Frequently asked questions about the IRES program

Q. What are these research projects about?

A. In the past, IRES students traveled to Slovakia and collected a wide variety of rocks associated with the development of the country’s ore deposits and high mountain ranges. The primary scientific focus of the IRES research is for students to constrain interpretations of the development of the Slovak portion of the western Carpathian Mountains as the ancient oceans closed. Students will be tasked to understand and decipher the origin and tectonic history of its metamorphic and igneous assemblages. The region has been the focus of studies seeking to understand the origin and geochemical evolution of rare-metal granites (Li–Sn–W–Nb–Ta–B–F) and the relationship of these granites to generating important ore deposits. Valuable commodities located within the western Carpathian Mountains played essential roles in medieval economies and continues to the present day. We aim that students will conduct original research involving state-of-the-art technology that is integral to geological applications to rocks collected by previous IRES students. Which research topics students will work on depends on the student’s research interests and will be discussed in the interview.

Q. Do you prefer academic/professor or work references?

A. We prefer academic/professor recommendations, but if this is not possible, we are open to any person who would have knowledge of any of the following: your academic responsibilities, abilities that might be important in doing research, maturity, and motivation, how you well to relate to peers, and communication skills.

Q. I just transferred to UT Austin this semester. Does this program apply to transfer students?

A. Yes, transfer students are welcome to apply.

Q. How are students selected?

No preferential treatment is given for students associated with specific research groups. Each student who applies to the program will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • overall GPA and grades in geology courses
  • prior research experiences
  • letters of recommendation
  • input from the Jackson School Undergraduate Advisor and/or GeoFORCE Director
  • underrepresented status
  • personal interviews
  • degree of commitment to the program
  • selection involves a required 30-minute interview.

Q. Can you provide more information about COVID safety?

Students who participate in the research project on campus will be required to follow all university COVID guidelines to be able to operate physically on the UT Austin campus. This includes laboratory social distancing and regular COVID testing. As university guidelines can frequently change, we can answer this question in more detail as time for research nears. Our goal is for students to operate in the laboratories and conduct in-person training as much as possible and as is safe. Regular Zoom meetings with IRES cohort will also occur.