Rawling's students present dune research in Minnesota and California, applications for next field session due Feb. 15

January 18, 2012

PLATTEVILLE - Dr. J. Elmo Rawling III, associate professor of geography and geology at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and director of the Dune Undergraduate Geomorphology and Geochronology project coordinated jointly between UW-Platteville and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, accompanied DUGG students to conferences in Minneapolis, Minn., and San Jose, Calif., last semester for their research presentations.

The presentation of research is the final step for students who participate in the DUGG program, which is funded by a National Science Foundation-Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant and provides students with significant research experience that they can carry on to their graduate careers.

Past participants in the program have come from all over the United States.

Undergraduate students interested in the 2012 summer session of DUGG must submit application materials on or before Wednesday, Feb. 15. Program details and application forms can be found at www.uwplatt.edu/dugg.

Jacob Ruiz

"I believe it is important for any undergraduate to experience a research project like DUGG," said Jacob Ruiz, 2011 DUGG participant and junior earth science major from El Paso Community College in El Paso, Texas. "Internships like this one are a great way to really get into your field of study, make connections and get out there."

During the 2011 summer session, students participated in an eight-week-long field and laboratory study of the lake level history and sand dune activity on Door County's eastern side. The student team then prepared their research findings in poster format for presentation at The Geological Society of America Annual Meeting and Exposition in Minneapolis, Minn., and The Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science National Conference in San Jose, Calif.

"Dissemination of knowledge is key to research," said Rawling. "If you do all this great work, you also need to share it."

Rawling said the students were well versed on their topics and received a lot of positive feedback on their presentations. "Part of that is because we let them take the lead on the science, providing guidance on the side if they needed it," he said.

He added that Ruiz, who attended the San Jose conference, was one of the students recognized with the SACNAS Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation Award out of a total of 768 undergraduate posters.

"It was a great experience," Ruiz said. "I have never felt so much encouragement from so many people I had never met before to continue my work. Presenting was a little intimidating at first, just because of the sheer size of the conference, but after a few times, I realized that everyone there wanted to see me succeed."

Ruiz added that the best things about the conference were the networking opportunities, access to future research and being able to talk to the many professors and graduate students about their ideas and advice for graduate school.

"I hope to one day be involved in sedimentology, and I felt that the experience the DUGG project has provided me with will give me an edge at understanding the mechanics of sediments, especially those that are wind blown," he said.

"There was so much to enjoy about this project, but the field work that we conducted on a nearly everyday basis was the most enjoyable," said Ruiz. "And, living and working with seven other undergraduates throughout the summer was an experience I will never forget."

For more information, contact Rawling at (608) 342-1680 or rawlingj@uwplatt.edu.

Contact: Dr. J. Elmo Rawling III, associate professor, UW-Platteville Geography and Geology Program, (608) 342-1680, rawlingj@uwplatt.edu Written by: Barbara Weinbrenner, communications specialist, UW-Platteville College of Liberal Arts and Education, (608) 342-6191, weinbreb@uwplatt.edu

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