Research Opportunities for Two-Year College Students:


UTEP-ROCCS (University of Texas at El Paso - Research Opportunities for Community College Students) is an NSF funded REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) program designed to bring  eight two-year college students interested in the geological sciences of the El Paso area to conduct 4 weeks of research at UTEP followed by a continued 5 weeks of research at their home institutions.  Participants will be paired with undergraduate student mentors and faculty mentors who will assist them with their on-site research.   Faculty from both UTEP and El Paso Community College (EPCC) will be participating as mentors in the program (see below).   Following the on-site portion of the program, participants will maintain contact with their student and faculty mentors via social and internet media to ensure continued progress on their research throughout the summer and beyond.  Participants will have the opportunity to present their research results at a virtual poster session during the fall semester and to then return to El Paso the following spring semester to present a poster at UTEP’s Department of Geological Sciences annual student research colloquium.


During the summer of 2018 research in the UTEP-ROCCS program will focus on Eocene age igneous intrusive rocks that are found on the UTEP campus, at Mt. Cristo Rey, and other nearby sites.  Depending on participant interest, UTEP and EPCC faculty will guide the participants in studies of how the intrusive rocks control more recent geologic structures, use geophysics to determine the subsurface extent of selected geologic outcrops, examine the mineralogy and petrology of rock samples through use of thin sections and microprobe analysis, determine how soil development and erosion vary between soils associated with intrusive rocks and those found in other parts of El Paso, determine if water geochemistry and hydrology is affected by the intrusions, or how available geologic information, photography, and maps could be combined to produce educational materials for local students.  


Faculty involved in the project include:

Diane Doser (UTEP) – Geophysics, Tectonics.

Joshua Villalobos (EPCC) – GIS, Remote Sensing, Structural Geology

Rob Rohrbaugh (EPCC) – Structural Geology

Lin Ma (UTEP) – Hydrology, Aqueous Geochemistry.

Lixin Jin (UTEP) – Soils, Soils Geochemistry.


Participants will guided by different faculty and student mentors, but they will participate in a number of activities that will keep them together as a cohort, including weekend field trips, practice in communicating science to scientists and non-scientists, meetings with local geoscience professionals, workshops, and seminars.  The 4 week program in El Paso will be followed by 5 weeks of off-site research related activities including webinars, writing of abstracts and progress reports, and communication with student mentors and faculty mentors 2 to 3 times/week.  Participants will be guided through the process of submitting abstracts and developing posters on their research for a virtual poster session held during the fall semester and a face-to-face poster session in the spring semester.  This will involve continued communication with mentors (1 time/week) and monthly webinars.


Program duration: 4 weeks in El Paso, 5 weeks at home institution, continued contact required through fall and spring semesters leading to poster presentations

Start Date: June 4, 2018

End Date:  March 31, 2019

Deadline for application:  January 31, 2018

Note:  Students are expected to arrive in El Paso on Monday, June 4, 2018 and depart on Saturday, June 30, 2018.  


Two-year college students admitted to the program will receive:

  • $500/week for 9 weeks 
  • Housing in shared apartments
  • Travel reimbursement to/from El Paso of up to $600


Opportunities for Undergraduate Students from UTEP in UTEP-ROCCS Program:

We are seeking up to four undergraduate mentors from UTEP for the program who will assist faculty mentors and two-year college participants for 4 weeks in June followed by involvement in virtual mentoring of 2-year college participants for the month of July. Mentors will be required participate in bi-weekly meetings during the spring 2018 semester and a half-day workshop in March, as well as to enroll in the zero-credit RSRC 4033 for the spring and summer semester. Mentors will be expected to participate in all on-site activities scheduled from 7 AM to 4 PM Monday through Friday during the 4 week June session.  At least two of the four mentors will be expected to attend weekend field trips and other activities during June. All Mentors will also be expected to participate in virtual mentoring activities in the month of July.  


Program Duration: 9 weeks in summer plus training and workshop during spring semester

Start Date: January 22, 2018

End Date: August 4, 2018

Application Deadline:  December 18, 2017


Undergraduate student mentors accepted for the program will receive:


  • Stipends of $500/week for 4.5 weeks (June) and $250/week for 4.5 weeks (July)
  • (lower July stipends reflect reduced responsibilities)