Teri Gerard; Masters Student
Let me start off my saying that I never thought I would end up in the cold Midwest- ever! I am a southern girl who is happy when it is hot and sunny. However, my parents are from Milwaukee so I grew up visiting all of my relatives here and while I loved the summers and the city, I hated how cold it got! But when I was looking for graduate programs, one of my undergraduate professors put me in touch with her friends Dr. Lindsay McHenry and Dr. Barry Cameron and here I am! It is the perfect place for me since I get to do my masters with volcanoes here on Earth with Dr. Barry Cameron and will be doing my PhD with Dr. Lindsay McHenry on Martian analogues.
My master’s thesis is titled “Volatiles in melt inclusions from scoria cones in Nicaragua: Implications for magma source and cone evolution”. As magma evolves, it crystallizes and the growing crystals will trap melt inside of them. That melt tells us about the early magma. By analyzing the geochemistry and volatile content (H2O, CO2, Cl, F, S) of the melt inclusions and the scoria (the final erupted product) with different techniques I learn about how the magma evolved over time. I can learn where the magma came from, how it is stored, how it changed over the lifetime of the volcano, and see if there are any differences between the different cinder cones.
While at UWM, I have been a research assistant, a teaching assistant, and a field assistant. I have also gone to the American Geophysical Union national meeting. I have been able to learn several new lab techniques and travel to Nicaragua, Iceland, and Craters of the Moon National Park, Idaho. All in all, I am having a great time here and am very happy that I took the chance and came to UWM, even though I still think it gets really cold.
Forest City, NC
- Previous degrees (Degree and University)?
BS in Geology from Appalachian State University, Boone, NC
- Expected graduation date?
- What is your field of study and how would you describe it to a prospective graduate student?
Volcanology. In the simplest terms, I study volcanoes in order to understand how they form, where the magma comes from, how they erupt, and any changes over time. Specifically, I look at the volatile contents (such as H2O) and geochemistry of basaltic cinder cones in Nicaragua to determine the magma source and cone evolution.
- What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your graduate degree?
My favorite undergrad professor put me in touch with Lindsay and Barry here at UWM and I decided that I really liked them and the research they were doing. It is rather ironic that I ended up in Milwaukee since I have never liked the cold.
- What's been your best experience so far?
I would definitely have to say going to Iceland! It was part of a class on volcanoes and glaciers by Dr. Barry Cameron and Dr. Tom Hooyer with both undergrads and grads and the 2 weeks camping in and around the volcanoes and glaciers was AMAZING!!! We got to see glowing hot lava.
- In graduate School, have you gotten the opportunity to travel as part of your education?
See previous question. I have also gone to Nicaragua to collect my samples with Dr. Barry Cameron and one of his colleges which was wonderful. Who doesn’t want to climb volcanoes? I have also been a field assistant for Dr. Lindsay McHenry at Craters of the Moon National Park and Monument in Idaho. Traveling to conferences is also something grad students do.
- What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in graduate school?
A large amount of curiosity and love for volcanoes. Also it helps to be open to new experiences and to never forget that there is no such thing as a stupid question.
- Do you have any advice that you would give to a new graduate student in your program?
I would say that you need to not be afraid of talking to the other graduate students and the professors. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes since we all do and maintain a good sense of humor. Also, make sure to become involved in the department since you meet all kinds of wonderful people.
- What has been the hardest part about being a graduate student (Is there anything that you've had to "give up" as a graduate student)?
I haven’t had to “give up” anything, if at all I have gained several really close friends. However it seems like the work never ends and you are always taking work home on breaks and at office or in the lab during summer.
- What are your plans after you graduate?
I am continuing here at UWM as a PhD student under Dr. Lindsay McHenry and Dr. Barry Cameron. I will be studying planetary volcanology, studying Martian analogues here on Earth. I want to become a professor ultimately.
- How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
UWM is a very fun, supportive, close knit department. The professors make sure to get to know everyone and the grad students are always in each other’s offices and hanging out together outside of school.
- What has been your favorite activity while you’ve been in Graduate School in Milwaukee?
All of the festivals! I love going to Irish Fest, Summer Fest, and the State Fair especially.
- What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
I like the feel of the city, small and yet vibrant. There is always something to do. You can go to the symphony, hang out at a bar, take a walk on the beach, go hiking outside the city, or eat any kind of food you want. I especially love all of the festivals here in Milwaukee during the summer.