JMU – USGS - DMME Youth Initiative Program in Earth Sciences



The Department of Geology & Environmental Science at James Madison University is offering an engaging and immersive experience for rising high school sophomores and juniors in Virginia, where they will gain first-hand experience with field and laboratory techniques in the geosciences.  Simultaneously, these students will be guided in the development of geoscience thinking skills through the generation of individualized research projects.   Students selected for participation will have a demonstrable capacity for abstract thinking, and have reached a level of academic maturity suitable for integrating quantitative skills. 


This program is a two-week residential course, concentrating on field and laboratory investigations in Earth and environmental science, with long-term follow-up through mentored individual research experiences during the academic year. Participating students will be able to present of their findings at Virginia Junior Academy of Sciences.  Rising high school sophomores and juniors who have just completed Earth science or Biology and are enthusiastic about the natural sciences (Earth, life, and environmental), will work with JMU faculty in geology & environmental science and staff scientists from Virginia Division of Mines, Minerals, & Energy and US Geological Survey.


Held at JMU from June 10-23 at JMU, the 20 participants will travel to sites of particular geologic and environmental interest in the Virginia mountains, piedmont, and coastal plain, analyzing their collected materials and data on-campus at JMU.  Participants will be housed in a JMU dormitory for the duration of the course, with JMU Geology/Earth Science students serving as mentors and counselors.  All meals and social activities will be provided to the participants while on campus.  A modest tuition of $200 will be required of each participant.


If you know a student that would be interested, willing, and able to participate in this program, please share the application with them.  All applications must be received by March 31st, with notifications to follow very soon afterwards.  If there are any questions, please contact Dr. Eric Pyle at 540.568.7115 or  Download an application at this link: