Enhancing computational geoscience participation and training with the MTMOD project

Monday 4:30pm-6:00pm SERC Building - Atrium | Poster #6
Poster Session Part of Monday Poster Session


Dana Thomas, The University of Texas at Austin
Dunyu Liu, The University of Texas at Austin
Thorsten W Becker, The University of Texas at Austin
Alice Gabriel, University of California-San Diego
Shuoshuo Han, The University of Texas at Austin
Kaj Johnson, Indiana University-Bloomington
Luc Lavier, The University of Texas at Austin
Dave May, University of California-San Diego
Demian Saffer, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
Daniel Trugman, The University of Texas at Austin
Laura Wallace, The University of Texas at Austin

The Megathrust Modeling Framework (MTMOD) project is an NSF-supported Frontier Research in Earth Sciences (FRES) project connecting domain scientists, education leads, and research support staff, and a number of international collaborators and students at academic institutions and geological surveys. MTMOD focuses on how to improve and connect structural and dynamic models of megathrust earthquake occurrence in light of improving physics based modeling toward seismic hazard assessment.

Educational initiatives embedded in the project are intended to 1) create pathways for geoscience and other STEM students to enter the field of computational geoscience and correspondingly enrich the wider geoscience community, 2) increase the capacity of current graduate students to use advanced computational methods for earthquake science, and 3) foster active, "real-time" collaboration amongst PIs to model and cultivate interdisciplinary research. Since 2022, the major activities to accomplish these goals have been involving STEM undergraduates in mentored summer research projects, training undergraduates in basic computing and putting on project-based "summer schools," in which groups of graduate students and undergraduate students spend a week conducting research on MTMOD-related problems.

This presentation will provide an overview of the elements needed to design and deliver the related programming, including personnel, funding, collaborations with other student-facing programs and institutions, recruiting strategy, educational design and cohort-building activities. Tracking of student outcomes is ongoing, and we will present results to date. We welcome ideas from and discussion with geoscience education researchers for investigations to pursue surrounding teamwork, problem-based learning and impact of activities on sense of belonging and persistence in geoscience. We hope for this conversation to contribute to related, broader discussions from how to broaden participation and representation in increasingly more quantitative undergraduate geoscience programs to providing sustained cohort training in multidisciplinary research at the graduate level.