An Overview

RESESS is an undergraduate internship program in the Earth sciences hosted by UNAVCO in Boulder, Colorado, that is dedicated to increasing diversity in the geosciences.

The goal of the RESESS internship program is to increase the number of students from groups that are underrepresented in the geosciences relative to their proportions in the general population.

RESESS encourages applications from individuals who are members of a group that is historically underrepresented in the Earth sciences, including students with disabilities, non-traditional students, and students who are Black or African American, American Indian or Native Pacific Islanders, Hispanic or Latinos, and others.

We introduce students to scientific research, prepare students for graduate school and professional careers in Earth science, and provide support and encouragement as students build skills and confidence. Students experience an authentic research experience and are encouraged to consider careers in Earth science, whether that is in research, teaching, or industry. Students can participate for up to two years.

RESESS is administered by UNAVCO and funded by the GAGE Facility. The RESESS team is comprised of UNAVCO staff, University of Colorado-Boulder and Colorado School of Mines faculty and graduate students, and other local scientific agencies. The RESESS team is dedicated to supporting interns during the summer and through the academic year. In return, interns are expected to work hard, ask questions, and leverage this opportunity to learn about scientific research, graduate school, and professional career options.

Where: Boulder, Colorado
When: Late May - Early August

Frequently Asked Questions »


  • Stipend for eleven weeks
  • Round-trip airfare to Boulder, CO
  • Ground transportation stipend
  • A shared (dorm-style) furnished apartment at no cost
  • A research experience in the solid earth geosciences
  • Intensive communications and professional development courses
  • Opportunity for participation in a national science meeting


Student interns work closely with a geoscience expert throughout the summer on a research project. We try to match the interests of the student with a relevant project. The student might work at the University of Colorado at Boulder, at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO, UNAVCO in Boulder, or other research institutions in the area. In their second summer, interns are encouraged to seek out their own research opportunities at another university, government lab, or petroleum company within the continental U.S. .

Potential topics of interest include:

  • Earthquakes & seismology
  • Geophysics (including plate tectonics and more)
  • Hydrology and water quality
  • Petroleum geology
  • Glaciers
  • Volcanoes
  • Sedimentology
  • Geomorphology
  • Quaternary geology
  • Physics of the Earth

RESESS Interns Shall:

  • Participate in leadership training during the first week of the summer program.
  • Conduct or contribute to an authentic research project and share progress reports and findings through public venues including the RESESS colloquium and poster sessions during the last week of the summer program.
  • Participate in scheduled RESESS program activities including, but not limited to: writing workshops, communications workshops, and geology field trips.
  • Attend and present (if accepted) research work at a scientific conference.


Studies show that a multi-level mentoring approach is important and fosters student success through providing help and encouragement. We support our interns with a variety of mentors. Each intern has a science mentor (or team of science mentors) who guides them through their research project and a communications mentor who works with the student on refining their research paper and other communication deliverables.


New friendships and a strong sense of community are developed during the first days of the program and strengthened throughout the summer. One day per week is reserved for the writing and communications workshops and other RESESS group activities such as geology field trips or workshops. Incoming interns also have a graduate assistant mentor to help enrich their experience in Boulder, CO.


RESESS is a research-based summer internship program that is dedicated to increasing diversity in the geoscience workforce. RESESS strongly encourages applications from individuals from historically underrepresented groups in the Earth sciences. RESESS is funded by the National Science Foundation award GEO EAR 1261833. RESESS receives additional support from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

Eligible candidates are full-time undergraduate students who:

  • Have completed the equivalent of two years or more of college
  • Are currently enrolled in an undergraduate program at the close of this application with a major in Earth or environmental sciences or related field
  • Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Have completed several courses in geology, physical geography, hydrology, environmental sciences, math, physics, geophysics, and/or engineering
  • Are interested in pursuing a career/graduate school in the Earth sciences or a related science
  • Have U.S. citizenship or permanent-resident status (no exceptions)
  • Are comfortable with all internship requirements [PDF] such as living in Boulder, Colorado, for the summer

What Makes RESESS Different from a Typical REU?

We provide substantial support and individualized mentoring to each intern; we really take care of you! Good communication within the cohort and with science and communication mentors is encouraged, and each summer's cohort develops their own sense of community.

Adventures and shared experiences throughout the summer help the students connect with each other and provide a feeling of mutual support. For example, we go on field trips to local geological sites, have workshops, and organize social events.

During the academic year, we provide our summer interns with the opportunity to apply for scholarship money, advice on courses or graduate schools, and support in applying to graduate school.

Read more about a summer in the RESESS Internship Program!

Life in Boulder

The city of Boulder, Colorado, home to about 107,000 residents, is situated in a valley against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. The average summer temperature reaches 80 to 90 degrees during the day, but tends to cool off at night. It can get as cold as 40 degrees. On rare occasions it gets as hot as 100 degrees, but the low humidity makes it bearable. Bring a fleece jacket or warm jacket for cold nights, including possible field excursions to the mountains.

Bring a raincoat as Boulder can get afternoon thunderstorms that are real soakers! Bring good footwear for hiking, such a pair of sturdy hikinh boots, as we will be taking field trips.

Boulder’s elevation is 5,430 feet above sea level. Because of the altitude, the UV rays can be very intense. Even if you’re not prone to sunburn, you should use protective sunscreen in Colorado. Those of you coming from sea level may feel tired during your first few days here as you adapt to the high altitude. Our advice is to minimize physical exertion, drink plenty of water, and avoid alcohol during your first couple of days here. You may find yourself using gallons of hand/body lotion, and carrying lip balm as you get used to our arid climate.

Boulder is a university town. The nearest metropolitan area is Denver, approximately 30 miles from Boulder. The art museum, natural history museum, zoo, the Colorado Rockies baseball stadium, and other places of interest in Denver are all easily accessible using the bus system.

If you enjoy hiking or biking, this is the town for you. You can rent or buy a used bicycle and take advantage of the miles of biking trails throughout our city. The trails in and around Boulder range from easy to very, very difficult—the choice is yours.

For more information on things to do in Boulder visit the following website links:

What to Bring


  • Driver’s License + 1 of the following: Social Security Card, Birth Certificate, or Passport
  • Permanent Resident Card (if applicable)


  • Medical Insurance card
  • Medications


  • Casual work clothes
  • Professional business clothes (for your presentations and reception invitations)
  • Rain jacket
  • Summer fun clothes (shorts, t-shirts, jeans, etc.)
  • Sunglasses and hat/cap, water bottle (Boulder is one of the sunniest cities in America!)
  • Swimsuit
  • Hiking boots/tennis shoes
  • Sweaters/light jackets (layer dressing is a plus—plan on periodic cool weather, especially when visiting mountain locations)

Fun and Practical

  • Pillow (if you have a special one!)
  • Large towel; UNAVCO will provide you with hand towels and smaller bath towels.
  • Backpack or bag (To carry stuff on day trips or hikes)
  • Camera
  • Games, puzzles; the apartments do not have TVs
  • Camping gear (many interns camp during their summers here)
  • Sunscreen (bring plenty to save your skin)
  • Bike (You can ship your bike to Boulder – or you can take it on the plane with you. Either option is at your own expense. Typically the airlines charge $50 each way plus about $25 for a box, but you will need to confirm the cost with your airline.) NOTE: Super Shuttle will charge an additional $10 per bike.

Be sure to bring enough money with you to cover your groceries and entertainment for the first two weeks.

PLEASE NOTE: The RESESS program will cover the cost of checking one bag, so please plan accordingly.