Dr. Mark Evans is a Fine Fellow

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[Mark Evans and his wife, Cheri, on Mt. Evans (appropriately named) in Colorado]

In Spring 2017, Dr. Mark Evans was elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of America. As described on the GSA website:

“Society Fellowship is an honor bestowed on the best of our profession by election at the spring GSA Council meeting. GSA members are nominated by existing GSA Fellows in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as publications, applied research, teaching, administration of geological programs, contributing to the public awareness of geology, leadership of professional organizations, and taking on editorial, bibliographic, and library responsibilities.”

One of Dr. Evans nominators, Dr. Charlie Onasch of Bowling Green State University says of Dr. Evans “Mark Evans is a leading authority on the nature and evolution of paleofluids in foreland fold-thrust belts and the interrelationships between fluid flow, diagenesis, paleomagnetism, and both brittle and ductile deformation. He has also excelled in the training of young geologists through classroom experiences and involvement in geological research.” Dr. Evans currently has 38 journal publication, 22 of which are first-author, and 117 meeting abstracts, 35 of which are with undergraduate student first-authors.

Dr. Evans was similarly elected a Fellow of the Geological Society of London in 2012. The Geological Society of London is the first geological society, established in 1811.

The Geological Sciences Department at CCSU congratulates Dr. Evans on this prestigious accomplishment!

The Next Best Thing to Being There

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[A rainbow over the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico]

Dr. Jen Piatek’s research is literally out of this world! Although she is an expert on the geology of Mars, she can’t exactly take her astronomy students there for a field trip. Similarly, when teaching regular geology classes she wishes she could bring her students to see volcanoes, mountains, or lake deposits up close and personal, but the department budget is limited. However, using a camera and special GigaPan software, Dr. Piatek and her research students have created amazing high resolution panoramic views of these geological features  and bring them into the classroom for students to have an experience that is the next best thing to being there. Many of these geological features are reasonable facsimiles to features seen on Mars, so by learning about our own planet, students can increase their understanding of our neighboring planet.

Dr. Piatek’s latest GigaPan adventure was to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Students in her classes should expect to see these amazing panoramas in the near future. Dr. Piatek is always interested in involving students in her GigaPan adventures, so if you are interested in being one of her assistants, please contact her!

CCSU now has the coolest sandbox (and it’s not just for playing in!)

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[Introducing the new Augmented Reality Sandbox]

CCSU is now the only university in Connecticut with an Augmented Reality Sandbox. Part computer, part sand pile, this 100% educational (and fun!) set-up demonstrates a variety of geological phenomenon in real-time, including floods, volcanic eruptions, and glacier melts. Read about this new addition to the Geological Sciences Department here, and expect to get your time in the sandbox at the next university open house event!

GSCI Students Proudly Present at University Research Day

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[Morrissa Luddy presents her research on contaminated soil at the CCSU University Research and Creative Activity Day]

5 of the 48 undergraduate student posters presented at today’s event originated in the Geological Sciences Department. Along with Morrissa Luddy’s poster “The Uptake of Tract Elements in Lab-Contaminated Soils from Lebanon, CT,” the following research was presented:

Emily Gajda, “Trace Element Analysis and Environmental Impacts of the Roxbury Quarry, Roxbury Connecticut.”

Maxwell Meadows, “Sources and Spatial Distribution of Heavy Metals in Agricultural Soils of Lebanon, CT.”

Ian Murphy, “Morphologic Characteristics of the Best-Preserved Martian Craters: Thermophysical Mapping of Gasa and Istok.”

Nicholas Zygmont, “Fracture History of the Weir Mountains Syncline and Lehighton Anticline, Eastern Valley and Ridge Providence, Pennsylvania.”

Congrats to all our talented student researchers!

Future Elementary School Teachers Engineer for Success

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[Wind car designed and built by students in SCI 412]

The integration of Engineering into the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) presents elementary school teacher candidates with challenges and opportunities. In SCI 412, the Elementary Education Science Methods course that is taught by our department, students recently tried their hand at applying engineering practices to design and build a wind-powered model car. To amp up the stakes (and make learning fun), there was a friendly competition between the wind cars to see which one would travel farthest. Congratulations to all the competitors – we look forward to you joining the ranks of Connecticut’s teachers after graduation!

Teachers Go To SCI Camp

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[Teachers discuss how to make science come alive for their students]

Nearly 80 teachers attended SCI Camp CT, which was held at CCSU on Saturday March 25, 2017, hosted by the Geological Sciences Department. SCI Camp CT, an unconference, is a grassroots effort to introduce the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to all Connecticut K-12 teachers. An unconference is a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas among all teachers. Unconference topics from this SCI Camp CT included how to embed science modeling as part of science instruction, incorporate three-dimensional learning, embed NGSS assessments, use crosscutting concepts as a way to teach science, understand the nexus of Common Core of State Standards (CCSS) and NGSS, and embed engaging science phenomenon as part of science instruction.

This SCI Camp CT was the second one hosted by the Department of Geological Science, the first being in held in December of 2016. Future SCI Camps are being planned for the summer of 2017 and beyond to provide a venue to science teachers to discuss NGSS adoption in Connecticut.

Picture Yourself at the 2018 NEGSA!

The CCSU Geological Sciences Department enthusiastically thanks the CCSU Student Government Association (SGA) for their continued support of our Geology and Planetary Sciences (GPS) Club. Their financial assistance makes it possible for our students to present their world-class research each year at the Northeast Regional Geological Society of America Conference. To all our student presenters this year, congratulations on a job well done! To the students who cheered them on, the faculty are ready to work with you on YOUR research projects. We look forward to seeing YOU present next year, at the 2018 NEGSA conference in Burlington, VT.

To the CCSU class of 2021, we welcome YOU to get involved in our department, as a major, a minor, or just an interested associate. Membership in the GPS club is open to all CCSU students. Come check us out!

CCSU Geology Students Close NEGSA in Style

[Emily Gajda (above left) is rightfully proud of her research poster;  Max Meadows (above right) adeptly explains his work to fellow geologists; a (semi-)group shot of the CCSU contingency (there was so much to learn at the NEGSA conference that it was impossible to get all 19 CCSU attendees in one shot!)]

CCSU’s final day at NEGSA brought with it two more excellent presentations from department students, both on important environmental issues in Connecticut. Emily Gajda shared her research on the environmental impact of the Roxbury Quarry, while Max Meadows presented his findings on heavy metals pollution in Lebanon, CT. Please take the time to read their linked abstracts – you will be as impressed as we are with the amazing work these undergraduate researchers have accomplished! Rock on!

Meanwhile, at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas…. (Updated!)

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[CCSU Geological Sciences alumnae Jessica Johnson (left) and Ali Steullet (center) with faculty member Dr. Jen Piatek]

While much of the department is presenting at the NE Regional Geological Society of America conference, faculty member Dr. Jen Piatek is presenting her work at the Lunar and Planetary Sciences Conference. Here she ran into two of our illustrious alumnae, recent graduate Jessica Johnson (now studying meteorites at the University of New Mexico) and Ali Steullet (now a practicing geologist!). We’re so proud of you, Jess and Ali! Rock on!

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Update! There has been a sighting of alum Keenan Golder (pictured above), who is now working on his Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee.