Courtenay Duzet is a geoscience master’s student at the University of Montana. Although she had enjoyed geology and collecting rocks since she was a kid, Courtenay feared that there were no viable career options in the field. She entered her bachelor’s degree at Portland State University as a pharmacy major, but disliked the chemistry courses she needed to take for the program. This led Courtenay to switch majors to physics—specifically astrophysics. She transferred to Oregon State University and took a number of classes on volcanoes, ultimately causing her to change her major again to environmental science with a focus in geology.
Jordan Mazur is a recent graduate of Skidmore College, where she studied math and computer science. This September, she will be joining the Los Alamos National Laboratory as a post baccalaureate student. An Earth science field study program sparked Jordan’s interest in geology because there are so many mathematical and programming applications of Earth science. Jordan has loved math since preschool, so when she entered Skidmore College as a first-year student, she knew that she wanted to study math. She initially resisted studying computer science, but was required to take an introductory course for her math major.
Cassie Hanagan is a PhD student at the University of Arizona, where she is studying geophysics. Cassie has always been an outdoors enthusiast and appreciated the environments that she grew up in. Before entering her undergraduate program in her hometown at Pennsylvania State University, she discovered the field of geoscience through a Google search for outdoor careers. With a great Earth and Mineral Science department at Penn State, Cassie decided that geoscience was for her and earned her bachelor’s degree. She also had always enjoyed problem-solving and math, and was particularly interested in active tectonic processes.
Nathaniel (Nat) Quinn recently graduated with a master’s degree in Data Analysis and Visualization from the Pratt Institute. For his master’s program, his capstone project examined the Clean Water Rule of the Clean Water Act and the changes that had occurred under the Trump Administration. Nat created a series of maps depicting the exact streams that were impacted by a repeal of the Clean Water Rule in 2019, which has since been reinstated. At Colorado College, Nat obtained his bachelor’s degree in environmental science and studio art. His internship this summer with OpenTopography through UNAVCO combines his interests in urban and ecological planning with mapping and landscape rendering.
Levi Exner is interning this summer at UNAVCO as a software engineer. Levi entered Colorado State University as a statistics major and was required to take an introductory computer science course. After enjoying the class, Levi decided to switch his major to computer science. He was eager to obtain more computer science experience, especially in a professional setting, and wanted the chance to practice data visualization. Levi found the introductory geology course he took interesting and with his grandfather in the USGS, Levi understood the importance of supporting geological research.
Rebecca (Becca) Bussard is entering her third year as a PhD candidate at the University of Oregon. She uses satellite geodesy, specifically Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR), to measure the surface deformation of Earth. Becca is able to utilize the deformation signals to understand surface and subsurface processes occurring at volcanoes and how these processes impact the signal InSAR retrieves. She also uses GPS data in her work to compare with the InSAR data she processes, as well as multispectral optical data.
Why have a GPS station in the middle of a lake? Based on a recent study published by Lucas Holden at RMIT University and Kristine Larson and the University of Colorado Boulder in the Journal of Geodesy, the reflection of the satellite signal can actually allow the station to precisely measure the changing water level around it. The researchers tested this out with ten years of data at Lake Taupō, New Zealand.
Allison Sowers, a student at Front Range Community College, and Jimmy Swift, a recent graduate of San Juan College and incoming student at New Mexico Tech, are working together this summer during the Geo-Launchpad program.
Madalyn Massey is a rising junior at Front Range Community College. She began college studying nutrition, but realized that she did not want to pursue the subject as a career. Madalyn had taken an environmental science course that she really enjoyed, and she discovered a Forestry certificate that she would be able to obtain in a few semesters and then immediately enter the industry with. Two of Madalyn’s professors told her about the Geo-Launchpad program and it seemed like a great opportunity for Madalyn, as a first-generation college student, to network and obtain professional development experience.
Shamsuddin (Shams) Ahmed is a rising junior at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. After enjoying his laboratory class in high school and learning about how interdisciplinary geoscience is, Shams decided to major in Quantitative Geoscience and minor in mathematics in college. At this point in his academic career, he is looking for opportunities to expand his horizons, to get a taste for the different branches of geoscience before deciding which field interests him the most to eventually pursue a graduate degree in. At Appalachian State University, Shams participated in paleontological research under Dr. Andrew Heckert, working to better understand an Upper Triassic to Mid-Late Norian microvertebrate assemblage from East-Central New Mexico with an incomplete dataset.