The Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program

The faculty in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences are eager to have UROP students join their research teams. EAPS is a collegial department with an informal atmosphere. Students, researchers, and faculty all work together and know each other well. UROP students are welcome members of the team. First year students often ask if they are eligible to work on a UROP project. In the vast majority of cases the answer is, yes!

UROP Opportunities in EAPS are occasionally available, but the most common way to find a UROP project is to ask. Investigate the kinds of research each faculty member does by looking at their web pages. The EAPS website has a page for each faculty member with a brief research description. Often there is also a link to an independent page for their research group with more detail.

Once you know who is doing work that interests you, go knock on their door, or send them an email saying you’re interested in a UROP project, and ask if they have anything available. Most faculty are willing to work with you to find a project in their lab. Occasionally a project is listed on the UROP website, but most commonly students become involved by just asking.

If you have any questions or want help with a place to get started, call or visit the EAPS Academic Office. No appointment is necessary. It is common for students to drop in.

AVAILABLE UROP Opportunities

Project Title: Joining the Search for Other Worlds
Period: Summer 2018, Fall 2018 | Department: EAPS
Faculty Supervisor: Sara Seager | Direct Supervisor: Julien de Wit

We will be building a telescope in Tenerife to search for other exoplanets like TRAPPIST-1’s seven potentially habitable earth-sized planets. This would constitute a unique opportunity for up to two students interested in astronomy, data-science, and the search for life elsewhere, to have a real hands-on experience with a state-of-the-art facility from installation, to commissioning, and initiation of the operations. The project is currently envisioned to include a trip to Tenerife (Spain).

Contact: Julien deWit (jdewit@mit.edu) | https://eapsweb.mit.edu/people/jdewit


Project Title: Grooving to Coral Reef Morphology
Period: IAP/Spring 2018 | Department: EAPS
Faculty Supervisor: Taylor Perron | Direct Supervisor: James Bramante

Go to 6.261°N, 171.922°E in Google Earth. Do you see those long, cyan-colored channels that look like streams under the ocean surface? Those are spur and groove structures, built by an actively growing coral reef. Spurs and grooves are found on nearly every coral reef exposed to wave energy across the globe, but nobody’s sure how most of them form. We’ve been developing a model to explore the conspiracy between waves, sediment, and coral that we think is behind these features. We need your help to link our model to reality. This UROP opportunity will involve digitizing spurs and grooves from high-resolution bathymetric maps and satellite images from Hawaii and the Marshall Islands. You will then use spatial statistics to examine the characteristics of these ubiquitous features and determine how they vary with changes in the surrounding environment. This is a great opportunity to develop skills in GIS and learn how to quantitatively analyze geographic features.
Pre-requisites: Familiarity with ArcGIS is a plus, but is not necessary.

Contact: James Bramante (Jbram@mit.edu) | https://eapsweb.mit.edu/people/jbram

EAPS Academic Office  Building 54, Room 912

Phone  617. 253. 3381