I grew up in Hudson, WI, and graduated from Hudson High School in 1997.
Year in School and expected graduation date?
I am currently a second degree student, officially starting in the program last summer- I plan on completing my undergraduate requirements either in December or May of next year.
What brought you to UWM?
I was living and working in Milwaukee – UWM was a good choice for an affordable, nearby school with a quality geosciences program.
What convinced you to major in Geosciences?
My experience working as a licensed soil tester in Wisconsin gave me opportunity to apply previous geology courses that I had taken. I appreciated the depth and complexity of knowledge necessary to really understand what was occurring and wanted to learn more.
What field of study would you like to go into and how would you describe it to a prospective student?
I am greatly intrigued with sedimentary geology and find it incredibly interesting to understand past depositional environments. I love the challenge of putting together the story of what happened in the past. Other strong interests of mine are in paleopedology- to understanding past ecology and climate based on ancient soils, paleoecology, and glaciology, but I honestly find myself captivated by every class that I take.
What's been your best experience so far?
My best experience so far has been the opportunity to travel to Patagonia in Argentina this March, having the opportunity to work with Dr. Isbell, Dr. Fraiser and world class sedimentologists, paleobotonists, and paleontologists from Argentina, and colleagues from UC-Davis. Being able to ask questions, watch how outcrops are approached, examined and the formation of hypothesis by this diverse and talented group was truly eye opening. I was able to ask a lot of questions not only about what we saw, but about the actual processes of research from a diverse group of talented scientists. It’s easy to caught up in the classroom side of my education as an undergraduate, this experience let me apply what I have learned, and understand what waits as I continue down this path.
Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in field trips, field work, or travel as part of your education?
Yes – several weekend field trips for various classes around the Midwest. I was also involved on a research trip to Patagonia in Argentina. I look forward to traveling to Iceland this late summer! I really cannot say enough positive things about these opportunities to make what is learned in the classroom come alive.
Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in a student research project while at UWM?
I plan on working with data that I have collected from Bradford beach over the winter and spring of this year to understand the changes in the water table beneath the beach. While in Argentina this spring I also collected some samples for potential paleomagnetic reconstruction from the Pampa de Tepuel Formation of early Permian to late Carboniferous age. I also have plans to work with a soil scientist in western Wisconsin this summer and hope to also to devote time to learning more about soil chemistry and paleosols.
What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in geology?
I am independently motivated to learn- I love the process of coming up questions and then attempting to track down the answers in text books and scientific papers. The process of coming up with questions and searching for answers while in class, or while doing class reading makes everything that I learn more applicable, it keeps me extremely engaged. While earning my first degree in education I spent a lot of time exploring how I learn, and one of the most powerful concepts I gleamed was understanding the interconnectedness of seemingly distant concepts.
How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
It’s a tight knit community and very friendly, where great opportunities, quality teaching, enthusiastic students create a very comfortable, open environment.
Do you have any advice that you would give to a student who is new to the Geoscience major at UWM?
Study hard and get involved. The professors in the program are very accessible and I think they appreciate when a student shows extra interest outside of class.
What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
It has many of the aspects of a big city – great restaurants, parks and a lot of things to do – but unlike bigger cities, it’s quick to get anywhere in town and easy to get to places to hike, ski and backpack.
What are your plans after you graduate?
I plan to move on to graduate school, pursuing my master’s degree in geosciences here at UWM.