

UseIT interns spend their summer at SCEC’s Undergraduate Earthquake Research Laboratory with students from across the nation working in interdisciplinary teams; enabled by high-performance computing, visualization software, and other IT tools, the interns address grand challenges in earthquake system science.

ELCA continues to provide meaningful research experiences to undergraduate students through their Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) and Undergraduate Studies in Earthquake Information Technology (UseIT) intern programs. The SURE program, which pairs students one-on-one with researchers at the researcher’s home institution, awarded 5 internships in 2019 to students from Cal State University Northridge, Cal State University Fullerton, Utah State University and University of Oregon. SURE interns had the opportunity to work on projects the range from Improving the resolution of co-seismic velocity change monitoring at active faults zones to Measuring Fault slip distribution along the southern 15 km of the M7.1 Ridgecrest earthquake surface rupture. SURE interns presented their summer work findings at the SCEC 2019 Annual Meeting in Palm Springs. Information on the SCEC/SURE program, including how to apply to be a SURE intern or mentor, can be found on the SCEC/SURE internship webpage. The UseIT program, which hosts interns for 8 weeks at the SCEC UseIT Lab in USC, awarded 23 internships this summer. Students from institutions all over the nation, including Michigan, Colorado and Puerto Rico, as well as students from local community colleges, spent their summer learning about Machine Learning, High Performance Computing, software development (SCEC-VDO), and models RSQSim and HAZUS under the mentorship of SCEC research staff. UseIT interns had the opportunity to present their summer research findings at the SoCal REU Regional Symposium, the end of year UseIT Symposium, the SCEC 2019 Annual Meeting, and AGU’s Virtual Poster Symposium. More information on the UseIT program and accomplishments can be found on the UseIT program webpage.

2019 was the first time SCEC participated in the SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference. In partnership with UNAVCO, ELCA co-chaired a session on Exploring Academic Pathways in Geoscience.

ELCA’s Transitions program provides students and early-career researchers (ECRs) support and resources in career development, research, and mentoring. This year, the Transitions program will have introduced over 180 students, postdocs, and ECRs to over 30 mentors during the SCEC2019 Transitions Program: Breakfast Club and AGU’s Early Career/Student Networking Luncheon. The Transitions program brought back Poster Lighting Talks to SCEC2019. Poster Lightning Talks allow ECRs to promote their research and therefore increase traffic at their poster. This year, 37 SCEC2019 attendees participated in Monday’s Poster Lightning Talks session. Finally, in partnership with UNAVCO, ELCA co-chaired a session on Exploring Academic Pathways in Geoscience at the SACNAS Diversity and Inclusion Conference. The purpose of the session was to provide undergraduate and graduate students information about geoscience academic pathways and to apply for geoscience internships, fellowships, and graduate programs. The session included a panel of women scientists from the Society of Latinxs/Hispanics in Earth and Space Science (SOLES) and the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS).

SCEC researchers participate in the first Research Mentoring workshop held at USC’s Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island. 

The Transitions Program launched two new initiatives: Research Mentoring Training and Student Research Travel Awards. Research mentoring workshops are designed for anyone in the SCEC community who is interested in enhancing their mentoring skills and relationships. In 2019, two Research Mentor workshops were provided to SCEC researchers at the University of Southern California’s Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies in Catalina Island and at the SCEC Annual Meeting in Palm Springs. Future Research Mentoring workshops will include new options for undergraduate and graduate students, as well continue the option for senior researchers. The Transitions Program Student Research Travel Awards supports students to present their research at scientific conferences. Presentations at a national level are important opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to build their professional profile by presenting their own research, networking with active scholars at other institutions, and broadening their research and career interests. In its initial year, SCEC awarded 12 students with Research Travel Awards to support student presentations to SCEC2019 and AGU. More information about the program and on how to apply for a Student Travel Award is at the ELCA Awards webpage.

SCEC's Office of Experiential Learning and Career Advancement, one of four focus areas of SCEC's  Communication, Education, and Outreach program, is committed to its mission to provide research opportunities, networking, and other resources to encourage and sustain careers in STEM fields. While 2019 was a year of new initiatives and achievements, ELCA looks forward to continued growth in 2020.

For more information about ELCA, contact Dr. Gabriela Noriega, Manager of Experiential Learning and Career Advancement.

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We study why and how earthquakes occur, evaluate their effects, 

and help societies prepare to survive and recover. 

SCEC is headquartered at the University of Southern California with a 

community of more than 1,000 scientists across 75 institutions.