Steven Greenwood; Masters Student
Hello readers. I hail from the Midsouth but have been residing quite nicely these last few months here in Milwaukee. I am working on Masters of Science in Geology with an emphasis on igneous petrology and mineralogy, but also have an interest in planetary geology on the side. Since exploring geologic terranes across the country, I have found greatest fascination with volcanic rocks and their associated minerals, especially those undersaturated in silica, such as carbonatites. My current research involves that of the volcanic highlands of Tanzania in East Africa, where such rocks still erupt to this day. Previously, I did a comparative study of pyrite diagenesis in a shale formation in Tennessee, which allowed me to wet my toes in presenting material at a Geological Society of America conference.
- Previous degrees (Degree and University)?
B.S. Geology, Austin Peay State University
- Expected graduation date?
- What is your field of study and how would you describe it to a prospective graduate student?
Igneous petrology of alkaline rocks and the associated minerals that form with them. I intend on understanding how igneous bodies fractionate under the surface and form different types of magma, and subsequently different mineral assemblages in relatively small regions. One day I may even extend this understanding to other planets like Mars. Currently, I will be working with Dr. Lindsay McHenry on dating and correlating ashes in Olduvai Gorge with volcanic sources in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Volcanic Highlands (NVH).
- What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your graduate degree?
I met with Dr. McHenry and other individuals at UWM’s graduate school booth at the Geological Society of America (GSA) National Meeting in Denver, Colorado in October 2010. There I was able to connect with whom would be my future professor and various colleagues and I’m very glad that this was the case.
- What's been your best experience so far?
Interacting with my colleagues and professors as I continue to gain strengths towards becoming a professional geologist. Helping out with the field trips for Mineralogy and GeoSci 100 allowed me to act as an assistant to the instructor, and was crucial to getting me back outdoors to bond with nature. The 2011 GSA conference in Minneapolis also allowed me to network with students and professors from across the world.
- What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in graduate school?
Extreme perseverance… and caffeine.
- Do you have any advice that you would give to a new graduate student in your program?
Expect to come in with many different tasks being given to you, but don’t fret too much as the faculty, staff, and other TAs are willing to work with everyone here. Also, the Force is with you, always.
- What has been the hardest part about being a graduate student?
Mostly just not being distracted by other real life events and staying on focus, which can be difficult if you happen to have an attention disorder. If I had to mention anything that I might have given up, I don’t currently possess a vehicle, but living in the city has the advantage of accessing transportation without spending funds on gas or snow shovels.
- What are your plans after you graduate?
Only time will tell, but I am keeping my goals high in the hopes that I might be able to move up to a Ph.D. program. Some relevant work in the field after my Masters may also be in the cards.
- How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
As mentioned previously, the Department of Geosciences here at UWM will work with students. The department, while large, is relatively friendly for individual students to interact with. Most upper division classes also provide a low student to teacher ratio. The building in which we work, Lapham Hall, is also well maintained and possesses a great atmosphere for those studying or teaching. The Greene Gallery is also an important asset to both students and faculty alike.
- What has been your favorite activity while you’ve been in Graduate School in Milwaukee?
I have gotten out quite much more than I ever have previously, even when attending my undergrad institution. Milwaukee and the surrounding area provides many activities, such as canoeing down the Milwaukee River, horseback riding in the Kettle Moraine, biking, rock climbing, ice skating, and other activities that do not involve a computer.
- What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
I would consider myself a foodie and MKE’s selection of places to eat has hit my tongue with an explosion of flavors, from Oakland Gyros’ Brontosaurus-sized lamb shank, to Buca di Beppo’s Brownie Sundae, to Pizza Shuttle’s tasty slices and buttery breadsticks (great for those late nights with the friends), and Sobelman’s ginormous cheddar burgers, just to name a few. And that was just one semester.