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USGS/NAGT Intern Reflections

These past interns have shared the impacts of their experience. If you are a former USGS/NAGT intern and would like to contribute your memories and reflections to this collection, just use the simple Submit a Reflection form.



Reflections from Patrick Whalen
Patrick Whalen patrickjameswhalen@gmail.com
I worked on stratigraphy of volcanic deposits in the Cascade range. Jim Vallance was my mentor. The project was in the Cascade range with the Cascade Volcano Observatory headquartered in Vancouver, Washington. I assisted in stratigraphy, paleomag., and sample collection at Mt. Shasta, Mt. Hood, and Mt. St. Helens. This work was done in order to better understand the erruption histories at these volcanoes.

Reflections from Luke Stevens
Luke Stevens
I worked on a variety of ecology projects under the leadership of Kristen Hart, PhD, and Mike Cherkiss, USGS, University of Florida, Davie, FL. I assisted in an investigation of sea turtle nesting patterns Gulf Shores, AL and in south Florida, conducting night beach surveys for nesting females. I helped with catch and release of the nesting mothers, and collected tissue and blood samples and other measurements. We attached GPS tags to some turtles, for continuous location monitoring. I also assisted in a project to investigate distribution of invasive species in the Florida Everglades. I joined in a field tracking excursion of a GPS tagged adult Burmese python. I also assisted in construction of large constrictor holding facility. In an investigation of distribution and feeding patterns of invasive Tegu lizards, I performed necropsies of captured and euthanized specimens. I also assisted in the study of American crocodile nesting patterns in the Florida Everglades. I helped conduct night surveys and tagged hatchling crocodiles for survey purposes...

Reflections from Ryan D. Witkosky
During the 1994 Northridge earthquake I was child, awakened by terrified screams and furniture crashing to the ground. Persistent aftershocks created widespread panic and confusion, but I was fascinated by the transient seismic waves. I yearned to explore the enigmatic subterranean realm of tectonic disturbances, and in Summer 2013 I finally got the chance to do this by working in paleoseismic trenches with Dr. Katherine Scharer (from the USGS office in Pasadena, California). Dr. Scharer taught me how to determine the timing of prehistoric earthquakes along the San Andreas fault, which has inspired me to continue studying active tectonics in southern California for my graduate research. Dr. Scharer has also continued to help me with academic and research advice as I pursue my PhD in earthquake geology. In southern California, earthquakes are as common as the dirt that chronicles their history, and by working with great scientists like Dr. Scharer, I now have the ability to figure out when and where the next earthquakes are likely to occur in the future!!!

Reflections from Dean Hazle
The NAGT/USGS Cooperative Summer Field Training Program has been a fantastic summer. Although I was not aware of the program during field camp, it was a great surprise to find that my hard work at University of Alaska, Fairbanks had paid off with a nomination for the program. Working at the Water Science Center in New Cumberland, PA has been full of new experiences. I have learned at least another semesters worth of hydrology and geochemistry in the past two months, while gaining tons of field experience. Working with scientists of all different backgrounds to accomplish our projects has prepared me for how top notch science should be approached. Being able to cite my experience and accomplishments at the USGS while applying to graduate school and full time jobs will certainly be a huge help!

Reflections from Cody Mason
This summer during my NAGT/USGS internship I gained a wide variety of important experiences related to field work, laboratory work, and even received instruction on the writing of abstracts and manuscripts. I was given the opportunity to work on a project dealing with geologic mapping, neotectonics, and Pleistocene climate change within the northern Rio Grande rift – a project which allowed me to work in a region stretching from Taos, New Mexico up to Leadville, Colorado. I spent time working with seasoned field geologists and as a consequence greatly expanded my knowledge of regional geologic history and of what it is like to be a USGS geologist...

Reflections from Evan Larsell
I had a wonderful experience 2010 spring field camp that awarded me NAGT/USGS internship, mapping rocks in the Mojave desert. I never in a million years imagined I'd be indirectly tracking grizzly bears in Glacier National Park the following summer. Biology students all over the country have been pining for this position and I managed so slip in through the back door thanks to this program. It was a fantastic experience in one of the most beautiful places in the country. I'm grateful for the diversity of experience this program has provided me.

Reflections from Kyle M. Samperton
My internship experience provided valuable experience and insight into the interdisciplinary nature of the professional scientific community. Moreover, it gave me the chance both to observe and to take part in a serious scientific endeavor with significant ecological, economical, and social consequences. In all honesty, the scope of my internship program overlapped only marginally with my study of interest, geology; however, as stated, the internship provided invaluable exposure to the interconnectedness of science. Therefore, although my long-term professional/research interests are arguably unrelated to the majority of the content within my internship, I would not trade the experience gained from it for anything. If given the opportunity to do it again, I would gladly accept my internship without a moment's hesitation.

Reflections from Stan Mordensky
I had never been asked to map any area that hadn't been mapped before. I learned how to set my own pace and used previous experience as well as what I learned in the field to know what to expect and where to go next. That said, there were numerous surprises. I will never forget the day I found the magnetic rhyolite. A professor from my university met with me every few weeks and I'd show him my latest finds and he'd offer his guidance as to what to look for next, but that didn't seem to help when my supervisor visisted during the last week and a good portion of what I had mapped turned out to be incorrect. Discouraging? Yes. But I learned far too much in an area I had known only a little about before - fieldwork. My confidence to perform fieldwork certainly increased dramatically even if not everything I did was perfect. However, I also learned I need more years in the field before I can work solo.

Memories of a Golden Summer with the USGS in Colorado
David Applegate, U.S. Geological Survey, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive MS 905, Reston VA 20192; applegate@usgs.gov
I spent the summer of 1989 working for the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, on an NAGT/USGS Summer Field Camp Fellowship, for which I remain profoundly grateful to both NAGT and the USGS. Getting to Golden was made possible by a wonderful field camp experience the previous summer, when I was one of about a dozen rising juniors and seniors learning the ropes under the guidance of Bill Travers from Cornell. The first half of this field camp was in the Hoback Range of Wyoming, where we operated out of the University of Michigan geology department's collection of aluminum-roofed cabins nestled in a remote valley. I reached it by way of a 48-hour bus trip from Seattle to ...




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