Brett Ketter; Featured Alumni
- Hometown/High School?
- Where do you reside now?
Oak Creek, Wisconsin
- What degree(s)did you obtain from UWM and when?
I earned a Bachelor's of Science in 1996.
- What was your field of interest in Geology at UWM?
Geophysics and plate tectonics.
- What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your degree?
I wanted to stay close to home. It was easier at the time to live with my parents where I could work and play locally.
- What did you enjoy most about the department, UWM, and Milwaukee?
The Department was so laid back (and still is). Everyone is on a first name basis. We were a tight knit group who did a lot of off campus stuff together.
- What is your current job (or field of study) and how would you describe it to one of our current students (e,g,m what do you do, how rewarding is it)?
I work here in the Geosciences Department as academic staff. I support both the faculty and students with technical issues, poster printing and the Department website including developing Coldfusion dynamic websites. I maintain the analog and digital seismometers housed in the basement. I also teach a Geospatial Information System (GIS) course. I absolutely love my job mainly because of the great people that work here and the fact that I get to keep learning new technologies and concepts.
- Why did you choose this career?
I have loved the Geosciences since I was a little kid (that is the absolute truth). Although I do more tech work now, I still get excited to incorporate different geological concepts into my GIS course and try to keep up with the latest seismological research.
- What's been your best experience in geology (or your career) so far?
My best experience in geology would be both field camp where I got to experience the mountains for the first time, and spending a summer at Los Alamos while working on my masters thesis (which I received from St. Louis university). As for my career, teaching myself GIS and now having the confidence to teach it here at UWM.
- In your career, have you gotten the opportunity to travel or to work with people as part of your job?
I have not been able to travel as part of my job other than locally (Madison, Chicago).
- What trait or thing(s) that you learned while in Geosciences at UWM has allowed you to succeed in your career?
Stay focused and ask a lot of questions. There was always a faculty member willing to help you out if you ask.
- Do you have any advice that you would give to our current students about their education or in selecting a career once they graduate?
Stay involved. I was a commuter and worked during school so I missed out on some of the department functions. If you can, try to get in on the field trips/social trips. Not only are they fun but you will learn something as well. Also, be confident in which direction you want to go when it comes to the type of geology you want to do. You may have to relocate but if it something you really want to do...
- What is/was the hardest thing that you had to do in your career?
Convincing my wife that spending even more money on a computer certification after borrowing a lot for grad school would help me get a better job. In the end it paid off and here I am today.