The Paul Edwin Potter Internship program

May 8 to Aug. 18, 2023

A generous bequest from the late Dr. Paul Edwin Potter (1925-2020) established a summer internship program at the Indiana Geological and Water Survey (IGWS) in 2022. The program pairs IGWS mentors with undergraduate and graduate students interested in geoscience research related to Indiana.

Dr. Potter was a longtime supporter of the IGWS and strongly believed in mentoring young scientists. During his lengthy career as a geologist and professor of geology, Dr. Potter made significant contributions to the fields of sedimentology and stratigraphy. He conducted research and mentored staff at the state geological surveys of Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. Dr. Potter enjoyed a long tenure as a professor of geology at both Indiana University-Bloomington and the University of Cincinnati.

Paul Potter Internship program participants will collaborate with IGWS mentors on summer research projects. Project topics include petrophysical data transcription, geologic unit correlation, hydrogeology sample collection, collections digitization, and educational outreach. Interns will practice data and physical sample management, responsible conduct of research, abstract writing and publication preparation, and academic and career networking. The program will culminate in a poster presentation at the Paul Edwin Potter Internship showcase at the IGWS.

Each Potter intern will receive:

  • Up to $250 travel assistance
  • $20/hour for 40 hours/week
  • $200/week for housing and meals

The IGWS seeks to increase diversity within the geosciences and welcomes people of all different backgrounds, experiences, abilities and perspectives. Individuals from non-traditional backgrounds, historically marginalized, or underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

Eligibility and application

The Paul Edwin Potter Internship is intended for “worthy and deserving geology students and other persons involved in high school, college, or post-graduate master’s education (excluding Ph.D candidates) in the field of geology.”

Eligible applicants are:

  • undergraduate or master’s-level students;
  • interested in Indiana geoscience and/or related fields such as environmental science, geography, information science, museum curation, and science education; and
  • able to commit 40 hours per week for 4 to 10 consecutive weeks.

This internship is open to all current undergraduate or master's-level students eligible to work in the United States. To apply, please go to or email a copy of your resume, cover letter, and preferred project(s) to with a subject line of “Paul Edwin Potter Internship.”

Important dates (2023):

  • March 17: Applications due (apply by email or
  • March 31: Acceptance notifications sent
  • May 8-Aug. 18: Internship dates (4 to 10 consecutive weeks)

Project options

The IGWS seeks four (4) interns for 2023. Applicants will choose from the following projects:

Review of geological and petrophysical data for energy storage opportunities

This project will introduce a student to the issues of energy storage in Cambrian and Ordovician rocks. The activities will involve collecting data from scanned geological and geophysical reports and putting them into formats that can be imported into geologic mapping software. In addition, data will be checked for accuracy and duplication and plotted for analysis.

Improving correlations of Pennsylvanian rock units in Indiana

This project will introduce a student to correlations of coals, shales, and limestones in Indiana. It will involve reviewing existing data and identifying the gaps in knowledge of unit correlations. It also will include preparing samples, working in a laboratory, and identifying organic matter components under microscope.

Groundwater quantity and quality data collection

This project will introduce a student to issues related to groundwater quantity and quality in Indiana. It will involve making field visits to Indiana Water Balance Network and the National Ground Water Monitoring Network sites, acquiring and processing data, collecting water samples, maintaining equipment, and analyzing hydrologic/hydrogeologic measurements. This internship will give a student tangible experience with water wells, springs, laboratory analysis, and sensors, as well as utilizing ArcGIS or database software.

Digitizing the Lithologic Strip Collection for entry into the Digital Asset Management System

This project will introduce a student to collections digitization and metadata entry. The IGWS’s lithologic strips of Indiana's subsurface units are physically located in Bloomington but are digitally inaccessible. We will digitize thousands of lithologic strips using an overhead scanner and make them available in the online IGWS Digital Collections ( by entering metadata to describe the images in our digital asset management system.

Economic minerals educational StoryMap

This project will introduce a student to the interpretation of economic geology for public outreach. It will involve researching and developing educational and creative content for an IGWS StoryMap related to the minerals used in everyday life. The product will focus on the production and uses of aggregate, critical minerals, and rare earth elements for a general public audience.

Indiana fossils educational StoryMap

This project will introduce a student to the interpretation of fossils and geologic time for public outreach. It will involve researching and developing educational and creative content for an IGWS StoryMap related to common Indiana fossils. The product will focus on common taxa, modes of preservation, and environmental conditions throughout geologic time for a general public audience.