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MURI Program: Advancing Environmental Research and Communication to Communities

DUE is home to IEL and the CRL which is administering the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Institute (MURI) both in the academic year and the summer, which creates and supports multidisciplinary research teams consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, senior staff and faculty. The primary purpose of these teams is to provide undergraduates a unique opportunity to gain research skills by working with mentors on real world problems.

Overview of department:
The Department of Earth Sciences is a highly interdisciplinary and student-focused program, which embraces broad collaborations among faculty and student researchers in various environmental areas.

Project summary:
We seek motivated individuals to join our research lab this summer to investigate lead pollution in soils, worms, and robins throughout Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana. This research project provides an opportunity to address issues of environmental justice in Indiana and better understand how the toxic metal lead is transferred throughout ecosystems. Additionally, educational curriculum and materials will be developed to increase awareness and education among Indianapolis children and adults regarding effective management of lead pollution. I am hiring up to five students to fill this role.

Specific tasks that the MURI student will complete: 

Depending on the focus area of each specific student, the range of tasks may include:
  1. Field sampling of soils, dust, and worms
  2. Picking up samples from university and community partners, and logging these samples into our system
  3. Processing and analyzing samples using geochemical and electron microscope techniques
  4. Producing maps and visuals of results and processes for public presentations
  5. Coordinating with and communicating with community partners
  6. Recording oral histories and making site observations
  7. Developing curricular outcomes and lesson plans for schools

Specific qualifications (knowledge, skills, class standing, etc) we desire the MURI candidate to have:

Specifically, we seek diverse applicants from all backgrounds, cultures, and experiences with interest in solving environmental problems. Areas of educational experience that may be particularly useful for this project include, but are not limited to: youth teaching and education, software development, web design/social media outreach, data management, chemistry, earth science and geology, biology/ecology, english and communication.

Learning objectives:
By the end of this position assignment, the student will meet the following learning objectives

Students will:
  1. Become proficient at environmental sampling and analysis
  2. Be able to articulate the importance of environmental health and justice to colleagues and the public