University News

WIU Senior Conducting Research Through Two Science Internships

June 15, 2017

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University senior geology and physics major Ben Grober, of Peoria, IL, has been chosen for a prestigious double summer internship with the United States Geological Survey (USGS), working with the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) and the Student Interns in Support of Native American Relations (SISNAR).

Through the SISNAR program, Grober is currently in Oregon conducting research with the Geophysics Unit of Menlo Park, CA, working for the Umatilla tribe. The work involves studying a specific area in search of potential geothermal resources.

"There are many parts to this survey," said Grober. "For my part, I am working on the gravity survey. I use a gravimeter to measure the change in gravity between locations. This information can then be used to locate faults where geothermal fluids can flow. There are about 1,600 locations that need to be measured. I work about 12 hours a day driving to different locations to get the gravity measurements."

The SISNAR program awards between 8-10 internships per year and pays for interns to participate in USGS research on, or involving, tribal lands.

The research group will be in Oregon for about two weeks and will then compile the data from the various surveys to create a map of potential geothermal resources.

"I am enjoying my work so far," Grober said of his internship. "It has been a great experience for me. I have gotten to travel through much of the West and gotten to know a lot of good people."

Through the NAGT program, Grober will spend time in Menlo Park, again doing geophysical investigations related to geothermal, mineral and water resources and natural hazards. Grober is one of about 50 student interns awarded the opportunity for summer research.

The cooperative summer field training program was launched in 1965 in an effort to support a stronger connection to higher education.

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