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July 8, 2016 - Week 6 Newsletter

RECCS is a 9-week summer student research program in critical zone science for Colorado community college students funded by the National Science Foundation and coordinated by CIRES Education Outreach and the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory.

For the most recent RECCS happenings, check out our blog.

RECCS Student Researcher Spotlight

This week our featured RECCS student researcher is Sean Ross. Sean (lower) is partnered with mentor Suzanne Anderson (top), Associate Professor of Geography and INSTAAR Fellow. The team is based at INSTAAR at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Sean Ross
Watch Sean's elevator speech!

Research project: Weathering of the Boulder Creek Granodiorite as Observed in a Deep Core, Outcrops, and Rock Exposed by Debris Flows

Sean Ross grew up in the mountains of Colorado, which ingrained in him a love of the natural world. He currently resides in the Denver suburb of Littleton, but escapes the city as often as possible to explore Colorado’s fantastic geology.

He currently attends Red Rocks Community College and is on track to earn an Associate of Science degree in spring 2017. He then plans to transfer to the Colorado School of Mines with the eventual goal of graduate study in the field of geochemistry.

Geomorphology in the Field

Zach Hoepfner (left, EARTH LAB intern), Sean (center), and Suzanne (right) teaming up to collect data on rock hardness and topographic profiles near the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory.
Sean and Suzanne at the top of the second debris flow that they'll be investigating; it was formed during the 2013 flood event in Colorado. They are taking samples to assess the geochemistry of the rocks.
Sean is using a Schmidt hammer for testing the hardness of Boulder Creek Granodiorite, a type of igneous rock, in Boulder Canyon. He will be comparing data from this outcrop, which was not affected by the flood, with data from the flood event debris flow.

Intern Tips

  • Create and use a system to keep on top of deadlines.
  • Set up a weekly mentor check-in to stay on track.
  • cc Jennifer Taylor on correspondence between intern & mentor.

Intern Deadlines

  • Draft/outline of the results and discussion section is due on July 18
  • GSA abstract deadline is July 12

Career Development Support

Susan Sullivan (fifth from left) met with the RECCS cohort during a brown bag lunch session. Susan shared experiences and insight of her own educational and career path—from starting college as a community college student, transferring to a 4-year college, obtaining a PhD, to leading CIRES Education Outreach as its Director. She stressed the importance that a research experience like RECCS provides in helping students navigate their own college and career path. The students had the opportunity to ask her questions and she offered them practical advice, too.

Communications Workshop

This week, there was no communications workshop scheduled. Instead, each intern shared with the cohort an informal presentation of their research to date, plans for completing their project, and answered questions from the group. This experience was good practice in preparation for the final presentations at the end of the program. Our next communications workshop, where we will discuss the AGU Virtual Poster Session conference opportunity, is on July 13.

Mentor Tips

  • This is the time when the interns are starting to feel a bit worried about finishing their research. It’s a great time to take stock of where your student is and reassess and adjust the project if the original goal seems out of reach.
  • Check in with your intern regarding their concerns and consider sharing your approaches to dealing with deadlines and stress.
  • And, of course, let us know if we can help!
Copyright © 2016 CIRES Education Outreach, All rights reserved.

RECCS is funded by the National Science Foundation Grant Award Number 1461281

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