Current Research Opportunities

On this page you will find information about current faculty research groups and research projects which are actively recruiting undergraduate researchers.

This page last updated November 2019.

Research Groups

Afu LinAfu Lin’s Mineral Physics Lab

NSF REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) opportunities in mineral physics, planetary interiors, and methane hydrate research.

Additionally, Dr. Lin helps connect students with summer research internships in Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China

MartindaleMartindale Research Group

Contact Professor Rowen Martindale ( about research opportunities in mass extinctions, reef paleo-ecology, and more!

PoteetWaller Creek Research Group

Upper division students interested in environmental monitoring? Contact Mary

The response of creek ecosystems to restoration efforts in Urbanized watersheds

Using Waller creek as a case study, we synthesize data from environmental sensors, measures of organic matter dynamics, and surveys of algal biomass and production to assess whether large-scale restoration efforts lead to “sustainable” creek ecosystems – meaning that the energy produced within the creek ecosystem (including riparian) can provide enough energy to sustain diverse creek communities. I currently need upper division students to conduct research on 1) spatio-temporal dynamics of dissolved organic matter, 2) seasonal shifts in algal production in relation to anthropogenic nutrient influxes, and 3) work with environmental sensor data to assess whether/how specific hydrologic changes alter metabolic regimes in creeks – as measured by dissolved oxygen dynamics.


Have good programming skills? Interested in oceanography?

Contact Patrick Heimbach ( about potential opportunities in the context of ocean and ice sheet modeling and data analysis.

LoweryInterested in micropaleontology or paleoceanography? Opportunities coming soon!

Contact Sean Gulick and Chris Lowery

GardnerInterested in magma chamber dynamics, pyroclastic flow behavior, volcanic degassing and eruption?

Contact Jim Gardner at

Stockli Labs CropStockli Research Group

The Stockli research group has a long tradition of involving undergraduate students in field and laboratory based research. For example:

  • “Long-term cooling history of Llano Uplift” – Claire Andrews (2017)
  • “Detrital Provenance of Pennsylvanian Strawn and Cisco sandstones in central Texas” – P. Standring and T. Ditges (2020)

2019 Undergraduate Research Opportunities (more possibilities)

  • Libyan Glass – Geochronology of meteorite Impact Glass the Sahara Desert (lab)
  • U-Pb of calcite veins in the Oman ophiolite by LA-ICP-MS (lab)
  • Detrital Provenance of the Permian Delaware Mountain Group in West Texas (field and lab)

Please contact Dr. Daniel Stockli at

Mark Helper Research GroupMark Helper 174 Thumb

Contact Mark Helper ( about opportunities to study rocks (and maybe gems!) of Central Texas and Northern California.

Research Projects

Below are details of current research projects with opportunities for undergraduate students. Please contact the lead PI (Principal Investigator) for more information.

Principal Investigator(s) Project  hours / week Timing Field component
Thorsten Becker Numerical modeling of flat slab subduction and slab-continental plate interactions ~10 summer project, with continued work in the semester Potential for field work in Colombia, but numerical modeling focused
Thorsten Becker Fault localization in southern California from broadband seismic data – analysis of receiver function and shear wave splitting data 10 summer project, with continued work in the semester Potential for field work in southern California, but seismological data analysis focused
Ian Dalziel  &  Brian Horton Detrital zircon studies bearing on paleogeographic reconstructions of the South Atlantic region 15 Jan-August 2020 No field work; the samples will be collected in the Falkland/Malvinas Islands by Ian Dalziel during November 2019.
Ginny Catania Outlet glacier terminus changes 10 flexible – summer or in semester None
John Snedden Gulf of Mexico Depositional Systems ~10-20 flexible – summer or in semester None
Jud Partin Help to micro-milk samples and prepare machines for analytics measurements ~10-20 summer Yes
Nick Hayman (lead), Matthew Balhoff (Petroleum Engineering) Experimental investigation of viscoplastic polymeric gels 10 Fall-spring 2020-2021 None – lab based
Chris Lowery Picking foraminifera for stable isotope analysis of End Cretaceous Mass Extinction. 10 summer None
Chris Lowery Grain size analysis of sediments to reconstruct plankton size distribution  after End Cretaceous Mass Extinction 10 spring None
Steve Phillips, Chris Lowery Sea level rise on the Texas coast and response of salt marsh greenhouse gas cycling 10 summer Yes- sediment coring, gas flux measurements, and core analysis
Sean Gulick, Gail Christeson Mapping the infilling of the Chicxulub crater using geophysical data ~5-10 summer and/or in semester Possible
Duncan Young, Don Blankenship Reconciling Antarctic englacial layers using the Landmark seismic package 20 spring-summer None
Duncan Young, Jamin Greenbaum, Cyril Grima Documenting 30 years of radar data interpretations for release to a international compilation of Antarctic ice thickness data 20 spring-summer None