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Company/Organization: Borehole Research Group
Mentor(s):Gerardo Iturrino, Walter Masterson
Topic of Internship
The Borehole Research Group is located at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in Palisades, New York. This research group uses down-hole geophysical measurements for a wide variety of scientific investigations. Such investigations include sea level variations, pale-oceanography, flow of fluids through fractured rocks, thermal and mechanical properties of the oceanís igneous crust, and the properties of natural gas hydrates. In addition, BRG not only investigates but also is actively involved in the development of tools and techniques to proceed with the previously mentioned down-hole investigations.
Summary of Internship
As a person who is passionate about anything related to science, technology, mathematics and/or engineering, I am glad to have an internship with the Borehole Research Group. BRG is divided into scientific investigation, engineering/tool development, information technology, and administration. These departments certainly encompass many aspects of STEM that range from what I have learned in my chemistry and physics classes to more complex and specialized studies of oceanography. As an intern, I have had my own experiences with two of the divisions of the BRG, scientific investigation and engineering/tool development, while being mentored by Gerardo and Walter.
I have had the opportunity to take on the role of a scientific investigator, like the role of my mentor Gerardo, who plans science and operations programs to meet the objectives during scientific expeditions, goes on expeditions to collect the data, processes the results, plots up graphs from data collected during the expeditions, interprets the graphs, and makes hypothesis on what has occurred in the area investigated. This is the job of most of the scientists at the BRG. During my own experience as a scientific investigator I used the data of an Integrated Ocean Drilling Program expedition to which my mentor Gerardo went, called Shatsky Rise expedition that took place in the southeast of Japan. I plotted up several records of data including natural gamma ray radiation, the shape of the hole that was drilled in that area, the velocity of sound among the rocks of that area, the bulk density of the subsurface rocks, the varying temperatures in that area, among other data to hypothesize on long lasting volcanic eruptions had occurred and whether the soil had been fractured. During this experience I had the opportunity to learn how to use graphing programs, combine all my graphs neatly with graphics editors, utilize my knowledge in science to understand what the graphs showed and use what I had learned from Gerardo about geophysics to make my hypothesis.
Another aspect of my internship included taking on the role of tool developer that is more of a hands-on engineering and technical experience. My mentor Walter develops the cylindrical tools that go down-hole to collect the data used for the scientific investigations. Therefore, his role and that of other tool developers is to create efficient and accurate tools to achieve the objective for the science group. During my experience as a tool developer, I have done tasks such as developing electronic circuits including soldering cables on real tools, which have been very didactic. These experiences allowed me to learn about general circuits and applications of physics in the real world. Also, I learned basic skills of a technician such as soldering, which also require skill and practice.
As an intern at the Borehole Research Group, I have been among very intelligent, didactic and experienced people who have offered me great opportunities to confirm that I am going in the right direction in terms of my career plans. I am grateful for this and would encourage anyone who has a passion for STEM to be an intern at the BRG.
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