Graduation year: 2018
Majors: Geology, applied mathematics
Activities: Varsity cross country, varsity track & field, Udden Geology Club, Omicron Sigma Omicron fraternity (honorary), Board of Trustees Fellow, Phi Beta Kappa
Internships: Rock Island County Health Department, testing mosquitoes for West Nile Virus during the summer after my freshman year; research on fluvial geomorphology with Dr. Ranbir Kang of Western Illinois University during my sophomore and junior years; REU at the University of Delaware last summer under Dr. Art Trembanis, doing research with drones on the coast
Post-grad plans: Pursue a doctorate in oceanography at the University of Delaware
My parents, two of my sisters, my grandparents, many of my cousins, aunts and uncles all went to Augie and absolutely loved it. I was baptized in the chapel. Coming to Augie was not a difficult choice, and I’m glad I made it.
Are you where you thought you’d be when you first came to campus?
Sort of, but who really knows where four years will take you? Not knowing makes things more exciting.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
The list of people who have helped me throughout my life is long, and more people are added to it each day. However, some at Augie include Dr. Michael Wolf, Dr. Jeffrey Strasser, Dr. Kelsey Arkle and Susan Wolf from the geology department. They taught me a lot and were great mentors. Also Dr. Tom Bengtson, Dr. Jon Clauss, Dr. Stacey Rodman and Dr. Andrew Sward from the math department for doing the same. Dr. Paul Olsen was a great coach and professor who helped me stay optimistic, motivated and competitive. My friends and family, especially my parents and sisters, were always there to help me out as well. Shoutout to my teammates, geology classmates and my fraternity brothers! I also have to specifically acknowledge Pete, Evan, Jack and Joey!
Hiking to the summit of Mt. Fuji during East Asia term and hiking out of the Grand Canyon on this year’s geology spring break trip were peak experiences. There is nothing better than getting to hike through some tough but fascinating terrain.
What surprised you?
I have learned how to appreciate uncertainty and failure. They drive me to learn and achieve more. Every time you make a mistake is just another opportunity to improve.
How did you use Augie Choice?
I used it for East Asia term during the fall of 2016. If you have the opportunity to study abroad, go for it! Augie has some great study abroad programs.
What will you miss the most?
Runs with my teammates by the Mississippi River, one of the greatest rivers in the world! Late nights in the mineralogy lab. The midnight breakfast emails. The Swanie Slough. Also Redband Coffee and Uncommon Stout.
Advice for the Class of 2020?
If you find yourself stuck, stressed out and confused, try going outside for a bit. Going for a walk through campus, for a run by the river or for a bike ride to Credit Island can help you clear your head and gather yourself. Sometimes you can find the solution to a problem by simply forgetting about it for a while and moving around outside. When you return, you will be more relaxed and in a better state of mind to jump over whatever obstacle you were stuck behind before.
“Mark is an outstanding student who has excelled in rigorous courses. He’s taken advantage of multiple off-campus opportunities, such as geology field trips to Death Valley, Hawaii and the Grand Canyon; East Asia term; a research position with faculty member at Western Illinois University; and a summer Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Delaware. In addition to his thorough understanding of geology, he is particularly skilled in remote sensing techniques and 3-D imagery!”