Amy Nachbor; Masters Student
I remember taking family vacations as a little kid and thinking that the people who got to study dinosaurs, volcanoes, and earthquakes had the best job EVER! When I began looking for and undergraduate degree program, choosing Geology was a no-brainer. I love the process of trying to understand how the world ‘works’, so structural geology really appealed to me. After graduating with my Bachelors I moved to Milwaukee to start my Masters working in structural geology. Now I get to spend my time unraveling how water affects deformation in a thrust system by taking rocks and turning them into dust, fusing the resulting powder, and then shooting the resulting glass disk with x-rays. What’s not to love! This past fall I presented my preliminary research results at the National Geological Society of America annual meeting in Denver and hope to complete my thesis over the summer.
Maple Grove, Minnesota
- Previous degrees (Degree and University)?
Bachelors of Science from the University of Wisconsin- River Falls
- Expected graduation date?
August 2011 (I hope!)
- What is your field of study and how would you describe it to a prospective graduate student?
My project falls under the heading of structural geology with a geochemistry component. Specifically, I am looking at what geochemistry can tell us about how fluids affect the deformation of a glacial diamictite from Antelope Island, Utah.
- What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your graduate degree?
I liked the projects my advisor, Dr. Czeck, was working on and the faculty and students I met when I visited campus were great.
- What's been your best experience so far?
I love field work, so collecting samples for my thesis from Antelope Island in Utah has to have been my favorite part. Teaching the Introduction to Geology lab has also been a neat experience that I have enjoyed more than I thought I would.
- In graduate School, have you gotten the opportunity to travel as part of your education?
Yep! I’ve been down to my field area in Utah twice and have attended Geological Society of America meetings in Portland and Denver.
- What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in graduate school?
I am a pretty easy-going person and I think that there have been times in the past two years when that has saved my sanity. I also make sure that I save time to do something outside every week that has nothing to do with school or work, and that has really helped me get through the times when things have been stressful.
- Do you have any advice that you would give to a new graduate student in your program?
Things will go wrong or not work at all while you’re doing your research… that’s all part of the process! Don’t give up, just take a step back and look at the problem from another angle or ask one of your fellow grad students to talk things out with you and you will be amazed at the ‘impossible’ problems you can solve.
- What has been the hardest part about being a graduate student (Is there anything that you've had to "give up" as a graduate student)?
I am really close to my family, who all live in the Twin Cities, so being away from them has been hard for me. I also have an awesome group of friends from River Falls that I miss a lot, but the students here make that part easier to deal with.
- What are your plans after you graduate?
I hope to continue on with my education and am looking at PhD programs. In the meantime, I’m hoping to get a job doing something in the geosciences. I would love to work in a National Park for a season or two!
- How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
This department is really laid back and the students and staff have a good working relationship with each other. The department also has great connections to other universities and research sites, so there are always opportunities to use lots of neat equipment and work with other geoscientists.
- What has been your favorite activity while you’ve been in Graduate School in Milwaukee?
If you can’t guess from my previous answers: the field trips! There are so many great places to see awesome geology in this part of Wisconsin, it’s hard to go wrong. Apart from the field trips, I really like teaching the Geology 100 lab. My students have been great and we always find ways to make class fun!
- What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
I love being able to see the lake every day. It’s really neat to see how the lake’s ‘attitude’ can change so quickly!