The Undergraduate Studies in Earthquake Information Technology (UseIT) is a team-based undergraduate research program run by the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) at the University of Southern California (USC). Interns develop technical tools to communicate important concepts about earthquakes in Southern California and other earthquake-prone regions. UseIT interns are mentored by several of the nation's leading earthquake and computer scientists. Since 2002, the UseIT program has built a community of over 250 alumni from more than 40 colleges and universities.





Program Overview

SCEC/UseIT interns work on multi-disciplinary, collaborative teams to tackle a scientific “Grand Challenge” posed by SCEC director Dr. Thomas Jordan. The Grand Challenge varies each year but always entails performing computer science research that is needed by earthquake scientists or outreach professionals. 


During prior terms, UseIT interns have developed software visualization platforms called LA3D and SCEC-VDO (Virtual Display of Objects). These are object-oriented, open-source, internet-enabled software packages for interactive, 4D display of diverse data sets important to earthquake scientists. SCEC-VDO is now in use by a growing number of SCEC scientists.


A key aspect of the UseIT program is its flexible, yet structured, multi-disciplinary team approach. Students share their diverse skills and interests, creating a powerful synergy through this peer mentoring. The majority of UseIT interns have considerable computer science skill or aptitude, but successful UseIT interns have hailed from nearly three dozen disciplines, all class levels, and all skill levels. Successful UseIT interns have in common a willingness to step outside their comfort zones and try new things.


Visit www.scec.org/internships to learn about internship compensation, eligibility, deadlines, and how to apply.