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Intern Spotlight: Shradhanjli Ravikumar (RESESS)

Tags: internships

This summer we’re introducing interns from URISE, RESESS, Student Career, and Geo-Launchpad programs to highlight their research projects and how EarthScope programs further their career goals.

Shradha Ravikumar is a second year RESESS intern, and she graduated from Arizona State in the spring with a major in astrobiology and biogeosciences and a minor in astrophysics. Last summer, Shradha worked at Colorado School of Mines to examine groundwater-surface water interactions in the Fraser Experimental Forest. The aim of the project was to determine which areas along the watershed were most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As a mineral physicist, Shradha was far more accustomed to lab work as opposed to long days in the field. However, the experience pushed her out of her comfort zone, and she thoroughly enjoyed her outdoor summer in Colorado.

This summer, Shradha is working at Georgia Tech University in Atlanta analyzing the changing depths of mid-ocean ridges over time. Mid-ocean ridges are often accompanied by hydrothermal vents, and extensive water-rock interactions at these vents create an environment of thriving microbe ecosystems. Many speculate that life may have begun at mid-ocean ridge sites, and thus understanding what they looked like millions of years ago is important to understand how complex chemical pathways may have developed.


  • Why did you decide to come back for a second year?

I really enjoyed how much EarthScope supported their interns with professional development and community building. If you’re doing a summer of intense research, you need both aspects: you can’t just be locked in a lab all day. You need to be interacting with people and, thankfully, I feel like this program really gives you both. Since I’m taking two gap years before returning to graduate school, I still wanted the support and professional development in the summer leading up to getting a job.

  • What are your interests outside of geoscience?

I really enjoy electric guitar. Obviously I don’t have it with me now because I can’t take it on a plane, but I enjoy it when I get to play. I was also on the theater board for all four years of college, and I was the head of stage management. I really loved doing that. I love playing video games, but specifically the chill ones like Animal Crossing.

At the conclusion of her internship, Shradha will be moving to New York City to begin a research fellowship at Columbia University. At Columbia, Shradha will pursue research that explores the mineral physics of ice. After she completes her research fellowship, Shradha plans to get a PhD in geophysics and pursue a career in academia.