Andrew Parisi; Masters Student
I grew up in a small town near Albany, NY, and then went to a college in a smaller town, near Cooperstown NY. I received a BA in 2007, and am here studying Structural Geology under Dyanna Czeck, planning to get my Masters. When I started undergrad four years ago, my adviser asked me what I was interested in majoring in. I told him that it would be either biology or geology, and he, being a geology professor (albeit a grumpy old one at that), wrote 'Geology' onto my academic forms and that was that. After taking Mineralogy my Sophomore year, I was pretty sure I wanted to do something else. That would have been a terrible mistake. Even though I have a bunch of other academic interests (Shakespeare, anyone?), Geology was what I wanted to do for a living. I could never be truly happy sitting in an office constantly, and geology affords em the opportunity to get outside, to hike and to climb and to see mountains. Ah mountains.
For my undergraduate thesis, I worked on some Aqueous Geochemistry. I created a full thesis and presented my work at GSA in Colorado. For my Masters Thesis, I will be working on some rocks in Canada, testing a new method devised by on of the professors at the Colorado School of Mines. I have already been awarded the Sigma Xi grant to fund my field work, and am applying for the GSA Research Grant. I will most likely be presenting my research at GSA next fall.
Rotterdam, NY (near Schenectady)
- Previous degrees (Degree and University)?
Bachelor of Arts (Geology), Hartwick College (near Cooperstown), minor in English Lit. and Environmental Sciences.
- Expected graduation date?
From, UWM: May 2013
- What is your field of study and how would you describe it to a prospective graduate student?
I work with Structural Geology; it is about stress, strain and failure (actual quote from textbook). But in all seriousness, it is the study of the internal structure of the Earth; we try to figure out what the layers look like under the Earth’s surface, and why they are in those orientations.
- What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your graduate degree?
Dyanna Czeck convinced me to come.
- What's been your best experience so far?
At UWM? Probably teaching. It forces you to think on your feet; there was the way you learned something, but other students will learn differently. I can’t only repeat the words I was told, I have to convey ideas. Sometimes you have to act out the idea, or use completely unrelated words, or bring in light and sound and color in order to get the point across.
It also forces me to realize the flaws in my knowledge. I think I might know something, but if I can’t adequately explain it, do I really know it? I’m forced to re-learn everything in a number of different ways, and in doing so I gain a more complete understanding of the subject.
- In graduate School, have you gotten the opportunity to travel as part of your education?
I went to Canada this past fall in a field trip led by Dyanna Czeck. I’ll be going back there in the summer to do some work for my thesis.
- What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in graduate school?
As in not flunking out? Doing homework on time I suppose. It’s really not that hard, it’s just college with bigger words. Being able to work until midnight and still be a bit of a morning person helps.
- Do you have any advice that you would give to a new graduate student in your program?
Nope. I’m eclectic, my advice really only works on me. Again, do your homework, manage your time, pick a thesis you want to work on, usual stuff.
One general thing is to keep in touch with your advisor, he/she can provide that extra motivation to finish a paper on time, or point your towards available money.
- What has been the hardest part about being a graduate student?
I don’t know. I brought the same flaws I had as an undergraduate; I’m just a bit better at managing them.
- What are your plans after you graduate?
I don’t know. I will see what happens next year. Obviously I will get a job I something, but I don’t know what that something will be.
- How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
I came from a really small, intimate department, so I would describe it as bigger and more spread out, but I’m biased coming from a small school. Of course being a bigger school means there are more opportunities, you just have to find them. I suppose it is a nice middle ground between a super huge university and a college so small your professors know all of the gossip.
- What has been you r favorite activity while you've been in Graduate School in Milwaukee?
The adventure center has some pretty cool trips, it’s good to get outside the city for a bit and go hiking or horseback riding or even just see trees and grass again. There is a spelunking trip coming up in late April, that should be fun.
- What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
The mini ocean you guys have on the side is fantastic. The huge waves are great to watch from the shore, but I want to get out on it, I dream of having a small boat to carry me over those waves.