joe1_cropJoe Frederickson; Undergraduate Student

My name is Joseph Frederickson and I am a geology student here at UWM. I am particularly interested in the study of ancient life, called paleontology. Much of my undergraduate career has been spent collecting, cataloging, or cleaning a fossil of some kind. My passion for paleontology has taken me to some very interesting places. In 2008, I traveled to Montana and helped the Dinosaur Discovery Museum excavate the youngest Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered. This was my first experience in the field and afterwards I was hooked. Since then I have traveled to Utah, South Dakota, and back to Montana for more digs. All of these trips were amazing and allowed me to utilize the geologic skills I obtained here at UWM.

In addition to my active field schedule, I have attempted my own scientific projects over the last few years. In 2010 I traveled to the Royal Tyrrell Museum to study the growth of the horned dinosaur Pachyrhinosaurus lakustai. This trip was funded entirely by The Dinosaur Research Institute’s Neoceratopsian Research Award. In addition to this experience I have also conducted research at The American Museum of Natural History in New York City, The Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, Ontario, and The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. In Fall 2010, I presented some of my findings as a poster at the Society Of Vertebrate Paleontology meeting in Pittsburgh, Pa. This was an important experience in my life because for the first time I felt like I was contributing to science.

One of my proudest achievements here at UWM is the creation of our Paleontology club, which I cofounded along with Scott Schaefer, Janessa Doucette, and Wess Weichert. Together we have had so many fantastic adventures while traveling throughout the country. What began as nothing more than an idea has now become a self-sufficient group of dedicated and enthusiastic members. I look forward to hearing about the places this group will go after I graduate.

  1. Hometown/High School?
    Bay View High School, Milwaukee
  2. Year in School and expected graduation date?joe2_crop
    Senior, expected graduation spring 2011.
  3. What brought you to UWM?
    UWM is my hometown university.
  4. What convinced you to major in Geosciences?
    I was originally a biological science major, but I quickly realized that I was taking more geosciences classes than bio classes every semester. I guess I just enjoy learning about rocks more.
  5. What field of study would you like to go into and how would you describe it to a prospective student?
    I would like to pursue studies in the field of vertebrate paleontology. Vertebrate paleontology is the study of extinct animals with a backbone.
  6. What's been your best experience so far?
    My best experience was the very first Paleo Club meeting. I was nervous because I wasn’t sure how many people would come out and support our fledgling club, but the response was overwhelming. Since then we have had many enthusiastic members join and have traveled throughout America.
  7. Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in field trips, field work, or travel as part of your education?
    I have traveled extensively as part of my education. I have conducted research in the vertebrate paleontology collections at the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Canadian Museum of Nature, I have participated in excavating T-rex fossils and giant sauropod bones in Montana and Utah, I have also traveled with the Paleo Club to places as far away as Texas and Florida. All of this would not be possible without the knowledge I have gained from the Geosciences Department at UWM.
  8. Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in a student research project while at UWM?
    One of the most amazing experiences I have had at UWM was working in the lab of Dr. Fraiser and helping her with a formal response to an article in Geology. The research was time consuming but I felt that I learned a great deal working on this project. At the end of the semester Dr. Fraiser was nice enough to allow me to help coauthor the response, which was published in Geology in December 2010.
  9. What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in geology?
    I think the faculty at UWM has been a fantastic source of help and a huge influence on both the academic and personal choices I have made the last few years. I can honestly say that without the guidance of Dr. Fraiser and Dr. Dornbos I would not be where I am today.
  10. How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
    The Department of Geosciences at UWM is dynamic and progressive, small enough to offer personal guidance but large enough to offer fantastic opportunities.
  11. Do you have any advice that you would give to a student who is new to the Geoscience major at UWM?
    Hang in there; it will be a lot more fun once you are done with chemistry.
  12. What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
    Milwaukee has probably some of the best restaurants in America and they are much cheaper than the same kind of places in Chicago or New York.
  13. What are your plans after you graduate?
    I will be enrolled in a graduate program in Fall 2011, keep in touch to find out where exactly.

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