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Chance Seckinger, SA-8232 Columbus State University

“The more I learn, the more I real- ize how much I don’t know.” -Albert Einstein

Our Earth becomes more complex every day, and the role of a professional geologist is to be that person who under- stands the Earth and how it has changed over time. Albert Einstein’s quote has

described my journey as an undergraduate geology major quite accurately. I always preferred science in school, but I had no idea about the love I would soon develop for geology. I started with a superficial understanding of science and I only realized how complex the world is when I started learning more about geology. With every class I take, trip I go on, and rock I find, I have more questions about Earth and crave to understand our world even more.

In 2016, I was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps and had the world at my fingertips. I could have gone down any avenue and have pursued any career that I wanted. A tempting option was to become a backpacker and really explore the country while I wasn’t restricted by a family or other obligation. But living off odd jobs to make ends meet still seemed stressful and unrealistic for the long term. My next thought was to find a job field in which I could be with nature, see the country, and have the confidence that I could

Sydney Souza, SA-8894 University of Alaska-Anchorage (Sponsored by the Alaska Section)

Have you ever hiked up a mountain and just stopped and looked around? What did you see? Chances are you saw a beautiful blue sky, green trees and grass, maybe an animal in the distance, and hopefully a calm lake. But what else is there? What were you not seeing when you thoughtfully stared out into

the trees? That’s what I wanted to know. I wanted to figure out “How those mountains and lakes get there?” “What were the rocks were made of?” “What was that weird crack up the side of a cliff caused by”.

I have come back from every hike I have ever gone on with at least two pockets full of rocks. I didn’t know what they were or how they got there. At the time all I cared about was that they were beautiful or weird or just curious. I didn’t realize that one day I would be able to identify some of these rocks and determine their possible origin.

I started college in 2007 at the University of North Dakota. I was studying meteorology with a minor in space studies. I joined a sorority and became the vice president of membership. I loved college. However, I was young and unfocused. I didn’t like my major and became very uninterested in school. After two years of wasting money, I went back home to Anchorage, Alaska and attended University of Alaska at Anchorage. This was when I realized that you could study rocks for a living. I had no idea! It sounded crazy, but had to be true since there was a whole major developed around it. So I studied geology for a year, but I was still that young and unfocused girl. I didn’t do well. I wasn’t failing, but I wasn’t living up to my full potential. I decided that I should stop and take a break to

20 TPG • Jul.Aug.Sep 2018

be financially stable if I were successful. As I transitioned back to the civilian world, I felt a void that even the most estab- lished people feel; I wasn’t sure if what I was doing matters. In the military, it is easy to define your worth in society and no matter how stressful things get, at least you believe that your job is helping the world become a better place. There are plenty of jobs with outside work and financial stability, but my decision to become a geologist came from the realization that I wanted my career to have a meaningful impact on our world.

“Will my house flood in the next 30 years?” “What is my risk of being affected by volcanic erup-

tion?” “Where is the best place to mine…”

Geologists are often given these challenging questions that affect people’s lives in the short and long term. I want to have the expertise and knowledge to work towards answering these essential questions correctly, because the world relies on these answers. Especially with the recent stresses of climate change, resource limitations, and disaster mitigation, the world needs geologists. There will always be unanswered questions in our exploration and understanding of Earth, and since people, companies, and governments pay money to have these ques- tions answered, job stability usually comes along with a geology degree. I am interested in becoming a petroleum geologist after I earn my master’s degree in geology, However, I am confident that with a geology degree I can find a career in any interest- ing geologic field that comes across my path.

think about what I wanted to be and what made me happy. So I joined the Navy.

For six years I served as a Fire Controlman in the United States Navy. Two years were dedicated to learning my job in different schools. Four of those years were spent on board DDG98, the USS Forrest Sherman. My job was to operate and maintain the primary air search radar. The job required me to know a lot about electronics and mechanics. I had to be able to trouble-shoot the equipment and fix it as soon as possible. I went on two deployments as well as spending many days, weeks, and months out to sea.

It was while I was in the Navy that I realized that I didn’t like my job. I was good at it, but it was not at all enjoyable for me. It took some time, but I finally figured out that what I loved was geology. I loved the idea of knowing how mountains formed and where minerals came from. I decided that after I finished my service that I would go back to school and get my bachelors degree in geology.

Now that I have been studying geology for awhile, I love being able to go outside and look at a rock or a structure or a glacier and be able to tell someone a little bit of history based on what I see. It is so much fun for me. Not all of my friends find it as fascinating as I do, but I see that as a challenge to get them interested in the rocks.

I want to be a geologist because it is what makes me happy. I have spent ten years trying to find something that sparks even the slightest interest. Geology does more than that. It makes me feel accomplished, smart, and like I’m doing some- thing that can potentially benefit people. Maybe I’ll study landslides, earthquakes, or petroleum. I don’t know yet what type of geologist I will be, but I am so excited to find out and to keep learning. I am really looking forward to my career as a geologist.

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