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Krista Jankowski, Cara Harwood, and Brady Foreman
at the Macalester Geology Alumni Event, GSA 2011
(Photo by Karl Wirth)
"Words of ‘wisdom’: Work hard and play nice. I will echo Liz Hajek’s advice below on taking math, chemistry, and physics courses while at Macalester. Geology is increasingly becoming an interdisciplinary science and graduate school isn’t getting any less competitive. Taking these courses earlier will prepare you and make you more competitive in the long and short term. Also take advantage of the many opportunities to develop your writing skills at Macalester. I feel this was one of the greatest benefits of a Macalester education. We are fortunate to have small class sizes and professors who are willing to spend the time to help us develop good writing skills. In terms of graduate school…. it is not a 9-5 job. It is an all-the-time job. Do not be mistaken. If you recognize and accept that you will be happier. In fact, being devoted and consumed by your research can be awesomely fun. If you want to
be successful at it you need to work hard, apply for grants, make sure to publish, network, be enthusiastic, be inquisitive, and, at times, be stubborn. There can/will be setbacks (e.g., 100’s of contaminated samples), but the good waaaaaay outweighs the bad. Fieldwork in beautiful areas, travel with fun people (see pictures!), and the pure joy in conquering particularly intransigent scientific problems. If you are looking for grad school advice or whatever feel free to send me an email or find me at the GSA reunions."
Cara Harwood ’06 and Brady Foreman ’04 at Winifred
Tavern in Winifred, Montana after fieldwork in the
Brady Foreman ’04 and Allie Baczynski ’07 hiking in Austrian Alps before presenting at Climate and Biota of the Early Paleogene meeting in Salzburg, Austria.
Chris Dwyer ’05 and Genevive Mathers ’05 taking a
break from digging a trench in Paleocene-Eocene
deposits of western Colorado.
Kirsten Fristad ’05 examining the Beartooth Thrust from afar in the Bighorn Basin of northwest Wyoming.
"After graduating from Mac, I worked as a substitute teacher for Special Ed. district (NE Metro 916) and continued research in both the geography and geology departments at Mac. During that year I had a chance to further explore my interests and decide where to apply for grad school. I went to the University of Wyoming for my MS and Ph.D. I then did a post doc at the University of Minnesota, and now I'm an assistant professor at Penn State - I love it!
"Some advice - if you're interested in grad school, take as much math (and physics and chemistry) as you can while at Mac. These "hard" sciences should be just as much a part of a liberal arts education as, well, the arts, because, like the humanities and social sciences, they provide an important perspective and language which we can use explore and understand the world around us. Also, to get into a good grad school for geology it helps very much to demonstrate a solid background and aptitude in math and physics (and chemistry, if you're geochem/paleobio focused). And even if you're not planning on grad school for geology, these quantitative skills, in my opinion, are universally practical and useful, so embrace them!"
"After graduation I served for two years as a Teach For America corps member and taught HS biology in Memphis, TN. Following TFA, I spent a summer writing and designing the new Junior Paleontologist Activity Book and program for the National Park Service (on a tip from fellow Mac Geo grad Elena Evans). I then came to New York City to pursue my M.A. in Climate & Society at Columbia University. In earning that degree, I became involved in the intersection of climate science and disaster risk management and reduction. That led me to spend the past year working on these issues with the Red Cross Climate Centre in places like Bangkok, Thailand and Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan - both in the field and designing educational materials for the organization. In the fall I will begin my Ph.D work at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. I plan to focus on the natural and social impacts to coastal systems from land use, climate variability, and climate change.
"Without knowing and working with my classmates and Ray, Kelly, Kristi, and Jeff, I wouldn't have taken nearly as many chances in following somewhat disparate callings thus far, nor been nearly as successful each time."
At UMD, my graduate research looked at the effect of vegetation recovery on channel morphology after the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines. After graduate school, I moved to Oklahoma City where I am currently working for the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality as a Hydrogeologist. I work on groundwater monitoring at landfills, hydrogeologic investigations in the Voluntary Clean-Up and Brownfields Programs, and Underground Injection Well control."