Resources for Current Interns (2018 cohort; subject to change for 2019 inters)

Writing Workshop

All interns take part in a weekly writing workshop to improve their scientific writing and public presentation skills. The courses will be focused on writing your summer research paper, giving a scientific talk, and preparing your final poster presentation.

This class will take place on Thursday mornings (9:00 - 11:30 a.m.; consult the RESESS on-line calendar for exceptions) at UNAVCO. Interns, circulate your current drafts 24 hours in advance (by noon on Wednesday).

In the Writing Workshop, there will be a weekly assignment that will be due to your communications mentor by 5:00 p.m. the Monday before class. We will provide more details on this later!

Key Deliverables and Overview of Schedule for Summer 2018

  • A professional research article
  • A professional oral presentation
  • A professional poster presentation

We will work on all three fronts each week as interns develop the following intermediate products/activities:

Week 1 - Friday, May 25

Organizing a work plan and outlining the project; how to write a prospectus/mini-literature review.  How to build on the prospectus to write a full introduction. On the persuasive role of citations. Overview of summer; rhetoric of the research article; guiding principles of peer review and the writing workshop.  Use of Gmail for drafts.

Week 2 - Friday, June 1 SPECIAL Writing Workshop: Introduction to geodesy
Week 3 - Friday, June 8 Introduction to Adobe Illustrator
Week 4 - Friday, June 15 All day intern field trip to Rocky Mountain National Park
Week 5 - Friday, June 22 Establishing your credibility: the methods section
Week 6 - Friday, June 29 Method sections; Posters, visuals, and conference proposals
Week 7 - Friday, July 6 Communicating with an audience; audience awareness
Week 8 - Friday, July 13 Writing to advance your professional futures
Week 9 - Friday, July 20 Results and discussion sections; Posters and poster sessions
Week 10 - Friday, July 27 Practice talks
Week 11 - August 1 - 2 Colloquium, Poster Session, final research article

Overall Writing Workshop Objectives

  • Short term: support interns as they develop three key deliverables for the summer: a major research article, a professional oral presentation, and a poster session on their work.
  • Long term: develop writing and communication skills for their professional careers.

Specific Learning Objectives

  • Understanding the structure of a scientific paper (and more importantly, the process of inquiry behind it)
  • Understanding and using the scientific literature as an ongoing conversation (and contributing to that conversation)
  • Understanding how to shape an argument in light of a question at issue, available evidence, and skeptical questions
  • Understanding disciplinary discourse conventions and how to revise for effective style
  • Understanding strategies for effective oral communication in professional presentations
  • Understanding strategies for effective poster sessions

The Role of Writing Workshops

  • A resource for interns that offers both an intellectual framework for their work and a community for supporting that work.
  • A place to develop as a writer, reader, peer editor, and speaker.
  • A place to practice and discuss work in progress.
  • Not a writing class in the traditional sense of the term.

Philosophy and Pedagogical Approach

  • The workshops offer interns an opportunity to think of themselves as writers and producers of knowledge, especially given that other experiences have often positioned them as consumers of what other people already know.
  • Writing serves as an act of inquiry and exploration; it involves far more than writing up what one already knows.
  • Writing and research are collaborative and social acts.
  • Writing (much like research) is recursive, not linear; start early, revise often.
  • Writing and speaking inherently involve risk (and some frustration)
  • Writing is a problem-solving activity that involves strategic decision making. It is not a rule-governed activity.
  • Writing involves the art of functional design: understand and serve your audience.

Overview of Writing Workshop and Logistics for Mentors

The Writing Workshop combines guided peer review of drafts in progress with presentations about scientific and technical writing and rhetorical strategies that offer a broad context for the summer’s communication activities.

We meet once a week for two hours on Friday mornings (9:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m., unless otherwise noted). I am asking that interns circulate current drafts 24 hours in advance (by noon on Thursday). This enables interns to read and comment on others’ work, and to develop skills in collaborative editing.

Communication mentors can work with interns prior to the submission of each week’s draft to ensure the most productive feedback. Communication mentors can also follow up with interns on feedback that comes out of the workshop. Communication mentors and their interns should communicate and exchange drafts/comments directly by email or in person.

Each week we will send mentors an email detailing what we have covered in the workshop, and what specific assignments the interns will be focusing on in the coming week. This email will also point mentors to relevant handouts and resources.


Dr. Lon D. Abbott

  • Senior Instructor, Geological Sciences, University of Colorado at Boulder (Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz).
  • "One of Dr. Abbott's principal goals is to contribute to the public's understanding of and appreciation for geologic processes, the deep geologic history of the planet, and the significance of geology in our everyday lives. He works to achieve this goal via the publication of books and articles in the popular press and through public presentations. Dr. Abbott's research is focused on deciphering the geologic history of the Colorado Rocky Mountains/Colorado Plateau region and Australia's Great Dividing Range."

Check back here for useful resources for 2018