Studies indicate that participation in undergraduate research in science increases retention and graduation rates. The “Field Studies in Geosciences” course is designed to achieve that goal and student responses to the course indicate that it is well on the way.
During the month of June, 2011 Assistant Professors Jessica Barone and Amanda Colosimo of the Chemistry/Geosciences Department led a group of 16 students on a trip to a variety of field study sites in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho. The students participated in field studies where they made and recorded observations of natural geology, geography, biology and chemistry; developed inferences and explanations for observations made in the field; demonstrated proper use of scientific equipment for collection of field data; constructed a scientific field notebook where they recorded observations, procedures, findings and explanations; executed field-based projects and reported the results of the projects.
The 10 day immersion in field study was the culmination of the GEO 195 course that Barone and Colosimo created in 2010 and co-taught during the spring 2011 semester. Students met for ten weeks throughout the spring and engaged in various hands-on assignments and lectures that prepared them for the final field study component of the course. Both professors called this an overwhelmingly positive experience. They reported watching students become engaged in the field experience and blossom before their eyes. In the reflections the students wrote in their field notebooks they described the experience as “life-changing, eye-opening, and future-clarifying.” Both professors called the creation of this experience one of their biggest challenges, but they both also described it as one of the most rewarding of their careers. Students interested in taking GEO 195 in the future should contact either Jessica Barone or Amanda Colosimo.
Division of Science, Health & Business