Successes and Challenges in the SAGE (Summer of Applied Geophysical Experience) REU Program

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Lawrence W Braile, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, United States, W. Scott Baldridge, Los Alamos Natl Lab, Los Alamos, NM, United States, Louise Pellerin, Green Geophysics, Berkeley, CA, United States, John F Ferguson, Univ of Texas - Dallas, Richardson, TX, United States, Paul Bedrosian, USGS Denver Federal Center, Denver, CO, United States, Shawn Biehler, University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA, United States, George R Jiracek, San Diego State Univ, San Diego, CA, United States, Catherine Mary Snelson, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Los Alamos, NM, United States, Shari Kelley, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Socorro, NM, United States and Darcy McPhee, USGS California Water Science Center Menlo Park, Menlo Park, CA, United States
The SAGE program was initiated in 1983 to provide an applied geophysics research and education experience for students. Since 1983, 820 students have completed the SAGE summer program. Beginning in 1992, with funding from the NSF, SAGE has included an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) experience for selected undergraduate students from U.S. colleges and universities. Since 1992, 380 undergraduate REU students have completed the SAGE program. The four week, intensive, summer program is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and involves students in learning geophysical theory and applications; collection of geophysical field data in the northern Rio Grande Rift area; data processing, modeling and interpretation; and presentation (oral and written) of results of each student’s research results. Students (undergraduates, graduates and professionals) and faculty are together on a school campus for the summer program. Successful strategies (developed over the years) of the program include teamwork experience, mentoring of REUs (by faculty and more senior students), cultural interchange due to students from many campuses across the U.S. and international graduate students, including industry visitors who work with the students and provide networking, a capstone experience of the summer program that includes all students making a “professional-meeting” style presentation of their research and submitting a written report, a follow-up workshop for the REU students to enhance and broaden their experience, and providing professional development for the REUs through oral or poster presentations and attendance at a professional meeting. Program challenges include obtaining funding from multiple sources; significant time investment in program management, reporting, and maintaining contact with our many funding sources and industry affiliates; and, despite significant efforts, limited success in recruiting racial and ethnic minority students to the program.