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Scientific Workshops in Karst Science

The science-based student workshops will be partly classroom-based and partly field-based. The classroom-based portion will consist of a presentations by mentors or other specialists in the field. To broaden the diversity of speakers, we will draw on experts from USGS, Virginia Cave Board, and Virginia Speleological Survey, and Virginia Department of Transportation. Seven presentations will cover the following topic areas (specific topics will depend on the participating speakers):

  1. Overview of karst terrain (speleology, time, surface, scale, rocks, sediments, structure, classification of karst systems)
  2. Karst water (distribution, movement, tracer studies, contamination, water chemistry, ecosystems)
  3. Caves through time (speleogenesis, geological and hydrological controls on evolution, paleoclimate)
  4. Land management (geotechnical studies, sinkholes, subsidence, and siltation)
Potential Social Activities
  • Rock climbing and swimming at the JMU Recreation Center
  • Tour of the local Grand Caverns (with Biology REU students)
  • JMU Teamwork Ropes Course
  • Canoeing/Kayaking trip down the Shenandoah River
  • Painting class at Harrisonburg’s Pale Fire Brewery
  • Trip through Shenandoah National Park
  • Visit to the local White Oak Lavender Farm
  • Visit to museums of the Smithsonian Institution
  • Visit to Virginia’s Safari Park (with Biology REU students)
Activity & Workshop Goals
  • Develop research comprehension and communication
  • Develop practical research skills
  • Understand and employ ethical research practices
  • Build identity as a researcher in the geosciences or other karst related STEM discipline
  • Develop researcher self-efficacy and independence
  • Develop equity and inclusion awareness and skills
  • Develop professional and career development skills
  • Build community with other peers and mentors and a sense of belongingness in the geosciences or other karst-related STEM disciplines

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