Undergrad chosen for prestigious research internship in Japan

Dominic Papia. Photo by C. Lagattuta.

UC Santa Cruz undergraduate Dominic Papia has been selected for a prestigious summer internship at one of Japan's premier research centers, the Institute for Study of Earth's Interior (ISEI) at Okayama University in Misasa, Japan.

The first American chosen for this international internship program, Papia will be one of ten interns from various countries working closely with ISEI faculty members this summer on active research projects in areas such as geochemistry and mineral physics. According to James Gill, professor of Earth and planetary sciences at UCSC, the ISEI laboratories are among the best in the world in these fields.

Papia, a junior with a combined major in environmental studies and Earth and planetary sciences, is currently enrolled in Gill's course on magmas and volcanoes. Gill told his students about the internship at the beginning of the quarter, and Papia decided to apply.

"I've always wanted to go to Japan," he said. "I'm looking forward to the cultural experience as well as the research experience."

Papia will spend six weeks in Misasa, a hot springs resort town, conducting research at ISEI in the area of geochemistry and geochronology. When he returns to UCSC for his senior year, Papia hopes to work with Gill on a senior thesis project that builds on his internship experience. Beyond that, he is considering going to graduate school to study igneous petrology (rocks of volcanic origin).

Papia credits Gill's course with sparking his interest in Earth sciences research. "The class has really opened my eyes up to this field and inspired me to go in a new direction," he said.