May 11, 2018
As I near the finish line for my M.S. here at the Jackson School, it is easy for me to slip into the sad funk often associated with a graduate student tirelessly writing away and trying to regain the enthusiasm for her research. However, I remind myself that it is important to remember the good moments. For me, a large part of the reason I fell in love with geosciences was the ample opportunities to get out: experience the world so you can understand the Earth!
Thanks to my parents’ drive for adventure and my dad’s (fortuitous) personal access to a company car with a gas card, my family made many camping road trips across the eastern U.S. (and one memorable cross-country excursion to Yellowstone when I graduated high school in 2011). However, for a small-town, east-coast, low-income-background woman such as myself, the idea of traveling across the country, let alone across the ocean, was largely untenable. I knew I wanted to study the Earth when I entered college (College of William & Mary, Virginia), but I hadn’t realized to what extent choosing Geology as a major would allow me to see more of the world. Through the support of my undergraduate faculty, scholarships, and a NSF-REU program, pursuing geology for my B.S. took me across the country for field work and even to Vancouver, Canada to present at a conference. From surfing down cinder cone volcanoes on the Colorado Plateau to hacking through the dense summer vegetation in Virginia, my field experiences laid the foundation that I built my passion for tectonics on (throwing structural geology, petrology, and geochemistry in the mix, too).
Here at the Jackson School, my M.S. work on metamorphic core complexes (rapidly exhumed middle crustal blocks) took me to the Greek islands for two field seasons (yes, work and Greek islands just don’t sound right together). While work on a beautiful island is its own reward, my collaboration with Eirini Poulaki (JSG, M.S. ’18) and Dr. Konstantinos Soukis at the University of Athens was beneficial on a professional level for me because of their geologic and cultural expertise.
With more work in the western U.S. and a planned field course in Svalbard, Norway in my future, I continue to be grateful for the experiences that public and private funding for students studying geoscience have made possible for me. Here’s to finishing up my M.S. and filling up this map with stars on more continents!