Current Research Positions

Current undergraduate paid and unpaid research positions and general faculty research projects for undergraduate researchers.

Geomechanics and Geofluids Research Jobs for Undergrads

Do you want to study the Earth while learning the ins-and-outs of cutting-edge laboratory equipment, from maintenance to experiment design? UT GeoMechanics and GeoFluids investigates fluid flow and deformation in Earth materials using lab experiments, field work, and computer modeling.

We seek hard-working and detail-oriented students with a passion for learning. You will assist with ongoing projects: offshoots could lead to your senior thesis.

Tasks will include everything from the routine to the experimentally complex. You will work independently or with staff and researchers on experimental setup, equipment maintenance, laboratory clean up, sample preparation, data analysis, and a host of other tasks.

For more information contact Josh O'Connell.

Learn more about our research projects at UT GeoMechanics and GeoFluids.

Posted by: Peter Flemings

Geoscience Undergraduate Research Assistant

Duration: Spring and Fall semesters part time, and Summer full time.

The position entails working as an Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA) as part of a research team in support of an oil and gas industry funded project which focuses on the depositional history of the Gulf of Mexico. URAs work with geophysical data, geographic information systems, geosoftware and scientific literature to accomplish GBDS research goals.

The undergraduate research assistant duties include:

1. Editing, geo-referencing and digitizing geologic maps in ArcGIS;
2. Locating and accessing geologic data (well, paleontological, and seismic);
3. Assisting with data management for multiple databases;
4. Creation of LAS files by digitizing well logs data;
5. Assisting with literature searches and reference organization;
6. Working with geologic core and samples;
7. Word processing and creation and editing of spreadsheets;
8. Computer illustration of figures and cross-sections;
9. Printing and binding project reports;
10. Clerical assistance as necessary.

There are opportunities for independent research projects. The advantages of being an undergraduate research assistant include getting exposure to software and coding (Excel, ArcGIS, Neuralog, Landmark, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Python, VBA), building industry connections and gaining academic research experience.

How to apply
Interested students should contact Summer Li.

Posted by: John Snedden

Analyzing seismic data using machine learning techniques

Seismic recordings are used to detect earthquakes and to create images of the Earths interior. Seismic data contain rich patterns that can be discovered for extracting detailed information. Newly developed machine learning techniques aid in the discovery process. Deep learning has been used to detect arrivals of seismic signals from earthquakes and volcano eruptions and to extract from subsurface images such features, as faults, channels, salt bodies, etc. In detecting geological features, computational algorithms prove to be as powerful or even more powerful than the human eye, especially in higher dimensions.

In this project, we are adopting the latest ideas from the field of machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve the resolution ability of seismic images. Our objective is to advance the state of the art in discovering seismic data patterns. The approaches include unsupervised learning for analyzing seismic waveforms and compressing data in the transformed domain and supervised learning for teaching the computer how to imitate the work of human interpreters.

We are seeking an enthusiastic student to participate in this project. The student will develop data-analysis skills and contribute to an open-source software project. Some prior familiarity with seismology and machine learning, as well as some prior experience with computer programming using Python are helpful but not required

Posted by: Sergey Fomel

Research Inner-Space Cavern fossils (Paleontology)

Dedicated, enthusiastic undergraduate student(s) sought to help work on fossils from Inner Space Cavern in Williamson County, Texas. Student(s) will help with screen-washing, sorting, identifying, and curating vertebrate fossils from Ice-Age sediments in the cave. Students will learn aspects of the anatomy of the vertebrate skeleton as they contribute to studying patterns of vertebrate diversity through time in the context of climate change. Potential opportunities exist for motivated students to pursue independent supervised research related to the main questions associated with this project. Projects begin in the Fall, 2022 semester. Interested students should contact John Moretti (jamoretti@utexas.edu) and Chris Bell (cjbell@jsg.utexas.edu).

Posted by: Christopher Bell

Research Phillips Cave fossils (Paleontology)

Dedicated, enthusiastic undergraduate student(s) sought to help work on fossils from Phillips Cave in Crockett County, Texas. Student(s) will help with screen-washing, sorting, identifying, and curating vertebrate fossils from Ice-Age sediments in the cave. Students will learn aspects of the anatomy of the vertebrate skeleton as they contribute to broadening our understanding of vertebrate paleobiogeography on the Edwards Plateau. The project is under way and volunteers can be brought on board immediately. Interested students should contact Stacie Skwarcan (sskwarca@utexas.edu) and Chris Bell (cjbell@jsg.utexas.edu).

Posted by: Christopher Bell

Research Triassic vertebrates (Paleontology)

Undergraduates interested in Triassic vertebrates of Texas and the Colorado Plateau!! Get involved with new research including digital segmentation of CT-scanned specimens from Petrified Forest National Park and the University of Texas Vertebrate Paleontology Collections, preparation of vertebrate fossils collected by the WPA in the early 1900s, and photographic documentation of those materials. Opportunities exist for students to develop independent research related to the main questions associated with this project. Projects begin in the Fall, 2022 semester. Interested students should contact Will Reyes (will_reyes@utexas.edu) and Chris Bell (cjbell@jsg.utexas.edu).

Posted by: Christopher Bell

NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates

This summer program trains and supports undergraduates to undertake environmental science research. Details may be found at https://www.esi.utexas.edu/education/summer-research-experience-for-undergraduates-reu/.

Posted by: Jay Banner

NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates

This summer program trains and supports undergraduates to undertake environmental science research. Details may be found at https://www.esi.utexas.edu/education/summer-research-experience-for-undergraduates-reu/.

Posted by: Jay Banner

Stable isotopes as hydroclimatic indicators

I am looking for an undergraduate student researcher to work on the analysis of stable isotopes in natural waters and plant materials. No experience necessary. The student researcher will be trained in extracting water samples on a vacuum system and analysis of stable isotopes using a laser spectrometer. Depending on progress, there may be opportunities to publish this research

Posted by: Timothy Shanahan

Paleoclimate reconstructions in the southern Rocky Mountains

I am looking for one or more undergraduate student researchers to work on paleoclimate reconstructions in the southern Rockies using geochemical indicators in lake sediments. No experience necessary. Depending on progress, there will be opportunities to publish.

Posted by: Timothy Shanahan