Sarah SurvisSarah Survis; Undergraduate Student


I’m Sarah Survis and I’m an undergraduate here at UW-M. I was born and raised right here in Wisconsin. I started my college career at UW-Washington County pursuing a degree in English Education. After taking a few geology classes there, I realized that I would rather teach geology. I graduated from UW-WC in 2007 and was awarded the Geology Department Award at graduation. I transferred here and took Intro to Geology a few semesters later. Taking the class made me realize that I really wanted to pursue a degree in geology, so I changed my major in the fall of ‘09 and here I am! I have loved every class I have taken so far, and I know I made the right decision. I’m really interested in sedimentology and stratigraphy. I like learning about how different features may look in an outcrop and what they say about the past environment.

Besides studying geology, I love hiking, camping, swimming, ice skating (even though I’m not very good), playing kickball, and spending time with my family and friends. I’m also an avid pet lover. I work at a veterinary clinic and love spending time with the dogs and cats that lodge there. After graduating, I hope to continue my education by pursuing a masters degree and eventually a PhD.

  1. Hometown/High School?
    I am from West Bend, WI and I graduated from West Bend West in 2005.
  2. Year in School and expected graduation date?
    I am a senior and I will be graduating in the Fall of 2011.
  3. What brought you to UWM?
    I transferred to UWM because I wanted to stay in Wisconsin, and it was close to home.
  4. What convinced you to major in Geosciences?
    I took a few geology classes at UW-WC to fulfill science requirements and enjoyed every one of them. Because of this I decided to become a science education major. When I transferred to UWM I took Intro to Geology and it made me realize that this is what I really wanted to be studying. I changed my major to geology-geophysics, and it was one of the best decisions I have made. Plus, I’ve always loved the outdoors and started a rock collection at a very young age (that should have been a sign).
  5. What field of study would you like to go into and how would you describe it to a prospective student?
    I think I would like to study sedimentology or geomorphology. I love looking at an outcrop and figuring out what the past environment might have been like based off of the features that have been preserved. I also love learning about the processes that create various landforms in geomorphology.
  6. What's been your best experience so far?
    Going to Montana this past summer with Dr. John Isbell. It was so much fun and I learned so much. Plus the bad lands are absolutely gorgeous. I even found some clinkers, and I got to see many hoodoos. I also really enjoy all the field trips. It is fun to be able to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom in the field.
  7. Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in field trips, field work, or travel as part of your education?
    Yes! I’ve gone on field trips for just about every geology class I have taken so far. Some are overnight trips and some are just day trips, but either way, they have all been fun, and it’s an awesome way to get hands-on experience. I also went to Montana this summer to help with research and get field experience.
  8. Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in a student research project while at UWM?
    I haven’t done any of my own research yet, but when I was in Montana I did get to assist Mike Kennedy a little with his research.
  9. What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in geology?
    Hard work and a love for the subject. Because I’m studying something I enjoy, I’m determined to actually learn the material and not just memorize it to get a good grade.
  10. How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
    The department is filled with friendly, approachable, and helpful people. I’ve never felt uncomfortable or unwelcome. There are also many ways to get involved. You can join the geology club or paleo club (or both). There are also colloquia you can attend to learn about various research that is going on.
  11. Do you have any advice that you would give to a student who is new to the Geoscience major at UWM?
    Get involved in the department and don’t be afraid to ask questions when you have them. The Professors and graduate students are all great people, and they are always willing to help out.
  12. What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
    I like how there is always something to do. I never have to say ‘I’m bored.’ I also like being so close to Lake Michigan.
  13. What are your plans after you graduate?
    I plan on pursuing a masters degree and eventually a PhD. My ultimate goal is to be a professor.

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