Robert Bodart; Undergraduate Student
My name is Rob Bodart, I am entering my final year as a part-time second degree undergraduate student (that is a mouthful) and working on a BS in the Geoscience Department at UW-Milwaukee. My specific areas of interest are hydrogeology & hydrology. In the atmosphere, across the surface, in drainage basins, in the vadose zone, the flow between (and within) these respective areas is very intriguing.
I grew up canoeing the many rivers/lakes of Wisconsin, Upper Michigan & Minnesota. The relationship between groundwater and surface water is what first hooked me. I have also lived around/on a prominent freshwater body throughout my life. Green Bay, Stevens Point, Lake Geneva & Milwaukee are all places I have called home. I currently reside in the Bay View/Saint Francis neighborhood with my girlfriend Natalie & our black lab Colby. Natalie and I have had the opportunity to study dog drool/hardwood floor interaction quite extensively. Thanks Colby!
- Hometown/High School?
Green Bay, WI/Southwest High School
- Year in School and expected graduation date?
I will go with: Super Senior? I have a BS Business Administration (UW-Stevens Point) and MS Recreation Administration (Aurora University), and anticipate graduating from UWM in May (2013).
- What brought you to UWM?
First part of the answer: Employment. I work for the School of Continuing Education (SCE) in downtown Milwaukee. As I get to know fellow Geoscience students, we eventually talk about where I work. Most people are not aware of UW-Milwaukee’s 50,000 square foot conference center located in the downtown Plankinton Building. I am hoping to convince the Geoscience Department to host a meeting/event there at some point.
Second part of the answer: Quality of the Geoscience program. It was apparent that the department had a strong program & quality faculty. In particular, I was impressed with the depth of the hydrogeology & hydrology offerings.
- What convinced you to major in Geosciences?
Through my personal endeavors, past education and current job, I have been exposed to many of the conversations and issues surrounding our freshwater resources. As we all know, groundwater rules the world of freshwater. I wanted to be where the action is at.
In addition, SCE has an excellent array of noncredit professional development opportunities in the area of Water Technology. You should check them out: http://www4.uwm.edu/sce/program_area.cfm?id=3881. I was routinely being exposed to content & individuals in the field of hydrogeology (& freshwater in general) through my job. I believe the exposure to these programs & people gave me the final push.
- What field of study would you like to go into and how would you describe it to a prospective student?
My focus will be in hydrogeology & hydrology. My specific interests include groundwater/surface water interaction, groundwater flow (modeling), contaminant transport and water policy. Freshwater is one resource and should be managed as such. I hope to help people understand what it is doing below the surface and how it relates to the components visible on the surface.
- What's been your best experience so far?
There are quite a bit to choose from. First, the people have been great. The Geoscience Department has a diverse group of people with varied interests. My unique situation (part-time super senior) has allowed me meet people from multiple graduating classes. Second, I really missed having a science component to my life. That part of the brain was a bit dusty, but it has been great firing it up again. Finally, the field course I completed over the summer was such a great experience. For those interested in hydrogeology, I would highly recommend it. Karst aquifers, fractured carbonate aquifers, sand/gravel aquifers, grain size analysis, borehole geophysics, water chemistry, monitoring well construction/drilling/logging, single well (slug) tests, multi-well pumping tests, surveying, groundwater/surface water interaction, computer modeling…..it packed a lot of knowledge in. The field site used for the 5 day multi-well pumping test had 24 monitoring wells (the 24th installed by my group)!
- Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in field trips, field work, or travel as part of your education?
As noted, I just returned from a Hydrogeology Field Camp hosted by the University of Minnesota over the summer. I have also participated in the Physical Hydrogeolgy, Stratigraphy & Sedimentation, Mineralogy & Petrology field trips. I am looking forward to the upcoming semester and the Field Methods of Hydrogeology course.
- Have you gotten the opportunity to participate in a student research project while at UWM?
As of the moment, no; however, I have had very preliminary discussions on the possibility of working with Dr. Shangping Xu on a project. Stay tuned on that one.
- What trait or thing has allowed you to succeed in geology?
I am detail oriented and freely ask questions. I have done a lot of database work early in my career. It has shaped the way I problem-solve. Reading is important as well. I subscribe to two journals and try and pick out one article from each issue to comprehend.
- How would you describe the Department of Geosciences at UWM to a prospective student?
It is a fun group and people are passionate about their interests.
- Do you have any advice that you would give to a student who is new to the Geoscience major at UWM?
Make and maintain connections. From previous experience, I know all the people I am meeting right now will be dispersed across the world and working in their respective field. It is a small world, and it is great to have connections.
- What do you most enjoy about Milwaukee?
I love my neighborhood (Bay View/St. Francis) and the eclectic group of people I share it with. I own a home with my partner in crime (Natalie), and hope to be there for a while. Milwaukee has great city offerings (dining, festivals, music, sports, etc.); yet, I still have easy access to all the outdoor things I enjoy (biking, canoeing, hiking, camping, etc.). It is a good place to be.
- What are your plans after you graduate?
Well, I have a great job with SCE. I plan to be a better resource for them and continue to make UW-Milwaukee a great place to learn. Hopefully, we can find ways to tap into my expanknowledge of hydrogeology & hydrology.