On my academic interests: I am a double major in AB Geology and International Affairs. I would love to minor in Environmental Science and German as well but may be unable to do so.
I never envisioned myself becoming a geology major: I always enjoyed all aspects of science in junior high and assumed that I would be a bio or a chemistry major in college. In high school, I ended up getting interested in both social sciences and environmental science and gravitated towards policy as an intermediate. Coming into Lafayette, I was unsure but leaning philosophy. Shortly thereafter, I changed my major to International Affairs and took Dr. M’s Geo Hazards course to fill a lab requirement. I fell in love with the course material- earthquakes, volcanoes, deep impact events, etc. Second semester of my first year I did not have any lab sciences and really questioned what I was doing. I realized I needed more science in my schedule and geology fit the bill perfectly- it is interdisciplinary in its utilization of other sciences, extremely interesting, and ironically, very timely (pun intended). I have to give some credit to good friends I met in various student organizations that also positively influenced my decision- Bryan McAtee, Jenn Bell, John Werkmeister, and Laura Bochner to name a few. Had I not taken Geol 120 though, I would have never realized that there is more to geology than just rocks and how enthusiastic the professors are.
What I like about my major and the geology department: Almost everything- the sense of family, the enthusiasm of the professors, Ana’s wonderful home-cooking, the building, the resources. It is organized and structured well and is easily one of the college’s strongest departments in my opinion.
Intro geo classes I’ve really enjoyed: Earth’s Climate and Geo Hazards were both phenomenal, but in different ways. With Dr. M, you just get this deep knowledge on really interesting and relevant topics (earthquakes, volcanoes, etc). He has traveled all over the world and has a lot of great, pertinent information to convey to the students. In Climate, it is Prof. Lawrence’s commitment to the science and her ever-present enthusiasm that she brings to class day in and day out. The subject matter could not be more important right now, since it is such a hot-button issue in present day politics. I’m a big fan of volcanology and paleoclimatology. In particular, I could see myself studying or climate science after I graduate or trying to get a job working for an NGO, the IPCC, etc.
The geologically coolest places I’ve been: I would have to say a couple river valleys in Europe that were breathtaking. We took a Rhine Cruise in Germany this past summer, and I also rode bikes and hiked in the Wachau Valley along the Danube River in Austria.
As for going abroad: I am thinking about studying in New Zealand next year at some point. This winter I am going to Ecuador on a geology interim trip with Profs. Malinconico and Sunderlin. We’re studying the geologic and biologic evolution of the Ecuadorian mainland and the Galapagos Islands. It looks amazing. In summer 2010, I studied German language and culture in Bonn, Germany for six weeks with the LVAIC program and Prof. Lamb-Fafflelberger. I lived with a fantastic host family, including my host dad and mom and five sisters. I did overlap with geology a little bit though when we visited the Eifel National Park region, an ancient volcanic landscape. I obtained credit for two semesters of intermediate level German language with the program. It was the experience of a lifetime; I improved my language skills, met lifelong friends, visited various UNESCO world heritage sites, and hiked along the Rhine and Danube rivers.
Outside the classroom: As a first-year, I did almost everything that pertained to a topic I was passionate about- LEAP (Lafayette Environmental Awareness/Protection Club), Outdoors Club, Running Club, Ultimate Frisbee, STAND (Students Taking Action Now Darfur), and I was a tour guide. Since then I’ve had to scale it back to primarily LEAP and Outdoors Club. I currently serve as the LEAP President.
My hobbies: I ran cross country and track all through high school and currently still run recreationally. I love hiking and outdoors activities in general. In particular, I enjoy birdwatching. I also play guitar and Frisbee on occasion.
After Lafayette: I currently do not have career plans. Long term, my goal is to engage in environmental diplomacy on the international arena. That could manifest itself as a climate scientist, someone who works to encourage cooperation on issues of international hazard mitigation, etc. I am currently considering Fulbright scholarships, graduate school, or an entry level job.