Summer 2020 RTX: GeoVISION

The summer 2020 research traineeship experience (RTX) was GeoVISION: Geosciences Visualization, Imaging and Simulation in Online Networks. Like other programs across the world, we transitioned the RTX to be virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We were pleased to have trainees join us from across the U.S. and beyond. The 23 trainees were undergraduates or recent graduates studying geoscience and other STEM fields.

Photo of the GeoVISION 2020 participants, all participating in a Zoom call.
The GeoVISION trainees reflected a diversity of academic interests and personal backgrounds. All GeoVISION programming was virtual.


GeoVISION combined synchronous group learning activities and workshops with asynchronous and independent work and research-related activities. Each trainee had a weekly, one-on-one check-in with a GeoVISION staff member. Below is an example of one of the weeks of GeoVISION. This week included the daily meetings of the Python in Geoscience Research training module and an additional tutorial on X-ray CT scanning. There were also group workshops on aspects of research and professional development twice a week. We also had a social event every week!

An example schedule of a week during GeoVISION 2020. There are timeblocks for Python in Geoscience Research, independent work, professional development workshops and daily check-in meetings.
Schedule of one of the weeks of GeoVISION that included synchronous learning for the training modules, independent research time and group workshops.

Training Modules

Trainees participated in short courses ranging in length from hours to weeks. Faculty and researchers from the JSG dedicated time to help trainees learn tools, concepts and skills relating to data analytics, computer programming and research tools.

Short Courses and Tutorials

  • Introduction to Geostatistics (3 weeks): Associate Professor Michael Pyrcz, Department of Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering and Bureau of Economic Geology
  • Python for Geoscience Research (2 weeks): Dr. Gail Christeson, Senior Research Scientist and Associate Director, UT Institute for Geophysics
  • Remote Sensing in Geoscience (1 week): Assistant Professor Timothy Goudge, Department of Geological Sciences
  • High-Resolution X-ray Computed Tomography in the Natural Sciences (1/2 day): Dr. Jessie Maisano, Manager of the JSG CT Laboratory

Trainee Research Projects

About half of the trainees engaged in guided, independent research during GeoVISION. Below are some of the topics and titles.

  • Alexandra Orona: Global Energy and Water Access
  • Ana Batista: Identifying possible volcanic ash layers from Flourescent Features in UV Mudrock core image using Python
  • Cheyenne Hibbitts: Differences in Probability Distribution of the Channel Belt Width of Meandering and Braided Rivers
  • Daisy Montalvo: Hillslope Geometry
  • Jada Siverand: Understanding Climatological, Lithological, and Morphometric Effects on Lithium Concentrations Catchment Areas
  • Laura Arango: Martian Lake Inlet and Regional Slope Orientation
  • Linda Quintero: Water Quality Study on Texas River Basins
  • Lucero Castaneda: Melting of Marine-Terminating Glaciers in Greenland
  • Naomi de la Torre: Slow-Moving Landslides and their Sediment Contribution to the Eel River
  • Natali Arzola: Topography of Colombia
  • Timothy Maraj: Comparing Widths of Channels on Earth to Outflow Channels and Valleys on Mars

JSG graduate students, postdoctoral scholars, research scientists and faculty served as mentors for trainees.

  • Dr. Antoniette Grima
  • Professor Dan Breecker
  • Assistant Professor Daniella Rempe
  • Esben Pederson
  • Emily Bamber
  • Evan Ramos
  • Evan Sivil
  • Dr. Gaia Stucky de Quay
  • Professor Ginny Catania
  • Mariel Nelson
  • Michelle Tebolt
  • Dr. Ning Lin
  • Dr. Sarah Fakhreddine
  • Dr. Tian Dong
  • Assistant Professor Tim Goudge
  • Dr. Toti Larson

Professional Development Workshops

Twice a week the cohort met for workshops on topics ranging from reading scientific articles to coping with stress to identity in STEM. There were also guest speakers on careers in geoscience, developing your resume and panels on internships in geoscience and applying to graduate school.

Research Rotations

Learners had the opportunity to join JSG research group meetings virtually to explore the variety of research in the geosciences and at the JSG. The following research groups welcomed trainees to their meetings.

  • Professor Bayani Cardenas, with Anna Turetcaia (PhD Candidate)
  • Assistant Professor Daniella Rempe
  • Professor Danny Stockli
  • Professor David Mohrig, with Hima Hassenruck-Gudipati (PhD Candidate)
  • Professor Jay Banner
  • Assistant Professor Melissa Kemp
  • Professor Thorsten Becker and Dr. Antoniette Grima (Postdoctoral Researcher)
  • Ramón Treviño, with the Gulf Coast Carbon Center