Michael Frunza; Undergraduate Student
I love the Earth and all that it has to offer. Studying its history and understanding geologic processes is one of the most fun and interesting ways any person could ever want in earning a degree. Field trips are informal yet informative at the same time. You learn more out in the field than you do in a classroom, its great! With me being an outdoors person, I know that I chose a great field to get into because geology is all about being outside taking measurements and recording data. And on top of it all, studying Earth’s structures requires a great deal of travel as well as hiking which is one of many of my favorite things to do!
- Hometown/High School?
I was born and raised in Waukesha Wisconsin for basically all of my life (20 some odd years). I went to Waukesha West High school and graduated in 2007 with a traditional high school diploma.
- Year in School and expected graduation date?
This will be my 6th year in college; yes I’m a super senior. I took off a couple semesters to work and live in Door County for a few months. I stayed in Fish Creek at a commune on a farm. It was a great experience and I couldn’t have had a better time “not being in school.” I will be graduating officially next fall semester, so by the end of 2013!
- What brought you to UWM?
Well I attended UW-Waukesha so I could earn my associates degree since it was more efficient for cost and living at the time. Once I finished at UWW I wanted to continue education onto my Bachelors of Science degree. I was very interested in conservation and environmental studies along with geology at the time, so I looked into Wisconsin colleges that weren’t too far away and offered a good program for the following majors. I narrowed my search down to Madison, Stevens Point, or Milwaukee, and I chose UWM because they offered the programs I liked and it was close to home in case I needed to commute.
- What convinced you to major in Geosciences?
When I was attending UW-Waukesha, I took several environmental and geology courses, so I thought if I wanted to keep on the same track I would have to choose either major. I have always had a fascination with crystals and minerals, and with those, VOLCANOS! I Love learning about Earth processes and tectonics. This convinced me to major in Geology alone. As a child I could not say for sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I always knew I wanted to be out in the field learning and exploring different aspects of the Earth.
- What field of study would you like to go into and how would you describe it to a prospective student?
For now, I want to focus on hydrogeology because water resource and contamination has become a great deal and to study its dynamics interests me very much. Hydrology deals with understanding the movement of water through soils, and bedrock of the Earth’s crust.
- What's been your best experience so far?
My best experience thus far has been my very first field trip I attended at UWM. It was for my geomorphology course. We got to canoe down the Wisconsin River and take water velocity and depth measurements off of a sandbar in the middle of the river. After taking measurements we canoed right to our campsite where we had already set up tent. This was awesome in and of itself, and on top of it, when we got to our site there was caretaking with a buffet line of food waiting for hungry geologists to enjoy. The next day we travelled to Devils Lake and went for a long rainy hike up to the top of the bluffs to study Baraboo’s structural features. This was a real eye opener for me and made me really appreciate the fact that I chose geology as my major at UWM.
- Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in field trips, field work, or travel as part of your education?
I have done some field work and as stated above, yes I have been on several field trips since I’ve been at UWM.
- Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in a student research project while at UWM?
I haven’t done any major student research outside of my academic calendar but I have helped out a couple professors with small projects and setting up labs. I would like to get more involved here during my senior year because I really enjoy helping out and gaining experience in the different disciplines that geology has to offer.
- What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in geology?
My natural desire to learn new material has helped me succeed along with the geo-department faculty members who are willing to help when needed. Also my dedicated family and girlfriend help push me to do more and stay motivated.
- How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
I have nothing but great things to say about the geology department at UWM. Everyone is so helpful and willing to drop what they’re doing at any moment for you.
- Do you have any advice that you would give to a student who is new to the Geoscience major at UWM?
Always ask questions if you need help. Even if you think you’re asking a stupid question, just ask it, nobody is here to judge you. We are all here for the same reason and that is geology, and geology isn’t just a one person learning experience, you learn with everyone together and you help the others that struggle. When you have difficult labs or assignments and need help, just walk up to the professors office and ask for help, they are always there for you. Teachers are your resource to knowledge and success at UWM.
- What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
I like Milwaukee in that almost everything (good food, good music, good shopping) is within a walking distance.
- What are your plans after you graduate?
After I graduate I plan on hopefully having some type of consulting job lined up so I can start working right away. I am thinking about continuing education and earning my masters degree, but not until I gain some field experience first and really find where I want to be for the rest of my life. Travelling is definitely in the cards for me!