REU Site: Interdisciplinary Climate Science Research at The Pennsylvania State University

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

This project supports a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site at Pennsylvania State University. Undergraduate students will conduct authentic research on topics related to climate science. The research topics will take in interdisciplinary look at climate science and the societal relevance, spanning beyond atmospheric science to also include impacts of a changing climate such as human health, ecology, and engineering solutions. New statistical and computational approaches will be introduced to students to make sense of the ever-larger data being collected on the climate system. Mentors to the participants will bring expertise in impacts (wildfires, forests, health, and water quality), climate dynamics (ice sheets), measurement systems (drones and remote sensing), and climate remediation (carbon storage).

The program is a complete, summer-long immersion in the research process complemented with weekly activities to enhance students' professional development through workshops and seminars on science communication, graduate school, and career opportunities. Students will choose to work with one or more leading climate science researchers who have designed a clear and concise research project with achievable goals. A small research group made up of faculty, research associates, post-doctoral scholars, and senior graduate students will mentor each student. Students will report their research in the form of a peer-reviewed journal article, a conference-style poster, and a short (2-3 minute) oral presentation. Students will be encouraged to present research at national meetings and produce peer-reviewed publications. With the aid of an education specialist, surveys and focus groups will be used to obtain feedback from students and mentors during and after the summer session, which will be used to improve the program. Specific improvements to this REU renewal include: (1) interdisciplinary expansion using faculty from seven departments, (2) co-mentoring of students, and (3) enhanced targeting of underrepresented groups. The program will accommodate 14-15 students each year, targeting women, minorities, and students from institutions outside of those with the highest research activity, as these constituencies are underrepresented in climate science. The program will provide students with sufficient knowledge so that they not only contribute to solving societally relevant scientific problems but also to the improvement of scientific literacy within academia and throughout our educational systems and society at large.

This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

StatusActive
Effective start/end date9/15/198/31/24

Funding

  • National Science Foundation: $1,015,245.00

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