Major Decisions: Geology

At SUU we provide innovative and
relevant education Choosing a major is a first step. I'm Scott Wyatt, president of
Southern Utah University. This series of spotlights will allow you to meet and
hear from professors who have found their passion and teach it every day. Who
do we have with us, Ellen? This is Spotlight on Geology with Dr. Johnny
MacLean. Thank you so much for being with us today. Thanks for having me! So tell me what you love about your field. Well, geology is the study of how the earth changes and so I love getting outside and learning about and observing the
earth processes.

It's a way for me to combine the recreation activities that I
love with professional experiences and what better way to get paid than to hang
out outside and make observations. So what type of student is drawn to this,
what type of student would love this field? Well obviously, the kind of student who loves the outdoors would love geology, that's kind of a no-brainer but I would also say a
student who's curious, who likes to figure out problems, and geology, you
often hear, is a kind of like detective work. We have little bits of
information about Earth's past. We don't have the whole story but we have to take
those little bits of information and piece them together to interpret the
the most likely scenario, make predictions, test our predictions, so it's
it really is kind of like a Sherlock Holmes investigation. Great, well the
opposite of that, obviously, is who would hate it. Right right, I guess if you hate
the outdoors, there's still opportunities it's becoming a lab based science as
well but folks who might steer away from geology would be those who are looking
for problems that have definite solutions
and there's no kind of interpretation necessary, they want straightforward
answers because in geology oftentimes there is no straightforward answer, we
have to deal and be a world of uncertainty quite a bit.

Is there something
different about the way SUU implements the Geology Program? The Geology Program at SUU really has two strengths over I would argue over most programs in the
country The first is our field area, our location.
The textbooks, all of geology textbooks, use examples from southern Utah and so
we see those in our textbooks in our classes but we also really have a big
field component to our program. We weave in field trips as much as possible which
is very possible here The other advantage that this program
has is our small size.

The small student to faculty ratio allows us to
really build relationships with our students. You'll hear graduate
schools and employers constantly say the best way to have an undergraduate
education is a field-based education. What types of jobs are available for
someone who earns their degree in geology? Right, something people might not
know about geology is the diversity of fields that they can work in. One of the
well-known career paths would be the oil and gas industry. Mining industry is
obviously another option, similar kind of story.

Right here in southern Utah we
have several mines. We also have government needs and so not only do we need geologists on the industry side but we need their correlative positions on the
government side and then the environmental consulting
industry is a huge industry whether that's having to do with
groundwater needs, contamination problems, alternative
energy needs. They're all geology related and it's something a lot of
folks don't realize but we need earth scientist, and we need geologists and the
demand for these kinds of jobs is really high. Well thank you so much. This has been Spotlight on Geology with Dr. Johnny MacLean.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *