Student research: I am a research advisor for typically ~5-10 students per year. In my team I mentor students from LA-area community colleges and public universities as well as out of state and international institutions. In collaboration with university professors, I supervise thesis research and serve on thesis committees. My undergraduate and graduate students publish papers in scientific journals and present at national and international conferences. I encourage and support the students that I work with to pursue careers in academia, industry, government labs, teaching, communication / outreach, or wherever their interests may take them.
Typically I fill summer internship positions in the fall; spots are limited and it is fine to contact me more than a year in advance. I also welcome interns in fall and spring who work 20-40 hours/week while going to school. Sometimes I have funding for a student to work on one of my funded projects; sometimes students have their own funding from a fellowship or their university and that can enable them to work on a more independent project.
Tips for emailing me for research opportunities:
Pathways in STEM (active)
Marianne Smith (Citrus College, PI), Laurie Barge (JPL, Co-PI), Paul Webster (Oak Crest, Co-PI)
Pathways in STEM is a five-year project funded by the National Science Foundation awarded in 2019 to improve STEM education and broaden participation in STEM for community college students. This new program builds on the previous successes and lessons learned from Bridge to the Geosciences, and will offer an expanded program that operates through a collaborative, cross-sector partnership model that will provide students and faculty with year-round, extracurricular STEM-related experiences. Pathways in STEM will serve 300 students, who will participate in one of three themed cohorts: Geosciences; Engineering, Physics, Mathematics & Computer Sciences; and Biology and Chemistry. The program will include a science communication component, introduce students to subfields within their disciplines, and introduce students to internships and research opportunities. The project team has already created partnerships with corporate, non-profit, and government organizations that will participate in this project, including Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, City of Hope, CSU Fullerton, Packet, MillerCoors Brewing, The Explainables, and The Right Question Institute.
Peer Mentoring for MSI Student Pathways in STEM (2023-2024)
Laurie Barge (JPL PI), Arezoo Khodayari (Cal State LA PI)
This is a project funded by the JPL Center for Academic Partnerships program. Our objectives are to 1) conduct a pilot round of a peer-to-peer mentoring program for MSI students; 2) create a plan for how this peer-to-peer mentoring program will be integrated into previously successful and currently funded programs geared at increasing MSI student participation in STEM. We will leverage our prior projects to formalize a peer to peer mentoring activity that can serve as an asset for future STEM students. We will test pilot programs to provide mentoring in two areas: 1) the community college to 4-year degree transfer, 2) the Bachelors or Master’s degree transfer to Ph.D program. The outcomes of this project will form the basis for future proposals to fund student experiences among the participating institutions.
Developing Student Pipelines in Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences (2022)
Laurie Barge (JPL PI), Arezoo Khodayari (Cal State LA PI)
This was a project funded through the JPL Minority Serving Institute program. In this project we proposed to develop a professional development plan for students in CSULA's College of Engineering, Computer Science, and Technology (ECST) who are interested in career opportunities related to planetary science, to gain connections and skills that would help them get future internship opportunities related to planetary missions and/or astrobiology. In order to spark career interest in planetary science among undergraduate environmental science & engineering majors, we have focused on developing ways to more strongly relate planetary science with environmental science and civil engineering (e.g., development of wastewater treatment technologies inspired by origin of life chemistry). This pilot project concluded in 2022, and led to us writing proposals to expand this into a peer to peer mentoring program that would link students at LA-area community colleges, with students in the CSU campuses, with students at University of California PhD granting institutions.
Bridge to the Geosciences (2015 - 2019)
Marianne Smith (Citrus College, PI), Laurie Barge (JPL, Co-PI), Valerie Sloan (UCAR, Co-PI)
Bridge to the Geosciences was a project funded by the National Science Foundation awarded in 2015, designed to provide students from Citrus College (a Hispanic-serving two-year public community college in LA county) an opportunity to explore the possibilities the geosciences hold for all STEM majors. Over the course of a year, each Bridge to the Geosciences cohort participated in four distinct experiences or "geomodules" organized around different subfields of the geosciences including the planetary, atmospheric, ocean and environmental sciences. In Year 1, the geomodules included a day at the Oak Crest Institute of Science, a day at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a weekend at the USC Wrigley Center on Catalina Island, and a 10-day "mini-internship" at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) in Boulder, CO. The program also included a focus on mentoring, education and career advice, community-building and networking.
Presentation by Marianne Smith at the American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting in Seattle, January 2017: "Partnering for Diversity: A Year-Round Experiential Learning Project to Engage Community College Students in the Geosciences". Watch recording here