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“WHY I WANT TO BE A GEOLOGIST...” Uziel Rendon, SA-8457 Stephen F. Austin State University

I have always been interested in the way the Earth was formed and I knew that a career in Geology would lead me to a better understanding of the world around me. Early in my studies, I was not so sure what career path I wanted to take. However, during a summer hiking trip I could not help but to marvel at how

mountains and bodies of water formed. I knew that I wanted to know more and my hunger to explore pushed me into the field of geology. The more I explored the more questions intrigued me. Luckily, I have a friend who is a geologist who encour- aged my desire to pursue a degree in geology. As my desire grew, I invested more of my time reading about the geological occurrences around me. To my advantage my college offered an Introduction to Geology Course so naturally, I signed up. It was there that I discovered my hidden passion for Geology.

I am currently a Junior at Stephen F. Austin State University and pursuing a degree in Geology with a minor in Geographical Spatial Science (GIS). I think GIS will help me become more versatile in a career that is evolving with technology. I am also a member of the AIPG and a member of the SFA Geology club. My ambition to learn more is what has driven me through courses such as Geology Through Time, which shows us how small our human time scale is in comparison to the billions of years that other organisms have lived. It has also taught me how layers of rock were formed and how to identify fossils of organisms that once inhabited the Earth. Understanding the geology of the past can help me identify areas of economic significance. Another course

Evan Millsap, SA-9199 Utah State University

As scientists, we are taught to avoid hyperbole. Our descriptions should always be deliberate and moderate. And yet I can say with sincerity that geology changed my life.

I am a first-generation college stu- dent. My oldest sister was born when my mother was seventeen, and eight of us

siblings followed. My extended family consisted of conservative construction workers who taught me to disdain education. Real men build things, they said. Nevertheless, I managed to get a scholarship to Utah State University, still unsure what I would study. In my third semester, a geology professor convinced me to sign up for his class. After two lectures, I switched my major and never looked back.

Since then I have gained thirteen months of teaching experience and eight months of research experience. I have been working with Dr. Tammy Rittenour using Optically Stimulated Luminescence dating to determine the age of a unique Pleistocene mammoth not previously described in southern Utah. These mammoth bones are surrounded by horse, bison, ox, and carnivore fossils and fill a gap in the fossil record. They reveal new things about climate, fluvial geomorphology and local plant flora.

I want to be a geologist because I love research. Over the past year, I have been able to take part in every step of the

that intrigued me was Mineralogy, this course has taught me the importance of knowing which minerals form, which rocks and how their crystal structures dictate the hardness and diaphaneity of the mineral. Knowing the chemical makeup of a rock can reveal the processes of its origin which can lead to discovery of an ore. Acquiring new knowledge is what drives me through these courses. I often find myself admiring the local natural Geology and looking for it everywhere I travel. For example, the Weches formation that surrounds SFA is a natural and beautiful formation that gives rise to vivid scen- ery that I admire and study regularly. Whether it be taking pictures or researching these natural occurrences in nature, I am always thirsting for more knowledge in this field. The wonderful advantage of a geologist is that we become explor- ers who help inform others about the natural processes that some may not understand. As an aspiring geologist, I hope to make a difference through my understanding of the envi- ronment. Currently, my studies in petrology are helping me understand the diagenesis of sedimentary rocks, and how to identify their clasts.

As I continue my path to becoming an Environmental Geologist, I know that I will gain the skills necessary to bring about a more sustainable environment. I live in a country where hard work and dedication are the keys to suc- cess. Therefore, I strive not only to learn the material but to understand how I can apply it. Finally, to become an expert geologist I will examine with an open mind knowing that I may not hold all the knowledge, but through persistence and dedication I can obtain the tools needed to reach my goals. I am committed to explore new horizons, so I can become a geologist of tomorrow.

scientific process. With the help of Dr. Rittenour, I developed a testable hypothesis: that the mammoth lived between 90-150 ka. ago. I developed an experiment and proved my hypothesis correct: the mammoth was 130 ka. old. Now, in April and May, I will present at the Utah State University Student Research Symposium and the Geological Society of America, Rocky Mountain Section Meeting.

I plan on continuing to do research, and to establish my career as a name in the geological community. I want to be a geologist because I want to discover new things. As part of my undergraduate project, we filled a small hole in the fossil record for southern Utah. I want to do similar things for the rest of my life.

I have been accepted to the University of California, Merced, Ph.D. program, where I will be studying geochemistry and paleontology starting this fall. This is a fully-funded position, a huge responsibility, and the first step in what I hope will be a lifelong career of research. I will be working with Dr. Sora Kim. I hope to collaborate well with Dr. Kim and apply what I learned working with Dr. Rittenour.

Before I can begin my Ph.D. program, I must complete my Bachelor’s Degree. This includes attending Idaho State University’s Field Camp. Not only is field camp required by my university, field work is one of the reasons I became a geologist. However, ISU’s camp is expensive ($5,200). I need to find a way to fund camp, so I can learn excellent field methods and go on to complete my dissertation and begin a career in geological research. Thank you.

18 TPG • Jul.Aug.Sep 2018

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