Earth & Planetary Science

Stonehill’s Earth & Planetary Science (EPS) Program is led by professors with broad expertise that includes geophysics, geochemistry, oceanography, climate science and computational methods. The program is interdisciplinary, a collaboration between the Physics, Chemistry, Environmental Science, and Mathematics departments.

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NASA Internship Paves the Way to a Galaxy of Opportunities

Ashley Horan ’15 had been captivated by the night sky since she was a little girl and when Professor Alessandro Massarotti saw her promise as an astrophysicist he guided her to a constellation of opportunities that allowed her to explore her passion to its fullest.

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Earth & Planetary Science bachelor of science: The new program is meant to serve students with a strong interest in math, physics, chemistry and computational methods applied to planetary sciences, who wish to pursue technical careers (e.g. traditional/alternative energy industries) or graduate studies at research universities with strong earth and planetary science programs. 

The major would be useful to those wishing to pursue advanced degrees in areas such as:

  • Planetology and space exploration
  • Planetary astrophysics
  • Geology/geophysics
  • Earth’s evolution
  • Climate modeling
  • Meteorology

Competitive Advantages

All degree programs associated with the Department of Physics & Astronomy, including the Earth & Planetary Science Program, offer students access to Stonehill’s partnership with the University or Rochester Institute of Optics, a leading institution in the fields of physics and engineering. Technologies deriving from the study of optics are widely used in the geosciences, including satellite prospecting, seismic wave tomography, and many other applications.  Students who obtain their Stonehill degree with a 3.6 GPA average (amenable to 3.4 in special cases) are directly admitted to a master of science program at the Institute of Optics after graduating from Stonehill.

Resources

Students have the opportunity to do summer research with faculty, often as part of the Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE).  This work includes the use of a faculty/student lab, as well as an advanced computer that was recently built by two of our majors.

As part of an early introduction to research, those students who are interested in astrophysics and geophysics can join one of our faculty members in the summer of their sophomore and junior years, as well as the spring semester of the junior year, doing work at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Internship and Career Opportunities

Places where Stonehill graduates have recently completed internships and/or launched careers include:

  • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
  • NASA

Research Opportunities 

Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience

This is an opportunity for students who have completed their first year at Stonehill to perform significant, publishable, full-time research under the guidance of and in collaboration with an experienced faculty researcher.

Recent projects

  • Ashley Horan ’15 conducted research with Professor Alessandro Massarotti at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, expanding on Professor Massarotti’s ongoing work on computer simulations of rocky planets’ interiors.

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