California Institute of Technology
Seismological Laboratory Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences

Earthquake Fellows

Calling High School Sophomores and Juniors from nearby schools in Alhambra, Pasadena and Los Angeles Unified

Become a
Caltech Earthquake Fellow!

Join our 4 month program to understand the science of earthquakes, learn how to measure them, and gain the skills needed to succeed in university settings.

Students may apply to this program who attend one of our partner schools. For a list of partner schools, please click here.

Applications are now closed

Fellowship runs May to August on selected Saturdays plus a month of weekdays in the summer (July), and Fellows receive a computer to keep as well as a stipend for hours worked.


For Students:

Program Overview:

In May to August of 2024, you’ll have the opportunity to be a High School Earthquake Fellow at Caltech’s Seismological Laboratory. Work with and learn from the leading earthquake scientists, researchers, engineers, and technicians in Southern California. This three-part program, comprised of 4-hours each day on 3 Saturdays in the Spring, 19 weekdays in the Summer, and 2 Saturdays at the End-of-Summer, provides current high school sophomores and juniors with instruction and experiences that help them gain the skills to succeed in university settings. All accepted Fellows will also receive a stipend, a computer, and transportation to a field experience. By the time the fellowship is completed in August 2024, Fellows will have learned the basic science of earthquakes, computer skills such as recording data and plotting the results, critical thinking skills to analyze the data, and gained exposure to the geology of Los Angeles, experience of the research process, public speaking and poster presentation skills.

The Fellowship program will run on the following dates:

  1. Part 1: May - June

The first part will take place on three Saturday mornings towards the end of the school year, with two in-person lessons and one in-person field trip.

  1. Part 2: July

The more in-depth second part would occur for 4 weeks during the summer, and students will build a basic seismometer, install it in their homes or schools, and learn the computer skills to monitor the data and map their results.

  1. Part 3: August 

The third part will be two Saturdays at the End-of-Summer. The students will have the data from their seismometers and from the network catalog and will prepare posters of what they have seen with their instruments. The sessions will involve presentations from the students about the data.

Application Process
Apply by simply filling out the online application. All high school students from Pasadena Unified and Alhambra Unified are welcome to apply and will be considered. Students will be expected to have completed three years of high school math or up to and including Integrated Math III. Priority will be given to students who come from backgrounds that tend to be underrepresented in STEM fields and to students who want to explore and understand the Earth around them. Decisions on applications will be made by late April 2024.

For Adults (parents, guardians, and teachers):

What qualifications they need: Students don’t need to be science experts, they just have to be interested in learning! They should show drive and commitment to the program.

The program is a mix between presentations, student discussion, a field trip, and project work. The focus of the project content will be around data analysis and creating instrumentation.  The program will take place primarily on the Caltech campus, and fellows would have to transport themselves to the campus. For any field trips, transportation would be provided. The Fellows are given a new computer for them to use and then keep. The total time commitment of a fellow is about 130 hours.

For questions or inquiries, please conatct Ariel Raymond.

Benefits to Fellows:

  1. A personal computer to take to college and use in the future
  2. Stipend when the full program has been completed
  3. Real experience working on Caltech’s campus
  4. Have a researcher-guided group project
  5. Instruction by leading earthquake experts
  6. College-application worthy experience
  7. Public Speaking training

Expectation of Fellows:

  1. Attend all 25 sessions - be on time and stay until the end
  2. Transport themselves to and from Caltech
  3. Actively participate in programs, discussions, and projects
  4. Do approximately 30 hours of work outside of the program
  5. Complete projects on time
  6. The total time commitment of a fellow is about 130 hours