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Geology

From left, Lauren Kirik, Brian Konecke, Diana Boudreau and Matt Osman (not pictured) took top prizes at the Geological Society of America North-Central Section meeting in April 2014. (More)

  • Careers/internships
  • About the program
  • What students say

Geology majors are well-prepared for graduate school in earth and environmental sciences or law, and many majors pursue careers in earth sciences, education or business. Many geology majors also choose to minor in environmental studies or biology.

Paid internships

During recent summers, geology majors held paid internships and jobs in:

• Research on the heat-treatment of gemstones, Chanthaburi, Thailand.
• Research on mercury contamination of Arctic birds, Thule, Greenland
• Internship at the Carnegie Institution, Washington, D.C on the biogeochemistry of ancient Earth.
• Internship to study the health of urban watersheds, Upper Mississippi Center, Augustana College. 
• Internship in the paleontology lab of the Field Museum, Chicago
• Teaching assistantship for a geology field course, Wyoming.
• Dinosaur tooth histology research in the paleo labs at Augustana College.
• Northern Rockies Paleontology Assistantship through GeoCorps and the National Park Service.

Recent graduates

A sampling of what recent graduates in geology are doing:

Evan Blodgett '15  is a Staff Geologist for the geotechnical engineering firm Chosen Valley Testing in Rochester, Minnesota.

Diana Boudreau '14  is a Fossil Preparator and Research Assistant at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.

Jordan Carey '14  is an environmental consulting Project Manager for BBJ Group, Chicago, Illinois.

Lauren Kirik '14 is an Operations Geologist with Apache Corporation, San Antonio, Texas.

Brian Konecke '14 is pursuing a Ph.D. in geochemistry/economic geology at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Matt Osman '14  is a Fulbright Award winner and is pursuing a Ph.D. in glaciology/climatology at the MIT's Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Joint Program, Massachusetts.

Elizabeth Fisher '13 is a full-time Preparator for the Transantarctic Vertebrate Paleontology Project at the Field Museum, Chicago.

Randy Lightfoot '13 is a Staff Professional Geologist for Antea Group, Des Moines, Iowa.

Carl Peters '13 is an Environmental Geologist for Sullivan International Group, Indianapolis, Indiana.

Maren Mathisen '12 received a master's degree in geology at the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin and is working for Statoil, Houston, Texas. 

Austin Emmer '12 is a Pollution Control Technician with the Metropolitan Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, Illinois.

Jeremy Hoffman '11 is working on a doctorate in glacial geology at Oregon State University. He was the first recipient of the American Geophysical Union David E. Lumley Young Scientist Scholarship for Energy and Environmental Science. 

Augustana offers a major and minor in geology. The department emphasizes field experiences, offering numerous local and distant field trips every year and providing opportunities for student research during the summer and the school year.

Students can earn a departmental distinction upon successful completion of both a superior senior research thesis, and the geology degree with a GPA of at least 3.5.

The geology faculty all are engaged in active research, much of which is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), including Research Experiences for Undergraduates funded projects. Research projects may vary with student interest and funding. Recent projects have included experimental petrology, paleontology, geomorphology, hydrology and glacial geology. Many students participate in NSF-funded programs during the summer between junior and senior year. Students have traveled to Alaska, Mongolia, Iceland, Maine, Kamchatka, and the Caribbean Islands with such programs. The geology department also supports research and field trip experiences with additional funding.

Matt Osman '14, geology major, mathematics and environmental studies minor:

"I came stumbling into Geology 101 fall term of freshmanyear after spooking myself out of taking calculus. Now,as a graduate researcher at the Massachusetts Instituteof Technology (MIT), it seems indisputable that fewother decisions in my life have been quite as formativeor fortuitous. The rigorous-yet-supportive structure ofthe geology major endowed me with the tools and confidencenecessary for high-caliber research at MIT.The myriad opportunities for intellectual growth, travel,and hands-on research at Augustana may be as vastas the study of the Earth itself! From early on, my ownunique passion for polar climates and the cryosphere(ice) was fully fostered by my geology professors, whopromoted my participation in two distinct Arctic expeditionsand research projects, respectively.Whether you have an insatiable curiosity for the naturalworld, or simply wonder what it feels like to morphrocks out of smoldering lava, Augustana geology willhave something for you."

Elizabeth Fisher '13, geology and biology major

"I was originally attracted to Augustana because of itsexcellent geology program and the many opportunitiesto go out in the field, the smaller class size-giving mea greater likelihood to know my professors personally-and the overall liberal arts experience. But it was thefriendliness and enthusiasm of students and teachersthat really made me feel like I was wanted on campusand would do well at Augustana.I had many opportunities to travel around the U.S. withthe help of money donated from alumni. I went to theNebraska Badlands, Hawaii, the Grand Canyon,Wyoming, and the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show. I alsowas part of the Transantarctic Vertebrate PaleontologyProject, thanks to Dr. Hammer. Through this project, Iwas given the opportunity to intern at the Field Museumin Chicago and travel to a dinosaur quarry near Hanksvillewith the Burpee Museum (Rockford, Ill.). I also did workfor the Transantarctic Vertebrate Paleontology Projectthrough my Senior Inquiry."Elizabeth Fisher '13, geology and biology

Jeremy Hoffman ‘11, geology major, classics minor:

“Nearly every faculty member I’ve studied under at Augustana has served to help me get here, but I especially credit the extraordinary talent within our geology department with really giving me the major push forward. Without them as a rock (pun intended) to cling to, I wouldn’t have made it very far in my senior research endeavors. Learning that I could intrinsically motivate myself to sit in the mineralogy lab in the basement of Swenson Geosciences for nearly six to seven hours a day picking microscopic plankton shells out of sand last summer was perhaps the most important step in completing my Senior Inquiry project, which has catapulted me into the national undergraduate research limelight as of late. Further, it has given me confidence that I can complete any assignment given to me, whether it be academic or professional.”

Discover rich fossil history in our area

John Oostenryk, assistant curator at Augustana College’s Fryxell Geology Musuem, says fossil explorers will find marine and invertebrate fossils in the area from the Sirulian and Devonian geologic periods and also plant fossils, although they are more frail.

Joey Romero '15: stronger than ever

Joey Romero is in the geosciences Ph.D. program at Arizona State University. Originally set on being a vet, he discovered a passion for geology and foreign language. "Though these three majors aren’t where I would have pictured myself my first year, I wouldn’t change the choices I’ve made because of all of the fantastic opportunities they’ve provided me with."

Adventurer of the Year to speak at Environmental Film Festival

Deia Schlosberg, environmental filmmaker and National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, will be the featured speaker at the 10th annual Environmental Film Festival March 28. Films will run from 11 a.m.­- 4:15 p.m. in Olin Auditorium. Admission is free; doors open at 10:30 a.m.

Geology news and notes

News from the Augustana Department of Geology about field trips, internships, student publications and honors.

’14 geology grad describes job as ‘so much fun’

Lauren Kirik '14 came to Augustana to become a graphic designer, but an internship at a full-service branding company convinced her otherwise. Dr. Mike Wolf suggested she take a course in mineralogy after Geology 101, and as Kirik says, "I never looked back."

Video: Augie Minute with Dr. Michael Wolf

Geology professor Michael Wolf discusses his "volcano lab" and some of the projects his students are working on.

Exhibit shows insects and art together

Captured: Using Insects to Inspire Art will be on display through Nov. 6 at Augustana's Thomas Tredway Library. Visitors are welcome to view the exhibit during library hours. Augustana faculty, staff, students and their families are invited to a Family Night from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 17. Admission is free.

Dinosaur hunter helps police identify skeletal remains

When he's not hunting for fossils in Antarctica or lecturing to his Augustana students about prehistoric life, William Hammer helps local law enforcement agencies in their investigations by classifying unidentified bones. Although some police departments have their own forensic anthropologist — someone who examines and identifies human skeletal remains — local Illinois investigators call Hammer.

On to Greenland, glaciers and MIT

Matt Osman was in a tough spot. He had a life-changing decision to make and not a lot of time. "It completely consumed my psyche for an entire month," he said. "I never was expecting to be in the position to be choosing between the top research university in the world and a Fulbright."

More Than I Imagined: Matt Osman

Senior Matt Osman wasn't "academically oriented" in high school. "I only enrolled in Geology 101 at random," he said. "Now, four years later, I'm graduating with degrees in both geology and math and am set to attend one of the world's foremost scientific research institutions! Who'da thunk it?"
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