Susan KransSusan Krans; Undergraduate Student

Susan Krans came to UW-Milwaukee interested in an education degree. Trips to the western United States inspired her on landscape and rocks, and she has never looked back. Susan has been in the department as an undergraduate student for a short time, but her list of accomplishments is long and impressive. She played a lead role in reviving the Geoclub, and is the current President of this energized group. When the department needed an undergraduate to teach labs in Geosci 100, it turned to Susan for help. She excelled at teaching and passed on her desire for geoscience knowledge to a couple of lucky lab sections. She is a well deserved recipient of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation Alice C. Helland Scholarship. But maybe her greatest impact on the department has been her promotion of undergraduate research. She participates in two undergraduate research projects related to volcanoes. She has been studying the volatile content of glasses from the ANDRILL 1-B drillcore in order to estimate the eruption depth of submarine lavas. She successively presented this research at the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco this past December. More recently she has become interested in comparing textures and volatile contents in scoria deposits from a cinder cone and maar in Nicaragua. For this latter research project, Susan received a Geological Society of America Undergraduate Student Grant. Susan has been the brain thrust behind a student research symposium to be held annually in the spring.

Susan’s talents are not limited to geosciences. She is a skilled barista and a thoughtful recording artist. Her CD called Badlands has depth and grandeur like the landscape and rocks that served as her inspiration. Our department is growing and prospering and Susan has played a significant role in this change. She illustrates the positive influence undergraduate students can have in shaping the department.

Originally from West Bend, WI, Susan graduated from West Bend High School in 2000 and is currently a Senior here at UW-Milwaukee. Susan’s projected graduate date with Bachelor’s Degree in Geosciences is this December of 2010!

  1. What brought you to UWM?
    I had been living and working in Milwaukee for a while, so when I decided to return to school it was close and affordable.
  2. What convinced you to major in Geosciences?
    I have always loved the sciences, but it was after a life changing trip out west, touring our national parks that I made the decision to go back to school and find a career that would enlighten me about the places I found so inspiring.
  3. What field of study would you like to go into and how would you describe it to a prospective student?
    I am interested in igneous petrology and volcanology. I want to understand how volcanic systems evolve over time by studying the chemistry of the rocks they produce, and how external influences affect these changes.
  4. What's been your best experience so far?
    Student research! I have been working on two undergraduate research projects with Dr. Cameron, and I love the satisfaction you get when harvesting the results of your labors.
  5. Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in field trips, field work, or travel as part of your education?
    Yes, I have toured many places in Wisconsin and the Lake Superior region through class field trips, and I am preparing to visit Iceland as part of a summer field course. Working on undergraduate research also awarded me the opportunity to present a poster at the 2009 AGU Fall meeting in San Francisco.
  6. Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in a student research project while at UWM?
    Yes, I am currently working on two student research projects with Dr. Barry Cameron. In one project we are trying to determine the depth of eruption for volcanic deposits gathered from a drill core in Antarctica. My second project focuses on the effects of groundwater on volcanic eruptions in Nicaragua.
  7. What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in geology?
    I think my curiosity has been a major driving force. It has led me to search for answers outside of the classroom, and I am a firm believer that you can never know enough about a subject you are truly passionate about. But more importantly, I owe it to the support from my mentors and peers.
  8. How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
    It is a great department full of wonderful and inspiring people- faculty, staff, and students. I consider them like family.
  9. Do you have any advice that you would give to a student who is new to the Geoscience major at UWM?
    Don’t be shy. If you think you’ve found your calling, or even if you need a little convincing - get to know your classmates, professors and staff, and get involved in the department! There are so many ways to be enlightened beyond the classroom.
  10. What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
    I love the view of the city from the Hoan Bridge, especially at sunrise. I see it on the mornings I drive to school up the lake front while rocking out to some John Denver. It is my favorite way to start the day.
  11. What are your plans after you graduate?
    I plan to move out west (west of the Rockies) and get my Masters and PhD. I am presently looking at schools in Arizona and Oregon. I would like to stay in research and academia.

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