Karen Wick; Undergraduate Student
When I was younger and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, the answer was guaranteed to be different every time. I could never make up my mind. I wanted to be a firefighter, a veterinarian, a psychologist, a photographer, a mechanic, etc. I never knew what my calling was. But after high school I knew that whatever I would end up being, I would need a college degree, so I went on to get an associate’s degree in arts and science at UWWC, or for all you who have gone there, cow pie. After a couple years later, I decided I had to get serious and think of what I should do, so I turned on my computer and thought, what do I enjoy doing? I then googled jobs related to mud. I love being outdoors and getting dirty. One job that captured my interest was soil scientist. But as I further did my search, I came upon DNR warden. Everything about that sounded great. So I decided to get a CES degree at UWM since it was the closest one to my hometown, West Bend. That is the story on how I ended up at UWM. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon an old friend of mine, Sarah Survis, that I started to question my decision. I was in mineralogy with her and had the time of my life. I never realized how much we had in common about the outdoors, and how excited we would get about things others wouldn’t think twice of. I rediscovered a part of me that I just never thought there was a career for. And after hearing all the classes I needed to take for a geology degree and hearing all the stories from Sarah and her enthusiasm, I knew that was what I wanted to do, hands down. So I switched my degree to Geophysics.
Currently I live in Waukesha, and work at Autozone in Menomonee Falls. I have been with the zone for over 7 years, and need a change! I love working on cars (when I have the time and money!) and I play the piano for the geo band, the Drumlins. I also love to karaoke. I enjoy being outdoors, and doing outdoor activities, and obviously just hanging out with good friends. I am a friendly, approachable person, so don’t be afraid to say hi!
- Hometown/High School?
I was born and raised in West Bend, and graduated from West Bend West High School.
- Year in School and expected graduation date?
I guess you could consider me a super senior since this collectively is my fifth year of college, but I expect to graduate this spring semester.
- What brought you to UWM?
Honestly, it was because it was the closest driving distance to my house.
- What convinced you to major in Geosciences?
The fact that geology is hands on, its outdoors, learn as you go, fun, exciting, always changing is what helped me make my decision. There is always a mystery to it. Since I was little I was always breaking open rocks to see what they looked like inside. I am a kinesthetic learner, so this is perfect for me. I also find the people in this degree (Professors and fellow students) to be phenomenally intelligent and great people to be with.
- What field of study would you like to go into and how would you describe it to a prospective student?
I am still a little undecided about that. The problem with geology is that it is all exciting and fun, so it is hard to narrow down a subject that I am most interested in or excel in. Probably something to do with sedimentary, or possibly work with engineers for the state.
- What's been your best experience so far?
The best experience for me is the field trips! They are all so informative, yet so much fun you don’t realize you’re in a class setting and learning.
- Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in field trips, field work, or travel as part of your education?
Yes I have. Obviously a lot of geology classes have required field trips to get you better ac- quainted with what you are learning in the class room. I have traveled to Wausau to do a research project with Sarah for our independent research credit. I am also going to field camp this summer.
- Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in a student research project while at UWM?
Yes, I have done a research project in structural geology. I worked on shear zones in an outcrop in Mountain, WI. I would like to further the research someday, but thus far didn’t have enough money or time.
- What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in geology?
The major attribute that allows me to succeed is my interest in the topics. Because I find everything to be fun and interesting, my attention is always alert. It also helps that the professors and other students are very enthusiastic about their areas of expertise that help me to want to know more.
- How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
I couldn’t say enough good things about the department! All of the professors are amazing people that make you feel welcome and invited. They seem to always make themselves available to you and your questions. They go above and beyond to help you and they want you to succeed. Everyone here is helpful, including the TA’s and staff.
- Do you have any advice that you would give to a student who is new to the Geoscience major at UWM?
My advice, it is going to be hard material, but well worth it. As long as you go to class, participate, and pay attention, you shouldn’t have any problems. Have fun, don’t get too stressed, and be yourself. Geologists love to work hard, and play harder.
- What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
The city of Milwaukee isn’t my idea of a good time. The only time I come here is to go to school, as soon as class is over, I get out. I was raised in the country, so city life scares me! I do enjoy the architect though. Some buildings are beautiful.
- What are your plans after you graduate?
Once I get my diploma, I probably will start dancing. Dancing for joy that I finally did it, that is! After my five minutes of fun, I am going straight to the job hunt. I want to remain local for a while, until I get comfortable enough, and courageous enough to expand and possibly move to a different state, or maybe country??? .