Prospective Students

Prospective Students

Ria Sarkar silo cropped joomlacopyRia Sarkar was a first-year student, undecided about her major, when she landed a work-study job at the Rutgers Geology Museum.

She enjoyed working there so much that she enrolled in an introductory geology course offered by the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, and taught by her supervisor at the museum, Lauren Neitzke Adamo.

“I connected right away with geology,” Sarkar said. “It was that sense of being aware of our natural surroundings and all the issues that are related to that."

“It became obvious to me that this would be my major.”

Sarkar, who graduated in 2016, is now applying her knowledge at Liberty Science Center she works as an interpretation associate, or educator, conducting experiments with kids and teaching them about amazing ecosystem just outside the center’s walls.

She is also planning to pursue graduate school.

“I feel really lucky I found something I am so passionate about,” she said. “My professors were really amazing, and all of the classes were designed so well. I was able to delve really deep into topics. I can’t wait to see what the graduate program offers.”

Beverly ChiuName: Beverly Chiu

Major(s) and Minor: Geological Sciences major, biology minor

Year: 2015

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Why did you choose Geology as your major?

I chose to major in Geology because it’s such a broad and inter-disciplinary science that encompasses many interesting subjects!

What did you like most about it?

I thought the class field trips were so cool because they allowed us to go outside and apply what we were learning about in class. Also the small size of the department made for a nice, personal feel while at a huge university.

What is your current position, what do you, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I’m currently a geomicrobiology laboratory manager and research assistant. I enjoy the variety in my everyday duties working in a lab, and being in an environment where I am constantly learning.

What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?

I went to graduate school right after Rutgers, and got my current position after graduating.

How did you move from that first job to your current position?

N/A – My current position is my first job.

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?

I was really lucky to have amazing post-doc and graduate student mentors when I pursued undergraduate research. Those experiences were invaluable and helped me succeed in grad school.

What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?

Explore! Talk to your professors about their research and field work, and try to get involved with something that interests you.

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Peter Graham

Name: Peter R Graham      

Major(s) and Minor: Geology

Year: 2010

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cell: (609) 610-7467

ALUM:

Why did you choose X as your major?

I’ve always liked being outdoors and Geology is a good way to get outside and get paid for it.

What did you like most about it?

The class work was interesting and the small class sizes led to a comfortable and effective learning experience.

What is your current position, what do you, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am a Project Geologist at Golder Associates (consulting and Engineering Services) in Newark, NJ. I enjoy that my job tasks vary highly from day to day and I have a flexible work schedule.

What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?

After Rutgers I attended the Colorado School of Mines, working as a Teaching Assistant, while working towards a Master of Science in Geology. I was able to find and attend the master’s program at the Colorado School of Mines through assistance and recommendations of the professors who I worked with at Rutgers. Shortly after I graduated from Mines, I joined Golder Associates in New Jersey.

How did you move from that first job to your current position?

I have remained at the same company and used the knowledge I gained at Rutgers and in graduate school. I began working on field tasks, overseeing soil and groundwater investigations, I obtained professional licensure in Pennsylvania in 2016 and have become more involved in proposals, reporting, and other office tasks as my career has progressed.

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?

I received an excellent geology education at Rutgers that has served me well, and the writing requirements at Rutgers prepared me well for graduate school and for my professional career.

What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?

Find a degree that leads to a job. While you should be interested in the topics you study, you also should study things that will lead to a job you enjoy.

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Helen Janiszewski

Name: Helen Janiszewski

Major(s): Geological Sciences, Physics; Minors: Mathematics, Russian Language

Year: 2012

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Cell: 201 835 4673

ALUM:

Why did you choose X as your major?

I was a kid obsessed with dinosaurs (and I am now still an adult obsessed with dinosaurs), which fueled my initial interest in earth sciences. I didn’t have any formal earth sciences classes before college, but through books, museum trips, vacations to national parks, and more, I think I was always a little in awe of the diversity of processes and organisms that make up our planet. I entered college excited about the fact that I was finally going to be able to take classes in earth science, and I was already planning on majoring in Geological Sciences before I started my freshman year. I paired that with a Physics major as well, because I appreciated the construction of quantitative problems and solutions in that field and wanted to have a background in both.

What did you like most about it?

Almost everything… The professors, the other students, the grad students and postdocs, the classes, the research, the field trips, the department BBQs and potlucks. I got to study a field that I had always wanted to study, and made friends along the way. I still run into professors and students from Rutgers at conferences, and my undergrad advisor, Vadim Levin, is still introducing me to new people. It was pretty much everything I could have hoped for in a major.

What is your current position, what do you, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC. I do research in seismology, and I am mostly focused on determining the seismic properties of plates at subduction zones so we can better understand processes related to earthquakes, volcanoes, and more broadly plate tectonics. That’s the broader idea at least, but the most fun daily aspect for me is that I get to come into my office and spend my time working on scientific questions that I think are valuable and interesting, and that I am surrounded by other scientists that have varying interests and expertise that I can talk with and learn from. It’s a very dynamic and energetic environment, and a lot of fun to be a part of.

What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?

After Rutgers I went on to a Ph.D. program in Geophysics at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. While it’s the not exactly a traditional post-undergrad job, most Ph.D. programs in the sciences in the United States cover your tuition and pay you a stipend for living expenses. I had the opportunity to do research in geological sciences at both Rutgers and at Lamont as an undergrad, and was engrossed by it. After those experiences I was pretty sure that I wanted to have a career that involved research and teaching in the earth sciences, and those basically require a Ph.D. I applied to programs in my senior year at Rutgers, and decided to start at Columbia the following fall. As a Ph.D. student, I was doing research for my dissertation and also working as a teaching assistant for courses.

How did you move from that first job to your current position?

At this point, I am hoping to get a job either as a professor or a researcher in the future. Right now I am a postdoc, which is a temporary employment at a university or research institute where I get to keep doing more research in my field, and is a pretty typical type of employment in between a Ph.D. and getting a permanent position. For this particular position, I applied to several postdocs about a year before I defended my Ph.D. and was fortunate enough to wind up at Carnegie!

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?

The overall support from the Earth and Planetary Sciences department (as well as the Physics department) played a huge role. The double major and double minor was a challenge, but would have been an absolute nightmare without an encouraging environment. The positive tone set for the undergraduate program in geology was invaluable. In addition, the professors I encountered during my major had an incredible breadth of knowledge and diverse professional collaborations that helped to give me a broad fundamental background educationally and set me up with valuable future connections in the field.

What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?

Take the fullest advantage of what Rutgers has to offer you; there are so many resources and opportunities. And one of those resources is the professors themselves! Talk to them, both in and outside of the classroom. Ask them for advice about classes, research opportunities, and any other opportunities you may be looking for. I encountered incredibly knowledgeable and supportive professors at Rutgers, and they were full of helpful advice. Don’t be shy!

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Sean Kinney1

Name: Sean Kinney

Major(s) and Minor: Geology

Year: 2014

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.         

Cell: 201-925-3532

ALUM:

Why did you choose Geology as your major?

It took me a long time to settle on a career path. Growing up, I was interested in everything – from truck driving to theoretical physics. I even considered going to art school for a while. I eventually choose geology because it provided the opportunity to maintain my varied interests and apply them to interesting, meaningful problems in how Earth and planetary systems operate. I approach geology as an integrated application of all the other physical sciences and focus on the research questions that I find most compelling. In that way, I was very fortunate to never truly ‘settle’ on a major. I would encourage anybody who has an interest in the physical sciences, but maybe some difficulty in deciding, to check out Earth and Planetary Science as an option.

What did you like most about it?

Being in a relatively small department meant reasonable class sizes and close contact with the faculty. I think this environment helped facilitate the types of interactions and experiences that helped me decide on a career in academia. Studying geology in New Jersey also meant some great field trips, where some of the best examples of sea level change, astronomically-paced climate change, records of the largest volcanic eruptions on the planet, and records of some of the largest mountains to have existed are all less than a two hour drive away.

What is your current position, what do you, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I’m currently in the fifth year of my PhD at Columbia University in New York. Though I’m still in graduate school, it is very much a job. There is no typical day, or week, or month – and that makes life exciting. I have several projects, all of them multi-disciplinary, and have had the opportunity to do quite a bit of interesting field work and lab work.

What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?

I went straight into my PhD program after finishing – so I’m still working on it! It’s worth noting for undergraduates thinking about a PhD or Master’s program, that the application process is typically quite different than the transition from high school to college. It’s important to get involved with research, to reach out to potential advisers (and their current/former students), and go to conferences if you have the opportunity. You’re deciding on an adviser/department much more than a school, but you want to consider lifestyle factors too (e.g., rural vs. urban). Five years is a long time and you want to make sure you’ll be happy not only in your research but also in where you’re living.

How did you move from that first job to your current position?

In my program, like most PhD programs, there are a series of checkpoints through which you have to advance. For me this involved a Master’s exam, qualifying exam, and dissertation proposal. Additionally, we’re expected to complete a certain number of course credits and TA a certain number of classes. In my fifth year, I’m primarily focused on completing lab work and data analysis to finish writing papers which will be part of my thesis.

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?

Generally, I think the core geology curriculum was fundamentally important to my now being able to juggle many different projects across disciplines. I am equally comfortable discussing stratigraphy, igneous petrology, stable isotope geochemistry, etc. It’s unclear to me if students from other departments who did not have as strong of a “traditional” geology education can communicate with the same fluency.

Specifically, my research experiences working in the structural geology lab with Martha Withjack and Roy Schlische for two summers and my last year were fundamental in developing an ability to visualize geologic processes, translate the features I observe in the field into a real process or sets of processes that produced them, and develop conceptual models that can then be examined in a hypothesis-testing framework.

As far courses go, mineralogy and petrology with Claude Herzberg stand out as particularly significant in shaping my research philosophy.

What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?

For those considering graduate school, it’s worth repeating that it’s never too early to start getting involved in research. Generally, I don’t think worrying about failure is productive or healthy. It’s ok to try something and either not be good at it or not like it. Make sure to take every opportunity you have to take an interesting class, go on a cool field trip, or apply for a research position or internship. Your time at Rutgers will go fast and you want to make sure you take advantage of everything that’s offered to you.

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