Senior Spotlight


The Student Spotlight is currently featuring the class of 2014!!!!!

Check back here to meet our esteemed Geology majors. Learn about their research, travels, and perhaps a kooky factoid or two!







                                                                                                                                                                       

                                                                                                                                                                        April 2012 HEE Field Trip

Lucy Andrews '14

posted Mar 27, 2014, 6:45 PM by Macalester geoclub

Hometown
:  Plymouth, MN

Favorite mineral: Nephrite
Essential geology tools: Auxiliary cord, GPS, and hiking boots


What drew you to the Geology Department? I came for the field trips, was wooed by the beer, and stayed for the science. Also, geology professors at Mac are some of the coolest people I've met, and they keep paying me to go to cool places. It's a good gig.

What has been your favorite geology trip so far? Kelly, a few of my peers, and I conducted field work in Glacier National Park during the summer of 2012. It was pretty neat to explore the geologic history of such a majestic place, and we had plenty of time for hiking and hanging between rock and plant collection outings.

Briefly describe your senior research project: I'm investigating the role of low-frequency, high-magnitude precipitation events in the geomorphic evolution of upland watersheds conditioned by Pleistocene glaciation. I'm specifically examining the record of Hurricane Irene (2011) in a reservoir in Massachusetts by working with a series of lake cores.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  I would be a mountain goat. That way, I could climb mountains, no gear necessary. Talk about ultralight wilderness travel...

What is one food you never want to taste again?  Olives. What a revolting food.

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  Nordic skiing, drinking beverages of all sorts (beer, coffee, tea, soy milk, wine... the list is long)

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be? SUPERVOLCANO

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Working on the problem of water in the American West.

Rachel Karlov '14

posted Mar 27, 2014, 6:37 PM by Macalester geoclub

Hometown:  Appleton, WI
Favorite mineral: Bornite
Essential geology tools: "Gotta have a hammer, a compass, and some solid boots"


What drew you to the Geology Department? I would say field trips and the cool students and professors. I also like that geology has a relaxed vibe in which everyone works together instead of competing with each other.

What has been your favorite geology trip so far? Definitely the J-term trip to the Bahamas! Besides the beach and sun, it was cool to learn about carbonate systems, which we don't really have access to in the frigid Minnesota.

Briefly describe your senior research project: I am studying paleopathology (disease in the fossil record) in the vertebrae of two titanosaurian sauropod taxa from the Late Cretaceous Maevarano Formation of Madagascar. My questions focus on types of pathologies found and whether there is a difference in their location within a single vertebrae and between the two taxa.  

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  Sea turtles- I think they give off a chill vibe.

What is one food you never want to taste again?  Lentils

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  When given the opportunity I love to travel, whether that is taking a small road trip with friends or flying somewhere new. Normally though, you can find me at home watching Netflix with my dog.

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be? Mudslide because I would be buried quickly and hopefully be preserved in the fossil record.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Realistically, in grad school or in a geology related job. Ideally, traveling any and everywhere. Not that the two are mutually exclusive! 

Adam McCullough '13

posted May 9, 2013, 10:59 AM by Macalester geoclub

Hometown:  Homlen, WI
Favorite mineral: Pyrite (Fool's Gold)
Essential geology tools: 
The trusty Brunton, rock hammer, field notebook, and of course a few beers for the campfire at night.

What drew you to the Geology Department?  I realized early that I enjoyed learning about geology, and the professors in the department are awesome teachers. Also, I really liked the atmosphere that was created with my fellow students.

What has been your favorite geology trip so far?  My favorite trip was the Hydrology field trip to northern Minnesota. I really enjoyed participating in a pump test and learned a lot from that experience. Also, hanging out at night was a lot of fun.

Briefly describe your senior research project: My senior capstone was to try and distinguish some Judith River Formation microfossil bonebeds from background sediments based solely on geochemical signatures obtained from XRF analysis.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  A bald eagle because it sounds pretty bad ass.

What is one food you never want to taste again?  Falafel

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  Football!

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be?  Bolide impact. Its quick and unique...

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  I have no idea. 

Travis Dickinson '13

posted May 6, 2013, 3:28 PM by Macalester geoclub

Hometown:  Evanston, IL
Favorite mineral:  Fluorite
Essential geology tools:  
Sleeping Bag, Rock Hammer, and Candy!

What drew you to the Geology Department?  I knew that I loved earth sciences even before I came to Macalester. Then I took a first year course led by Karl and this helped me see how interesting Geology could be. The faculty and other majors were also a lot of fun to be around in any type of environment (department or field).

What has been your favorite geology trip so far?  No doubt, Mojave. Got to go to so many sick places with an awesome group of people!

Briefly describe your senior research project:  I analyzed global ocean temperatures using a wide variety of geostatistical techniques. I am also focusing on the Great Barrier Reef to see if temperature changes are directly correlated to a loss of coral life.


If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  A cat of course! They do what they want and don't care what anyone thinks.

What is one food you never want to taste again?  Eggplant?

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  Ice skating or basketball!

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be?  Bolide impact! You would die quickly and you couldn't escape.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  No clue!

Marcy Nadel '13

posted May 6, 2013, 3:10 PM by Macalester geoclub

Hometown:  Tacoma Park, MD
Favorite mineral: Malachite
Essential geology tools: 
Hand lens, warm socks/hat/scarf 

What drew you to the Geology Department?  My first geology class was a back-up I hadn't been planning on taking, but one day I realized that studying for geology was more fun than doing work for my other classes. Also, I love being able to think about the history of landscapes and rock formations and to make informed guesses about how they formed.

What has been your favorite geology trip so far?  The Mojave! If you have a chance to go on a J-term trip while you're here, you definitely should. It's fantastic being able to visit somewhere new and to travel with the large-scale geology of a region in mind. Also, you get to hang out with your fellow majors and professors outside of class and camp, which is always fantastic.

Briefly describe your senior research project: I've been looking into mineral magnetism in soils from early human archeological sites to see if we find evidence for an impact event, which has been proposed as the cause of end-Pleistocene megafauna extinctions (mastadons, giant sloths...), the Younger Dryas cold period (~12.9 to 11.5 ka), and the abrupt end of the Clovis civilization.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  A cat, because then my housemates would keep me and I wouldn't have to pay rent.

What is one food you never want to taste again?  Fish eyeball. Bleh.

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  Biking, random city exploring, cooking, brewing, hiking (or really just being outside).

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be?  Asteroid impact, definitely. A giant fireball!

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Well that's a great question. Hopefully in a job that's interesting/keeps me from getting bored and where I have a positive impact. Living somewhere new, maybe abroad (or grad school).

Kayla Nussbaum '13

posted May 3, 2013, 8:55 AM by Macalester geoclub   [ updated May 3, 2013, 8:55 AM ]

Hometown:  Newton, MA
Favorite mineral: Franklinite
Essential geology tools: 
A broom handle walking stick with cm-scale sharpie marks drawn up the side. 


What drew you to the Geology Department?  I figured out that becoming a Geo major meant joining an incredible community of people who are always willing to help each other out, and always eager to figure out how the world is put together.

What has been your favorite geology trip so far?  Hydro- Spring 2012. We had a rave in the woods to rival all raves and Big Mac did some really quality blundering.

Briefly describe your senior research project: I am writing my senior honors project on the changes in suspended sediment concentrations in a proglacial meltwater stream on Svalbard. Through an REU project I spent seven weeks there (at 78° N!!) and did field work. It was awesome!

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  A trolldoll

What is one food you never want to taste again?  liverpostej

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  "Cooking really good food and then bragging about it." -Cove John Fylpaa.

He is right.

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be?  Well I would not want my bed to fall in a sinkhole, like this guy: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/01/florida-sinkhole-man/1955895/

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  According to Craddock I'll have triplets and spend a lot of time at the mall. I hope that's not true.

Hannah Boston '13

posted May 2, 2013, 6:15 PM by Macalester geoclub

Hometown:  Mill Valley, CA
Favorite mineral:  Galena
Essential geology tools:  
Extra socks, head lamp, food

What drew you to the Geology Department?  I never planned on studying geology in college. Second semester freshman year I needed one more class to fill out my schedule, and picked History and Evolution of the Earth because it sounded pretty cool and was at the right time. After that course, I got to know how awesome the geology professors and students are and I was hooked!

What has been your favorite geology trip so far?  I don't know if this can really be considered a field trip, but my favorite geology departure from campus was when I studied abroad in New Zealand last Spring. It was really fun to learn about the geology in a different country and New Zealand has some crazy cool rocks.

Briefly describe your senior research project:  
A literary analysis on the current state of earthquake prediction and the social/economical effects of these predictions.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  According to the online quiz I took I would be a peacock.

What is one food you never want to taste again?  Raw eggs... yuck!

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  Soccer, tap-dancing, and drawing

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be?  Pyroclastic flow from a super-volcano eruption in Yellowstone

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  No clue! Hopefully working with kids in some sort of outdoor/environmental education setting.

Nikita Avdievich '13

posted May 2, 2013, 11:37 AM by Macalester geoclub

Hometown:  New York, NY
Favorite mineral:  Malachite
Essential geology tools:  
Cribbage board, a nice thermos, and a few Nature Valley bars.

What drew you to the Geology Department?  Ray's historical class and then some, laid back and knowledgeable professors, an outdoor laboratory, field trips galore, access to some swanky equipment and some pretty sweet rocks.

What has been your favorite geology trip so far?  Hydro, Spring 2012 at Deep Portage. Good company, good science, good fun. We missed springfest but apparently it was worth it.

Briefly describe your senior research project:  Calcite twinning paleotress study on a Cretaceous metamorphic core complex in Northeast China.


If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  Sloth so I could chill.

What is one food you never want to taste again?  Cheez-Its.

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  Trick question. Everything is related to geology. I like to climb rocks.

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be?  Surfing down a debris flow.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Sitting on a pretty rock and getting paid to do it.

Mitchell Awalt '13

posted May 2, 2013, 11:24 AM by Macalester geoclub   [ updated May 3, 2013, 9:04 AM ]

Hometown:  Baltimore, MD
Favorite mineral: Glaucophane
Essential geology tools: 
Camera, notebook, hackysack

What drew you to the Geology Department?  The sense of community that the geology department has is really what drew me to the major. The way faculty and students interact is really unique, and I find this to be one of our major strengths. Faculty are always around and willing to talk and answer questions. They always have time for students - even when the topic of conversation isn't related to class. I think that geology students also look out for one another and are always willing to help, making this a really tight knit and close group of people.

What has been your favorite geology trip so far?  My favorite field trip has to be the Global Tectonics trip up to Canada. The fact that it is the only currently running international class field trip is a plus. Also, the small group that fits in a single van made it really fun. The Archean rocks north of the border are spectacular and really worth seeing.

Briefly describe your senior research project: I was part of a Keck Geology project that traveled to Santa Catalina Island, CA, to study the metamorphic rocks of the Catalina Schist. As it turns out, the project was led by Zeb Page, a Mac alum from 1999. My project focused on a garnet-blueschist block. I used petrography, geochemistry, and thermodynamic modeling to determine the protolith, chemical alteration, and metamorphic conditions that the block formed at. All of these questions helped to inform regional tectonic models for the evolution of the western margin of North America.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  I would want to be a hawk. What a great way to scout for good outcrops.


What is one food you never want to taste again?  I could probably go without eating jellyfish like we did in Paleobiology ever again.

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  I really like backpacking and camping. Just being outdoors in general is pretty nice. Photography is also a favorite activity of mine - especially film photography.

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be?  Its not really a disaster, but I really want to be subducted. It would be really cool if my body could be brought down with the down-going oceanic plate to depths of ~100km. An eclogitized human being would probably look pretty cool. Also, new record for deepest burial?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Hopefully I'll be wrapping up grad school, or already in a PhD program. I can't decide yet whether I want to pursue metamorphic petrology or sedimentology, but either one of those topics is a good bet for what I'll be studying.

Danny Morel '13

posted Apr 30, 2013, 2:31 PM by Macalester geoclub

Hometown:  New York, NY
Favorite mineral: Specular Hematite
Essential geology tools: 
Camera for memories, cards for entertainment, headlamp for evenings, hand lens for rocks.

What drew you to the Geology Department?  The subject matter itself, the great balance of lecture/hands-on lab/field trips, the fun people in the classes, and the awesome profs!

What has been your favorite geology trip so far?  Definitely hydrology. It was a weekend trip to where the UofM hosts its graduate-level hydrology field camp. We learned a lot, got great hands-on experience, and confirmed that Mac geologists have way more fun than your average student (aka "Bowser"). We did miss Springfest because of the fieldtrip, which was a bummer, but in the end I think we actually may have had more fun. 

Briefly describe your senior research project: 
For my capstone I looked at volcanic ash from Ashfall Fossil Beds State Park in Nebraska. Ashfall is a unique geological site because a remarkable death assemblage of large-mammal fossils is preserved in the 2m ash deposit. In particular, I compared the geochemical and physical characteristics of the background ash to the ash on the margins on fossils. I used the XRF to look for compositional variation between samples, and the SEM to image the ash and determine composition locally with the EDS. It was a great learning experience and a fun project. I highly recommend doing independent research senior year; it’s very rewarding to be able to call the shots on a project that is truly your own, and it’s a rare opportunity to be given such freedom. Thanks to the Geology Department and the professors for all your help and support!  

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?  A kea, the world's only alpine parrot native to New Zealand. Smart, curious, brilliant plumage, and you get to bug tourists in the valleys (they're known for eating people's shoelaces or even rubber parts of car doors) and then fly up into the mountains when you get tired of it.

What is one food you never want to taste again?  The quintessential gross, not filling improv-meal that you are often forced to make on the last night of a camping trip when you've run out of legit food.

What is your favorite non-geology pastime?  Non-geology? I don't understand.... haha all jokes aside, definitely skiing. 

If you could die in any type of geological disaster, what would it be?  Getting hit in the head by a meteorite. How unlucky/lucky would that be? Or witnessing the Yellowstone caldera explode because that would be awesome.  

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?  No definite plans, but some awesome Geology-related profession, hopefully. Maybe USGS, something with National Parks, or environmental consulting?

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