Ross HartwickRoss Hartwick; Undergraduate Student


Ross Hartwick came to UW-Milwaukee as a sophomore to pursue a degree in Geology after spending his first three semesters of college at different universities deciding what he did not want to study. Something about geology just kept pulling him back. His fascination with the variety of geological landscapes and trying to understand the processes that created them sparked his interest and curiosity. About the only time Ross doesn’t like rocks is when he hits them with his snowboard or skis. Currently Ross is serving as the GeoClub President, working as a Greene Gallery Attendant, performing odd jobs around the department. Additionally, he has been trying to learn as much in the field as possible which he’s done by helping various graduate students with their fieldwork; Including geophysics in the Fox River with Mike Baierlipp, Sedimentology work in Montana with Mike Kennedy and Glaciology in Fond Du Lac County with Carlene Polk.

When Ross isn’t doing geology work you are most likely to find him outdoors: camping, skiing, snowboarding, hiking, road biking, mountain biking or running. Someday he hopes to do some sort of service work in a developing country hopefully using his geological skills and then hopefully go to graduate school and work in the field for awhile

Ross grew up in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, where he graduated from Marquette University High School in 2007. He is currently a senior at UWM and will graduate in May of 2011 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geophysics.

  1. Hometown/High School?
    I was born in Royal Oak, MI but I’ve lived in Wauwatosa, WI for the last 15 years and graduated from Marquette University High School.
  2. Year in School and expected graduation date?
    I’m a Senior and will graduate in May 2011.
  3. What brought you to UWM?
    I spent my Freshman year at the University of Saint Thomas in St. Paul, MN to study Entrepreneurship and Economics. I then transferred to Marquette University for a semester because I decided I wanted to teach high school science but St Thomas had lost its accreditation to its School of Education. After taking a few Education classes at Marquette I decided that it wasn’t for me and decided to pursue a degree in Geology from UWM.
  4. What convinced you to major in Geosciences?
    As a kid I always loved finding interesting looking rocks then in high school I took a geology course and fell in love with it. At St Thomas I took another geology class, which solidified my desire to do something that involved geology. There is just something about geology that kept pulling me back, even after I had turned my back on it to study other subjects.
  5. What field of study would you like to go into and how would you describe it to a prospective student?
    Ideally, I would like to work in the field of Economic Geology as a Geophysicist or as a Sedimentologist, which means that I would use geophysics to find natural resource deposits yet to be discovered underground and/or using sediments to interpret past geological environments so as to predict likely areas of natural resource wealth. Someday I’d love to teach geology in an academic setting but I’d prefer to get some real life field experience in first.
  6. What's been your best experience so far?
    Visiting Iceland was by far my best experience. We spent two weeks hiking, camping and experiencing the geological wonders of Iceland. We climbed through lava tubes, walked on glaciers, bathed in hot springs, jumped off waterfalls and cooked grilled cheese sandwiches on the recently erupted lava from Eyjafjallajökull. You could actually see lava through fissures on the volcanoes surface.
  7. Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in field trips, field work, or travel as part of your education?
    Geo 100 Trip to Devil’s Lake
    Mineralogy and Petrology trips to Northern WI and Upper Michigan
    Geophysics work in DePere, WI and in the Fox River in Waukesha
    Sedimentology field work in Makoshika State Park, Montana
    Geology Trip to Iceland
    And more trips to come!
  8. Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in a student research project while at UWM?
    I’ve been lucky enough to be able to help out the Graduate Student Mike Kennedy with his fieldwork in Makoshika State Park, Montana as well as helping Graduate Student Mike Baierlipp with his geophysical field work in the Fox River area of Waukesha, WI.
  9. What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in geology?
    My curiosity of the world around me has been my main success with geology. At the end of the day I could care less what grade I receive so long as I learned something. I just want to learn and discover the secrets of the Earth.
  10. How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
    I’ve been to many schools and I can easily say that the Geoscience Department at UWM is the best out of all of them. The professors here are phenomenal and care about your success. In other departments professors are not very approachable but here you can talk to them about anything and everything.
  11. Do you have any advice that you would give to a student who is new to the Geoscience major at UWM?
    Get to know your professors and network as much as you can. Not only are they pretty cool people with great stories but by talking with them you can gain some insight into the life of a geologist and find out what you want to specialize in. Plus, if you show your interest and enthusiasm the next time a professor needs some help in the field you may be at the forefront of their mind of students to ask.
  12. What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
    Lake Michigan is easily my favorite part of Milwaukee as well as all of the unique neighborhoods across town. There’s always a place to go and do things depending on your mood.
  13. What are your plans after you graduate?
    After I graduate I’ll hopefully go to graduate school for a masters degree, otherwise I will look for a job within the field. At some point in time though I want to do some sort of service work overseas for at least a year, something down the lines of the Peace Corps.

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