Graduation year: 2018
Activities: Augustana Campus Ministries Leadership Team, Augustana Choir, Udden Geology Club, Delta Omega Nu fraternity
Internships: USGS/NAGT summer field research intern (summer 2017), Unimin Inc. (present)
Post-grad plans: I will attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee this fall for graduate studies in the Department of Geosciences. My graduate advisor will be Dr. John Isbell ’81.
I chose Augustana for several main reasons. First, I had the opportunity to continue the sport I love at a higher level of competition. Second, the geology department is stellar. The faculty devote countless hours and tremendous amounts of energy with each student, helping them reach their individual goals. And lastly, my grandma is only a short 15-minute drive away!
Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?
Absolutely not. I have changed my focus of study within geology numerous times. However, I am very pleased with where I am at today.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
Definitely my parents. Their unconditional support and enthusiasm helped to keep me grounded and drove me to reach goals that I never thought possible.
I also would not be attending graduate school at UW-Milwaukee were not for my faculty advisors Dr. Strasser and Dr. Wolf, as well as Susan Wolf. During Homecoming 2017, I was invited to attend dinner with several alumni of the department. My advisors thought it would be a good idea to sit me next to Dr. Isbell because of our similar research interests. I never would have suspected that he would be my future advisor! Dr. Isbell and I ended up hitting it off, and we both couldn’t stop talking to each other for the duration of the dinner.
Not only did Dr. Strasser and Dr. Wolf set me up with a wonderful opportunity for grad school, they also were of the utmost importance in helping me complete my Senior Inquiry. We were able to bounce ideas off each other, and they provided me with much-needed feedback as I drafted my paper for peer-review and publication.
A peak experience was traveling to western China and seeing the towering mountains of the Tibetan Plateau while on East Asia Term. I have always dreamed of seeing the mountain vistas from the “Roof of the World,” and while it wasn’t quite Tibet (we were less than 50 miles away!), I’m still going to count it.
What surprised you?
I am not nearly as outgoing as I thought I was in high school. It is hard for me to meet new people, but once I get comfortable with someone, it’s hard to shut me up! It’s a work in progress, but I am slowly getting over my shyness—thanks to the innumerable research conferences at which all geology majors are required to attend and present.
How did you use Augie Choice?
Studying abroad on East Asia Term. If you have the chance to study abroad, do it! Augie has some great study abroad programs, and you won't have an opportunity like this again.
What will you miss the most?
Singing with the Augustana Choir. I didn't have any intention of singing in college. But now that I am on my way out, Augie Choir is hands down the thing that I am going to miss most! From day one of each new academic year, Dr. Hurty instills in the ensemble a sense of community and family. We begin the year struggling with diction and keeping the tempo. However, once tour rolls around toward the end of the year, the sounds and music that we create are unbelievably beautiful.
Advice for the Class of 2022?
It is okay to fail. Heck, I even encourage it! I definitely was not a stellar student. I had my fair share of poor performances in the classroom, and I beat myself up pretty hard whenever a grade didn't go my way. So I learned early on that one (or a few) bad grades did not define me as the quality student that I truly am. I beefed up my résumé with a bunch of research experiences and got involved with organizations outside of the classroom. And so far, employers and graduate admission committees have had more to say about my independent research in the Bighorn Mountains and my internship with the USGS than the one poor grade I received in Calculus 3 my junior year.
“Jack’s field geology sense is exceptional. As a junior, he began his field work and geochemical analyses in Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains. As a senior, Jack added new insights to the geological understanding of Earth nearly three billion years ago! His inquisitiveness and drive to understand the fundamental way that nature works is a hallmark of a genuine scientist. While at Augustana, Jack demonstrated that he was capable of completing graduate-level research, and I look forward to seeing what parts of Earth’s mountain-building mystery he will solve in his graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.”