July 18, 2016

Kristen Berger 2015

DSC04089I entered Lafayette as an economics major and enrolled in Geology 120 to fulfill my natural science with a lab requirement. I had always had a strong interest in science, however I was not considering it as a college major. During my spring semester of freshman year I visited Doc M and told him I was considering switching my major to geology. However he suggested I double major. I cannot thank Doc M enough for believing I could achieve a double major. By accepting the challenge I was able to pursue both my passions and most importantly, become a member of the Geology Department Family.

Along with my Geology/Economics double major I was a three year starter for the varsity softball team. Although softball consumed most of my free time, I was also able to TA for Geology 120 and 317 as well as be a peer tutor for geology and serve as an Admission Ambassador for the college. Senior year I was the co-founder of the LGBTQ support club, Behind Closed Doors, as well as the student initiator of the “Respective Initiative” within athletics.

One of the most transformative experiences I had while at Lafayette was traveling with the Geology Department. I studied abroad in Ecuador and the Galapagos for three weeks my sophomore year and traveled to Wyoming for fieldwork as a student and again as a TA. These experiences heightened my love for earth sciences but also enhanced my work ethic and leadership skills. It was rewarding to complete fieldwork with my peers in places with amazing geology, but also challenging to come back to the classroom/lab and put the data into a understandable “story”. This work was challenging not just academically, but physically. Although we were exhausted some nights, these are some of the fondest memories I have of my college experience. I believe the deadlines we had to meet for upper-level geology courses were good training for my working life. I accept readily that no matter what is going on outside of work, when I get to my office I have tasks to complete and deadlines to make, no excuses.

Although I loved geology and the opportunity to work in nature, DSCN0891I also had a strong interest in economics. Junior year I interned with Berkley Professional Liability in New York City. After completing the internship I received a full time job offer with the company and excitedly accepted. I am now a “D&O” underwriter for Berkley and live in New York City.  Although the job doesn’t include fieldwork and active scientific research, I am happy going to work every day and enjoy the company of my coworkers. Having good people to work around is something I learned the importance of within the Lafayette College Geology Department. These people will be in your life frequently and can make you very happy in your career.

My advice for those beginning their internship/job search in any field, would be to try it out before you commit. My internship helped me realize that I like the corporate environment, but sitting behind a desk is a lot different than standing on Sheep Mountain measuring strike and dip. Although I am in the finance world, living in New York City, it does not mean I have lost geology completely. My plan has always been to make it a fun hobby and I plan to save for vacations to exciting geologic places such as Iceland and Yellowstone National Park. Envision what you want your life to look like in 5-10 years, and then pursue the path that will take you there. My love for geology will be a life long love, and I have the Lafayette College Geology Department to thank. We are a family, and nothing can change the support you have from all those involved in the department.