Accessible Earth

Accessible Earth
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Dates, Deadlines, and Costs
TermApp DeadlineStart DateEnd DateCost
SummerFebruary 25late Juneearly AugustBudget
Program Information
  • GPA
  • 2.5
  • Language of Instruction
  • English
  • Foreign Language Requirement
  • No
  • Class Eligibility
  • Graduate, Junior, Senior
  • Program Open To
  • UA and Non-UA Students
  • Credit Type
  • UA Direct Credit
  • Level of Study
  • Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Housing Options
  • Apartment
  • Program Type
  • UA Faculty-led
Program Overview

This fully accessible program focuses on applications of Earth observation systems and data science technologies to problems in geoscience. It is based in the Umbrian hilltop city of Orvieto, an exceptional location from which to reflect upon the history of science, and gain an appreciation of the global scope of modern Earth observation systems.


Tentative 2019 dates: TBD


GEOS 405/505: 6 units

Students will learn to use several software tools for acquiring, analyzing, and interpreting Earth observation data sets, including data transfer protocols, Bash and Python shell scripting, Generic Mapping Tools, iPython/Jupyter notebooks for interactive analysis and documentation, git and GitHub for source control, scientific collaboration, and social networking, and other software tools that are empowering modern scientific discovery.

From Orvieto, students will have ample opportunities to immerse themselves in Italian culture and history, as well as develop ideas for how to utilize 21st century technologies to further our understanding of the Earth system. A five-day field trip will touch on a wide range of Geoscience and related topics, including the tectonic history of the Mediterranean region, the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary, the enigmatic geodynamics of the Northern Apennines orogen, past and present coastal hazards along the Adriatic coast, contemporary Geoscience processes in the Alps, Ötzi the Neolithic iceman, and other topics.

Students will participate in a series of extracurricular activities geared toward increasing awareness of diversity among individuals and cultures, and their relationship to the physical environment, as well as developing skills for science communication and teaching. Topics to be covered include broader impacts of Geoscience, opportunities for community outreach, principles of Universal Design for Learning, and the role that technology plays in education, communication, and inclusivity. 


Dr. Rick Bennett is committed to increasing the number of underrepresented students in Geoscience fields, especially students with disabilities. Traditionally, many subfields of Geoscience required fieldwork in remote and inaccessible terrain.  However, as technology and Geoscience fields have evolved, opportunities to conduct cutting-edge research using satellite- and ground-based instruments has simultaneously increased the scope of the Geoscience questions that may be addressed and the opportunities available to all individuals to participate in Geoscience. 

Ms. Diedre Lamb is a Senior Access Consultant at the nationally recognized University of Arizona Disability Resource Center (DRC).  She began working at DRC in 2000.  Before joining the staff at DRC, she worked in the Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques (SALT) Center at University of Arizona during the period 1989 to 2000.  She obtained her Master of Science degree from Northern Arizona University in 2005, in the area of Educational Technology with an emphasis on curricular design. Ms. Lamb is committed to increasing awareness of and eliminating physical and curricular barriers in higher education, with the goal of ensuring, to the greatest extent possible, that all students have equal access to courses, programs, extra-curricular activities, and other engaged-learning experiences.


Considered by many travelers to be one of the world's most beautiful towns, Orvieto combines Italian small town friendliness and atmosphere with the beauty of the Umbrian countryside.  It is one of the great centers for Italian art and archaeology.  Centrally located in Italy, students can travel by train to Rome in one hour, Florence in two hours, and many other sites of historical and scientific significance.

The city is built upon a steep-walled butte, the erosional remnant of a middle-Pleistocene plateau composed of volcanic tuff.  It contains numerous treasures from the Etruscan period, the Gothic era, the Renaissance, and the 19th century.  Equally intriguing, the city is underlain by a complex network of tunnels and caves, dug by its inhabitants over the past 2500 years.  


Students live in nice, fully furnished apartments, all located in the historical district in Orvieto and within minutes of the school.  Generally, an apartment with two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and living room, is shared by four students (no co-ed housing).  Accessible housing options are available.  Housing costs are included in the program fee, and they will also cover all expenses (water, gas, electricity bills), sheets and towels (changed once a week), and a weekly cleaning of the apartment. A refundable deposit of Euro 100 will be requested upon arrival.

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