"Communicating science to our community is how we make a difference, and I want to find the best way to combine my passion for science, high impact research and communication to society."
How do you want to leave your impact on the world?
I think a lot of companies have lost the importance and foundation of basic science. I want to bring back that foundation because this is how we as a society excel and continue to grow-in everything. Specifically, I think I would like a career in high impact research such as working at a national lab, or something relating to geothermal energy. I love learning, I love exploring, and I love geoscience. Additionally, an important part of science, maybe the most crucial, is communication. On my personality test, I was classified as a people person, but I am also invigorated by innovative science and hands on research to further our society. I think this is one of my strengths that makes me unique. Communicating science to our community is how we make a difference, and I want to find the best way to combine my passion for science, high impact research and communication to society.
What is your story? What doesn't your resume tell us about you?
People always say to me, "You don't look like a geoscientist". It always makes my laugh because if they saw me at 5 years old taking my camping Barbie to the dirt pile to dig for rocks, then they'd know-I was born a geologist. I am one of the few that went straight into college as a geoscience major. The earth always fascinated me. I had no idea what plans I had after college, but I loved the hands on science and research that geology brought me. Living in Texas and having a father in the petroleum industry, I figured I would go in to that industry. I didn't know anything else. I took several internships and tried to find petroleum geology interesting, but I just didn't. Upon graduating undergrad, my one regret was not studying abroad. That's where the GREEN Program came in. This program opened my eyes to a whole new world of renewable energy before starting graduate school. Now completing my Masters in geoscience at Colorado School of Mines, I have had the chance to dive more into what I love. Here, I have had the opportunity to explore so many different career options from petroleum to mining to government work. Being an ambassador to the GREEN Program has continued to opened so many doors that I didn't realize I was interested in. Moving from the popular and perhaps safe choice of a career in petroleum to now thinking of getting a job or higher education in geothermal energy has been ignited by my involvement with the GREEN Program and passion for innovative science. I was never one to fit the mold, rather I shape the mold.
Describe your dream job or career.
My dream job would likely be working as a scientist for National Geographic, if that job really exists. However, I am still figuring out what exactly is my dream career. I know what I love and what sets me on fire. I love research and science and exploring. I don't want to be a student my whole life, but I love being a student and constantly learning about anything and never having a typical day at the office. Most researchers are not people persons, but I also really love working with others. When it comes to presenting my research at a conference or likewise, I enjoy it. As I am at the end of my master's program, I have several options I am considering: 1. Get a job in either geothermal, energy, maybe more government work, both domestic and international 2. Apply for a Fulbright to study abroad, likely something in geoscience related to geothermal 3. Apply to PhD programs in geoscience with a high consideration of a project relating to geothermal. So, I have lots of things to consider, but they all have a few things in common: I am a structural geologist, most importantly, and potentially I would like to relate that to a geothermal focused career.
Tell us about your leadership experiences.
I have quite a bit of leadership experiences, as leadership ois something I really enjoy. I am a Girl Scout Gold award recipient, a life time Girl Scout, and I continue to volunteer and do STEM outreach for all cages of GS, especially high school. I as an establishing officer and then first non-founder president of a student organization called Geoscience Leadership Organization for Women, in which we fostered a unique community for female geologists (all levels of education/career status) at the University of Texas to enhance and encourage women in geoscience. During my time at UT, I also founded a mentorship program for undergrads an graduate students in geology department. Upon moving to CO for graduate school, I was elected as the Vice President and now the President of a local chapter of an international organization call Association for Women Geoscientists. My role as VP was to coordinate leadership and career development for our members. My goal as President is to bring more recognition to our members and organization, and to raise funds to help this newly re-established chapter become more outstanding. My time at CSM has also been occupied as an ambassador to the GREEN Program in which I have introduced the university to the program, got the program approved by the university, currently working on a partnership with the university, and quadrupled the attendance of students from CSM on the program. I am also currently working on a special partnership with the GREEN Program and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. On campus, I am also a teaching assistant for currently my fourth semester in a row. I absolutely love this job. It is more than just teaching a subject to students. Many times the students will ask about career aspirations or graduate school, and it is always a pleasure to mentor eager students when they come to you!
Describe a personal experience that has directly or indirectly influenced your career path.
I chose geology as a career path because it was an obvious fit. I grew up in the Rocky Mountains; spent my entire summers camping for 3 months in Wyoming. When my parents suggested geology as a career option, I asked them if they had seen how nerdy the geologists were in Jurassic Park or Dante's Peak. Alas, I took a earth science elective in high school and though it was the easiest class I have ever taken, I was fascinated. My parents sent me on a high school camp focused on geology at South Dakota School of Mines. I was the only one out of state. But, that experience was what solidified the fact that I was indeed bound to be one of those nerdy rock lovers from one of those cheesy "geoscientsits save the day" movies. I loved it though, and took off the ground running. In undergrad, I got involved in research which lead me to love what I do even more and brought me to where I am now as a graduate student. There's not a day when I don't think to myself, I love what I am doing. In terms of career choices, that's still underway. However, three uninteresting (but good) internships have lead me to think that petroleum is not my forte. It does not get the fire burning in me. The GREEN Program and being an ambassador to the program has really opened my eyes to a dream and passion I didn't know existed. More and more, I find myself talking to others about geothermal energy exploration. I went to career services, and the guidance counselor said my eyes lit up as soon as I switched from talking about petroleum to geothermal and research focused careers. So here I am now, perhaps still in the process of being influenced as there are still so many options to explore on my career path.
Is there a particular company or organization that your heart is set on working for throughout your career?
I am really open to big or small companies, and open to domestic and international, and potentially a government agency.
What is the biggest take-away and/or favorite part of your GREEN Program experience?
Two things: 1. It opened a career option I had never considered and the doors keep opening, and 2. The Capstone project was my favorite aspect for several reasons.
Tell us about your Capstone project experience and your journey, your team, the ideation and implementation.
While the adventure was cool, this was the best outcome of the program. I wanted a team or project that would allow me to use my hard science knowledge, since that is what I am passionate about. One group had the perfect fit. One thing I loved about our group was the diversity. We all had different specialties, so not only did we learn so much from each other, but our individual specialized knowledge and skills were depended on by our teammates. In school, we're surrounded by the same major and we are rarely tested as being the single geologist in a group. Our project proposed a consulting company that would work with petroleum companies to integrate green energy into their company as a way to reduce wasted revenues. We created a solid business plan with the help of our policy maker, and then we chose a case study of Chevron and selected 3 real production sites. We used information provided for the sites to calculate their total production, wasted revenues, and then selected a type of renewable energy that would be suitable for the location, such as solar power in West Texas. Our team then estimated the average installation cost and how long it would take for the implemented renewable energy source to be profitable. It was a challenging, fun project.
How will you use this experience to advance your personal goals?
I think this experience has more of changed what the focus of my goals were from settling for a career I wasn't passionate about to taking a step off the beaten path and just enjoying the opportunity to explore careers that I am passionate about.
You're hosting an intimate dinner party. Select 3 figures you would invite (dead or alive, fictional or non-fictional; can't be friends or family).
I'd invite Audrey Hepburn because she's my girl, Jesus Christ to ask him all the questions of the world, and Dalai Lama because he spread inspiration, peace, and spoke good wisdom.
What is the soundtrack to your life?
All the Way by Frank Sinatra because I'm an old soul and love his music, and because I will not settle for anything in life, and I dream big and I will achieve that dream. Life is about always putting everything you've got into everything and loving your life becuase of that.
Is there a documentary or book that really changed the way you thought about something, or motivated you in a particular way?
The Human Experience is a good documentary that forces you to think about what our life is all about and what our life means in relation to everyone else on our planet