Swashzone Processes Student Fellowship
OverviewThe aim of these 6-month-long fellowships is to introduce undergraduate students to nearshore field research and to scientific studies by conducting research projects with Dr. Britt Raubenheimer. Students will gain skills in formulating hypotheses, conducting background research, collecting field observations, writing scientific computer programs, analyzing time series, and defending their conclusions. The 6-month period allows time for students to read the literature, to learn the computer analysis and programming techniques that will be necessary to conduct the data analysis, to develop a detailed research plan, to assist in a field experiment, and to analyze the data.
Who is EligibleSwashzone Processes Student Fellowships are awarded to undergraduate students who have completed their junior or senior year at colleges or universities and who have studied a physical science (e.g., geology, geophysics, physics), mathematics, or engineering.
Selection ProcessFellows will be selected on a competitive basis, with final decisions based on (i) the applicant's previous academic and scientific achievements, (ii) recommendations from professors and research advisors, and (iii) the expected benefit of a research fellowship to aid the applicant in making future career decisions. Although fellows are not required to have taken any specific courses, knowledge of fluid dynamics, physics, and computer programming are useful. Collecting field observations may require physical endurance and persistence, and thus a history of physical activity (e.g., participation in sports and outdoor jobs) is preferred.
Choosing a ProjectPrevious projects have focused on tidal flat processes. Fellows spent the initial 3 months of the fellowship assisting with data collection on the tidal flats in Skagit Bay, near La Conner, WA, learning about the instrumentation and background material on the relevant processes. During the final 3 months of the fellowships, students concentrated on individual projects, which may be conducted at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Projects could include: Investigations of processes driving circulation and sediment transport on tidal flats, examination of wave processes on the flats, evaluation of GPS data, analysis of the spatial structure of near-surface temperature and salinity, or evaluations and testing of instrumentation. For further information on the research of Dr. Raubenheimer and her colleagues, please see PVLAB website.
Prior Swashzone Fellows have:
- Collected and analyzed fluid velocities in the swashzone, the region of the beach covered and uncovered by waves, during the Nearshore Canyon Experiment (NCEX).
- Shown that sand level changes (erosion and accretion) observed during NCEX were owing primarily to alongshore and temporal variations in wave peakiness.
- Worked with the manufacturer of a flow meter to enable the sensor to measure the distance to the sandy bottom, tested the modified sensor in the ocean, and developed software to output a time series of bottom location.
- Measured fluid velocities and sand level changes on the beach to determine the processes affecting the evolution of a man-made hole (approximating a bomb crater).
Program RequirementsAt the end of the fellowship, each student is expected to prepare a written report describing his or her research and to make a public oral presentation of his or her results.
Financial MattersSwashzone Processes Student Fellowship awards for 2009 carry a stipend of $450 per week for a 6-month period, plus a housing allowance (WHOI housing is not guaranteed). Additional support will be provided to cover research expenses.
Application SubmissionInterested candidates should send a copy of their resume and contact information (phone and email) for three references to:
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
266 Woods Hole Rd
Woods Hole, MA 02543
Applications are due by February 15.