Carlene Polk; Masters Student
When you were young people always asked you, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My answer was in pure confidence, a juggler. Well, that was then and my road to becoming a juggler veered a hard right into the outdoors. I knew I loved being active and enjoyed everything there was to know about the world. All these mind-boggling questions like “how was that created” or “why is that moving this way” burned in my membrane. I knew I needed to be like Bill Nye the Science Guy. After graduating with a bachelors of science I wanted to continue my thirst for knowledge, especially dealing with glaciers. These huge massive sheets, which create mind puzzling features such as drumlins. Studying the fabrics within these bad boys will help us understand their depositional process. In doing this I will be able to collect soil samples within drumlins and place them into a ring shear which deforms the sediment like a glacier would on top of the land. Shear strain and fabric strengths are measured by use of the ring shear and anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS). Viola, conclusive results of depositional processes of drumlins (crosses fingers)!!!
- Previous degrees (Degree and University)?
Bachelor of Science at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater
- Expected graduation date?
- What is your field of study and how would you describe it to a prospective graduate student?
My field of study within geoscience is glaciology. I am studying the fabrics within drumlins in order to explain their depositional process.
- What brought you to UWM to study Geosciences for your graduate degree?
The Lakefront Brewery of course. Ok ok the truth is UWM is located in this beautiful gem of a city, Milwaukee, which was very intriguing. A professor from my undergrad graduated from UWM, since she was one of my favorite professors and provided valuable information about the schooling; I figured it would be a good fit.
- What's been your best experience so far?
I have a few, I can’t just pick one, come on. Having great colleagues that are going through the masters program with you and the amazing people working in the geoscience program. Being able to work with some great equipment like the ring shear and the flume is always a plus. Oh and maybe China Wok down the road, “Why wok when we deliver” (best advice given by a restaurant).
- In graduate School, have you gotten the opportunity to travel as part of your education?
Yes, I was extremely lucky to have travelled to Iceland as one of the courses provided in the spring of 2010. I also attended a field camp in Africa last summer which was amazing and they offered me the Teaching Assistant position for this summer, which was absolutely rewarding in every way. I stayed an extra week and a half so I could climb Mount Kilimanjaro and backpack. By the way, the rooftop of Africa is breathtaking.
- What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in graduate school?
The cursive hand writing lessons I had in third grade, duh, because they work so well on the computer while typing my thesis. What I do know is this; do not give up no matter what life throws at you!
- Do you have any advice that you would give to a new graduate student in your program?
Be organized and remember; anything can go wrong with your research at any minute so be prepared to deal with anything and don’t get frustrated, it will all work out. I never thought pigs could fly but one day during my research I swear I saw 3 of them, never thought it could happen, but it did. O and wear snorkel gear while cutting onions, it helps 80% of the time, every time.
- 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 have now become a coffee addict, never drank a sip before graduate school. So keeping up a healthy lifestyle is difficult but can be done.
- What are your plans after you graduate?
Hopefully join a research team or obtain a job. If not I heard the circus is always hiring.
- How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
It’s a great environment to work and be in. The staff here is amazing and approachable. Everyone is willing to help one another and just a fun nit group. O and piñata Fridays. Ok this may be a suggestion because it would be a nice treat at the end of the week and come on, everyone loves letting their week frustrations out on a piñata, it makes you feel good and you are rewarded with candy. Enough Said.
- What has been your favorite activity while you’ve been in Graduate School in Milwaukee?
I think biking to and from school. It is relaxing and fires up the endorphins, which help after a long day. I think the field trips and traveling make graduate school extra special.
- What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
I love how there is so much to do and see. It’s nice having everything so close. My favorite thing is driving into the city at night, it’s so beautifully lit up and inviting.