Lafayette College instills in its students the skills and knowledge sought by the world’s finest businesses and organizations. In addition, our alumni bolster the graduate programs of renowned colleges and universities across the globe.
Recent alumni with degrees in geology have joined such leading companies as Eastern Geosciences, ERG, Geo-Technology Associates, Key Environmental, and Malcolm Pirnie. Some have garnered Fulbright Scholar status or gone on to graduate studies at Colorado State, Harvard, Stanford, and Texas Tech.
Robert Libutti ’02 helped design towering buildings in Tokyo and Seoul, but his most recent work, transforming an old firehouse into a school, has given him the most satisfaction.
Achieving that satisfaction became a personal journey, as Libutti found after Lafayette. “I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do,” the geology major explains. “I enjoyed science, but I also enjoyed creative things.” A summer program at Harvard Graduate School of Design provided the solution. “It was like a boot camp for architecture. It had a little bit of everything I wanted.”
Libutti entered University of Pennsylvania’s architecture program, spent the next three years working on studio projects, and earned his master’s degree. His science background helped him understand how to design functional spaces during his three summers of study and work in Japan, where he served as design team leader for a proposed 160-meter tower in Tokyo. He also designed the facade and lobby of a 14-story building in Seoul.
His current work with Murphy Burnham and Buttrick in Manhattan is on the Brooklyn Heights Montessori School. Libutti and his colleagues are turning the firehouse into a middle school. “What I’m doing here is so much different than what I did in Japan,” he says. “Right now, it’s a lot of learning. It’s always something new.”
The environment is always an important issue which keeps Amy Spooner ’06 on her toes. As a project scientist at environmental consulting firm O’Brien & Gere, she works in environmental remediation, performing software-based mapping and database management, plus hydrogeological and chemical data interpretation.
Like many Lafayette students, Amy came to her job through an undergrad internship. She recalls: “I mentioned to my doctor that I was studying geology at Lafayette. She said her husband was a geologist and gave me his contact information. He told me that one of his friends (now one of my bosses at O’Brien & Gere) might have an internship. I called O’Brien & Gere, scheduled an interview, and got the internship for summer 2005.” After she spent another year interning at the firm, the company offered the James L. Dyson Award recipient a job a year later. In 2011, Amy added an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
“To be honest, I didn’t think I’d like consulting,” Amy says. “Through my internship, I found out that I enjoyed it!
Of the most fascinating part of her job, she says, “My favorite part of field work was when we drilled bedrock cores prior to installing groundwater monitoring wells. Being able to look at and hold a rock that was 200 feet below ground surface half an hour prior was fantastic!”
In the shadow of the Dachstein Mountains in Styria, Austria, geology major Jonathan Werkmeister ’10 works as Fulbright English teaching assistant at The Raumberg-Gumpenstein College of Agriculture. “My students, ages 14 to 20 years old, come from different parts of Austria. My lessons usually deal with current events or talking about the local geology of the Ennstal Valley and how it relates to farming and forestry.”
Tasked with helping the Austrian Fulbright Commission to promote mutual cultural understanding between Austrians and Americans through educational opportunities, Jonathan uses English as a means to bridge the gap. Bringing together the disparate appeals to him.
“My previous experiences as a teaching intern at the Easton School District and in Vienna, Austria, nurtured my current passion for teaching. After those two experiences, I was determined to find a teaching job combining my love of geology and German. Thanks to the diversity of teaching styles within the geology, education and German departments at Lafayette, I was able to absorb a variety of techniques in the ways of instruction and learning.” Of how this blends in his current role, he says, “I find myself constantly referring to my geology studies while discussing certain agricultural topics with my students. The practice I received in the classrooms at Lafayette prepared me well for my current teaching position in Austria.”