For the geoscience community to continue to grow, students need to be attracted to the field. Here we examine the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program to understand how the participants' experiences' affects their interest in geoscience and educational and career goals. Eleven interns over two years (2013-2014) were interviewed prior to the start of their internship, after their internship, and after presenting their research at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting. This internship program is of particular interest because many of the interns come into the REU with non-geoscience or geophysics backgrounds (e.g., physics, mathematics, chemistry, engineering). Both a priori and emergent codes are used to convert interview transcripts into quantitative data, which is analyzed alongside demographic information to understand how the REU influences their decisions. Increases in self-efficacy and exposure to multiple facets of geoscience research are expressed as primary factors that help shape their future educational and career goals. Other factors such as networking opportunities and connections during the REU also can play a role in their decision. Overall, REU participants who identified as geosciences majors solidified their decisions to pursue a career in geosciences, while participants who identified as non-geosciences majors were inclined to change majors, pursue geosciences in graduate school, or explore other job opportunities in the geosciences.