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Jolene Traut; Masters Student

My passion for geology started at an early age when my grandfather first showed me a Lake Superior agate. As a full time farmer, and part time rock hound, my grandfather would always keep an eye out for these intricately banded and wonderfully colored minerals. His passion not only inspired me as a child, but taught me a deep respect for the natural world as a whole. This respect was further nurtured by my father, also a farmer, who understands more about the environment than I’ll probably ever learn in any classroom. Although I have had an affinity for geology since childhood, it was not until I was on a college visit to Winona, Minnesota when my academic direction became startlingly clear. I had already decided to attend the university before setting foot on campus because I had fallen in love with something I had never seen before: layers upon layers of flat-laying sedimentary rocks majestically cut by the mighty Mississippi River. It was here where my undergraduate advisor at Winona State University, Dr. Stephen Allard, helped me realize a life-long desire to study the natural world, specifically geology.

I am a second year master’s student under the direction of Dyanna Czeck, currently studying rock rheology of the Baraboo syncline using various methods. As an undergraduate I worked closely with Dr. Allard and a few other students on a project in the Black Hills, South Dakota. Recently I presented part of my thesis research at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver, Colorado, and also presented my undergraduate research in the Black Hills at the Rocky Mountain Section meeting in Utah in 2009.

  1. Hometown?
    Sartell, Minnesota
  2. Previous degrees (Degree and University)?
    B.S. Geology, Winona State University
  3. Expected graduation date?
    Summer 2011
  4. What is your field of study and how would you describe it to a prospective graduate student?
    Under the direction and guidance of Dyanna Czeck, I study rock rheology (how rocks respond to stresses in the crust, and deform under large amounts of heat and pressure) of the rocks in the Baraboo syncline in Baraboo, WI.
  5. What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your graduate degree?
    My undergraduate advisor thought Dyanna and I would be a good pair. He was right!
  6. What's been your best experience so far?
    Teaching labs has been very rewarding.
  7. In graduate School, have you gotten the opportunity to travel as part of your education?
    Absolutely! I have been to Nova Scotia, Canada and central Wisconsin for field work, Denver, Colorado for a conference, and various field trips around Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan for classes.
  8. What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in graduate school?
    I have a great support system, both academically and personally, and a deep passion for geology!
  9. Do you have any advice that you would give to a new graduate student in your program?
    Be ready for the fastest years of your academic career!
  10. 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)?
    It’s tough to balance your time between personal research, class work, and teaching, but everyone else is in the same situation and you’ll build strong relationships with your peers.
  11. What are your plans after you graduate?
    I hope to get a job (probably hydrology related) in the Milwaukee area.
  12. How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
    The office staff, other support staff, and professors are very approachable and provide a comfortable environment to learn and work in.
  13. What has been your favorite activity while you’ve been in Graduate School in Milwaukee?
    Department parties.
  14. What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
    It’s a big city with small town charm.

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