If you want to be a scientist, exams and papers are
only part of the education you’ll need to have. The other half of the equation
is research work in the field, and that’s why Allie Berry is feeling quite at
home this summer at IUP.
Major in Geology
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Berry, who will begin her senior year
in the fall of 2016, is taking part in the Research Experience for Summer
Scholars (RESS) program at IUP, where she is able to get in a lot of the field
work that will prepare her for graduate school. She’s working in structural
geology, learning about how and why the earth was formed, and what could happen
to our planet in years to come.
This is the third year for the IUP RESS
program, open to undergraduate and graduate students.
Students must have a faculty mentor for their research and must include a
letter of recommendation in their application in order to be accepted for the
RESS is coordinated by Justin Fair, Department of Chemistry, and includes faculty mentors
in several departments. IUP’s 10-week
program is modeled after the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience
for Undergraduates (REU) programs, and offers students the chance to
participate in a cutting-edge experience that links knowledge and skills
learned in coursework to real-work scientific and societal problems.
“It’s hard to do research during the
school year,” Berry explained. “You have tests to study for and things to read
and labs to take. This program has allowed me to spend my summer here doing research
and making progress.”
During her freshman year, Berry
studied abroad in Taiwan with Jon Lewis, a professor in the Department of Geoscience. During their trip, Berry, Lewis and the other students collected
some data about events currently happening on the earth’s outer shell.
“Taiwan is one of the few places on
earth where plates are colliding as we speak,” Berry said.
Two years later, Berry is still using
the data she gained in her trip overseas. In the RESS program, she is working
in a lab, pouring over the data about plates and their movements, gaining
information that could be used for all kinds of things, from predicting
disasters such as earthquakes, to adapting to global warming.
Berry, who plans to go on to graduate
school for both her master’s and PhD after she graduates from IUP, said the RESS
program has helped her get a more well-rounded education.
“It’s definitely given me something
extra to put on my resume,” she said. “It’s only going to help make me more
marketable for graduate schools.”
Berry said the RESS program is just
another example of how her decision to come to IUP was the right one. She knew
that if she went to a school that offered undergraduate and graduate degrees in
geoscience, she would have had to wait until she was a graduate student to get
much research work done.