Snejana_Pic1_cropSnejana Karakis; Ph.D. Student

My name is Snejana Karakis, and I am a first year Ph.D. student. I completed both my undergraduate and graduate studies here in the Geosciences Department, and I am returning to the Department after having worked as a Geoscientist/Hydrogeologist in the environmental consulting industry for a few years.

  1. Hometown?
    I am originally from Romania and currently live in Sussex, WI.
  2. Previous degrees (Degree and University)?
    I have an Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts from the Milwaukee Area Technical College. I have earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology/Geophysics and a Master of Science degree in Geosciences from our very own Geosciences Department here at UWM.
  3. Expected graduation date?
    December 2016.
  4. What is your field of study and how would you describe it to a prospective graduate student?
    My research fields of interest are Volcanology/Petrology and Terroir, which I will be studying with Dr. Cameron. I will likely study some aspect of Volcanology/Petrology involving the origin, formation, eruptive style, and behavior of volcanoes, utilizing petrological and geochemical analyses, to define the evolution and current state of magmatic systems. In Terroir, which can be defined as the unique set of characteristics of a place imparting its essence to the wine produced in that place, the study will entail an analysis of the factors that contribute to the individual character of a wine and the variability among wines. These factors include the bedrock, soils, geomorphology, slope, orientation, and climate of a place, as well as the human factors involved, such as vineyard management and viticultural practices.
  5. What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your graduate degree?
    Having had the privilege to teach Petrology during the Spring 2012 semester while Dr. Cameron was on sabbatical, reminded me how much I enjoyed the academia atmosphere and being a student in the Geosciences Department, which was my home during my previous studies. And when Dr. Cameron mentioned that he was looking for a Ph.D. student for Terroir research, I was unequivocally onboard and so excited to return.
  6. Snejana_Pic2_cropWhat's been your best experience so far?
    The best experience so far has been simply being back in the classroom. The whole experience of being back in the Department and being a student again, seeing the familiar and the new friendly faces of professors and students has been a very gratifying for me. I feel extremely fortunate and grateful to have this opportunity to study again in a place that I cherish. Attending the December 2012 American Geophysical Association Conference in San Francisco, where I had the opportunity to meet some of the leading academic researchers in Terroir, was a tremendous experience, as well.
  7. In graduate School, have you gotten the opportunity to travel as part of your education?
    During my MS studies, I had the opportunity to travel with Dr. Cameron to Northern British Columbia, Canada, where we flew into a remote location via a twin otter bush plane to study flat-topped subglacial volcanoes (tuyas). These studies of subglacial volcanoes were expanded to Iceland, which is an absolutely amazing country and one of the most memorable places I have visited.
  8. What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in graduate school?
    For me, I think it was simply the love of science, relentless curiosity, and perpetual thirst for knowledge that kept me in this continuous discovery quest, always exploring and seeking to learn more.
  9. Do you have any advice that you would give to a new graduate student in your program?
    Go into it with an open heart and mind, be ready to take everything in, enjoy every moment, and appreciate your time here.
  10. What has been the hardest part about being a graduate student?
    For me, being a graduate student is tremendous. I don’t feel I’ve had to give up anything, in fact, I feel like I’ve been given an awesome opportunity, from which I benefit in so many ways.
  11. What are your plans after you graduate?Snejana_Pic3_crop
    My wish would be to settle in some sort of academic environment. Only time will tell. I believe that the right opportunity will present itself at the right time, so for now, I will enjoy to the fullest the time I have as a graduate student.
  12. How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
    I have spent several years in the Department, where I truly feel at home. It has been a pleasure for me to be part of the Department, and I have made many lasting friendships here. The Department has been growing and flourishing, and now there are even more opportunities for research in diverse study areas, supported by brilliant professors and exceptional staff in a friendly and comfortable environment.
  13. What has been your favorite activity while you've been in Graduate School in Milwaukee?
    I have enjoyed the interaction with students and professors outside the classroom (informal meetings, luncheons, field trips), which allows for a different dynamic and creates a sense of camaraderie.
  14. What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
    Lake Michigan. It is just as beautiful in winter as it is in summer, and whenever I am in the area, I take bit time to walk on the beach and enjoy it. My commute route to the University is along the lakeshore, so I get an amazing view every time I come to school.

Back to Featured Students for March