About my academic concentrations: I am working towards an AB major within the Geology department. This major is being joined by an AB Government & Law major as well. I love the letter “G” and so these two majors seemed to be just what I was looking for.
How I came to be a geo major: Quite frankly, as a first-year, I was scared of endeavoring into the natural sciences. The college requirements for two science courses loomed large in my life as I heard horror stories of the challenges of the biology and chemistry classes I thought were in my future. Then, in the process of signing up for second semester classes, one of my buddies from down the hall suggested I give a geology class a try. I didn’t know we had geology. Couldn’t really tell you what geology was. But when he told me, “Hey, there are field trips!” I decided to give it a try. I loved it. I was drawn into it because, in my perception, it is taught in a way opposite of other natural sciences like biology and chemistry. It is taught from the “big picture” down, not the “small picture” up. That style of teaching really fits my style of learning, so I have enthusiastically continued my education in the department.
What I like about the geo department: I am from a small town of some 2,000 people in central New Hampshire and I love the small town lifestyle. Cities drive me nuts! The Geology Department embodies that small town, community oriented feel. From both the faculty and the other students, I get a real sense that I am working on a team rather than on my own. This down-to-earth community atmosphere has been one of the most unique and appreciated aspects of my education at Lafayette.
My favorite geo class: My favorite aspect of geology is that, as a science, it studies one of the things I enjoy most: the outdoors. Based on this, my favorite class has been Geology 160: The Geology of the National Parks of the Western US, an interim course in which the class spent three weeks exploring what seemed like every nook and cranny of the southwest. Not only was this my favorite geology class to date, it’s also right up there with my favorite experiences altogether. This interim course made real for me the sheer power and grand scale of the forces of the earth and gave me a profound appreciation for what “deep time” and geologic time scales really mean. It was like having an interactive textbook in which you could just jump into the pictures and have everything “click.” But what made this course so rewarding was not the clearer understanding of the earth I walked away with, but the new curiosities about the earth that it sparked.
What fascinates me about geology: Time. The time scales upon which geologic processes occur are so fascinatingly large. One cannot be educated in geology without gaining a new perspective and greater appreciation for the earth and for our own existence within the earth systems we inhabit. Geologic time—million and billion year times scales—looms so large that as much as you talk about it, learn about it, and immerse yourself in it, when you reflect on it, the concept of geologic time never loses its “awe” factor.
I like thinking about the geologic stories landscapes tell: I don’t think there is a geologically “uncool” place to be (I guess maybe Iowa). Relating this back to the concept of “geologic time,” no matter where you are, at some point, something geologically “cool” happened there. So yeah, I’ve been to Hawaii. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon. I’ve been swimming in geothermal hot springs in Wyoming. These are all geologically active places and that makes them pretty fun to visit. But I also go to school in a region right where Africa once slammed up against North America, that’s pretty cool. We can take a short van ride from school and look at faults from the extension and rifting that occurred as Africa and North America ripped themselves apart. Granted, this isn’t happening “right now,” but imagining what it must have looked like here 250 million years ago…it must have been pretty “cool.” There’s an exciting geologic story to tell—or solve—just about everywhere, and that’s what makes it so exciting and fun for me.
Outside the classroom: I am member of the Lafayette Crew team and have served as the Varsity Men’s captain for the Spring ’10 and Fall ’10 semesters. While rowing gives me most of and generally more exercise than I desire, I also am involved in “solo-cycling,” also known as riding a bike by yourself. This past semester I became a Writing Associate (WA) for the College Writing Program and worked with a Marketing Science class in the Economics department. I am currently working with Professor Lennertz of the Government & Law department through the EXCEL program on research studying the upcoming redistricting and reapportionment processes that will accompany the release of the 2010 census later this winter.
My hobbies: I’ve begun more and more in recent years to crave outdoor adventure. Bear Grylls is certainly partially responsible for this. I love going for long summer cycling rides all over New Hampshire. Hiking the White Mountains has always been another summer favorite and I’ve begun to go there for winter hikes as well. Speaking of winter, I love snow. Cross country skiing. Downhill skiing. Snowmobiling. Snowshoeing. All some of my favorites. Come late winter, a significant portion of my attention turns to fantasy baseball and cheering for the Red Sox. I love hitting the links as well. Forced inside by weather or sore muscles, I dabble with the piano and am not unopposed to a good nap.
My future plans: It’s been my goal since the December of 6th grade to go to law school after college. I will be putting that on hold for two years post-graduation in order to pursue a legal internship next summer and fall and—for the grand finale of my youth—to attempt hiking the Appalachian Trail from end to end beginning in the winter of 2012.