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SCEC Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SCEC/SURE)

SURE is supported by the NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates Program and other funders that vary from year-to-year.

Program Overview

The Southern California Earthquake Center/Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SCEC/SURE) pairs a student, one-on-one, to conduct research with a pre-eminent earthquake scientist or specialist. Many SURE interns also have the opportunity to work alongside graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, and thus gain the special perspective of these early career professionals.

Since 1994, SCEC/SURE has supported students to work in a very wide variety of fields related to earthquake science, including paleoseismic field investigations, remote sensing, risk mitigation, seismic velocity modeling, effects of earthquakes on natural resources such as groundwater, science education, information technology, and earthquake engineering.

The list of potential projects for 2015 will continue to grow. Information on Summer 2014 SURE projects and mentors is posted, as well as projects from previous years, which can be accessed through the Quick Links box on the right. In the application, you will be asked to indicate which projects most interest you, and why. This will help us to match you with appropriate scientists and projects. Most projects for SURE interns require some knowledge of geology, geophysics, or geotechnical engineering, and thus most SURE interns are juniors or seniors majoring in those fields; however, mentors do sometimes have projects without required coursework or other restrictions.

There are typically numerous applicants interested in every project. A review committee matches finalists with appropriate projects and then each mentor selects among those finalists. (For more information about our selection process, follow the Quick Link: You've Applied - What Now?)

Program Goals & Funding

SCEC/SURE was established to:

  1. provide hands-on research experience for undergraduates and expand student participation in the earth sciences and related disciplines;
  2. encourage students to consider careers in research and education;
  3. interest, train, and retain talented students, including women, members of underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, and students outside the earth sciences.

Student Compensation

Each SCEC/SURE intern is paid a stipend of $5000 for 8-10 weeks of research. The length of the internship depends on the project and on the internship schedule that each mentor and intern will create in late spring.

This stipend must be used to pay for food, housing, and incidental costs. Our stipend amount seems higher than that of many other internship programs only because our interns often must live in costly locations. As a SCEC intern you SHOULD NOT EXPECT to end the summer with a profit remaining from your stipend. Instead, you will break even on your summer expenses.

For more information contact:

SCEC Education Programs
Office of Experiential Learning & Career Advancement

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