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Education and Outreach

Teaching at Miami

GLG 111 - The Dynamic Earth

This is an introductory course with no pre-requisites. It serves as a prerequisite for other courses for Geology and Environmental Earth Science majors and minors. Key topics that are addressed, modeled, and discussed are:   Earth's internal structure, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, geologic time, minerals, rock formation, natural hazards, glaciology, hydrology, geomorphology, and climate change. This course help fulfill the CAS-D science and CAS-QL requirements, in addition to Global Miami Plan Foundation IVB (physical science) credits.

GLG 357 - Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

This course is designed to provide students with practical, and theoretical, backgrounds for identifying, classifying, and interpreting igneous and metamorphic rocks. Topics include the petrogenesis of igneous and metamorphic rocks in various plate tectonic settings and their associated geochemical signatures, phase diagrams, textures, and the characteristics of igneous and metamorphic rocks in hand specimen and thin section. This course also includes a 4-day, 3-night, field trip to SE Missouri in late March/early April.

GLG 427/527 - Isotope Geochemistry

This course focusses on how the field of isotope geochemistry can be used as a tool to the evaluate geological processes (and associated timescales) occurring within Earth's interior, on Earth's surface, and on a variety of objects within the Solar System. This course also introduces a number of analytical techniques that are used throughout the fields of geochemistry in addition to the sample preparation(s) required. In this upper level course, oral presentation, poster presentation, team work, and writing skills are centered in scaffolded course assignments. 

GLG 411/511 - Field Camp

Miami University offers a 5-week field camp during mid-June to mid-July each years. This is a 6-credit course with a strong emphasis on the field description of major rock types and the structural and tectonic evolution of the western Cordillera with field sites in Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana. Recommended prerequisites include: Physical Geology, Mineralogy, Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology, Structural Geology, and Sedimentology and Stratigraphy. Applications are due in the preceding fall. More information, including application instructions and field course logistics, can be found here: 

GLG 647 - Geology of our Solar System

This course focusses on our knowledge and understanding of the evolution of rocky objects in our Solar System, and the approaches taken to support advancing this knowledge. This course discusses the geological history of the rocky objects in our Solar System including differentiated planets, moons, asteroids, meteorites (including chondritic materials). The geologic processes which have shaped these objects over billions of years (e.g., volcanism, impacts, tectonics, sedimentology) will be discussed alongside the observations which are used to interpret their histories (e.g., remote sensing and sample-based science). In this graduate level course students are also offered the opportunity to prepare a mock grant application to NSF GRFP or the NASA FINESST program in one of the course assignments.

GLG 657: Graduate Student Onboarding

Starting in Fall 2021, the Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science offers a 1 credit hour Graduate Student Onboarding course. Onboarding courses offered during the first semester of a graduate-level program aim to provide transparency to the so-called “hidden curriculum” and provide new graduate students with knowledge, resources, and skill sets which will support their success (Lewis and Wolf, 2018; Teasdale et al. 2019; Cooke et al. 2021). In this context, the “hidden curriculum” can refer to aspects of curricula which are implicit, unspoken, unwritten, and if taught, are not transparent or explicit but which exist within a students experience (e.g., Portelli, 1993; Margolis, 2001; Semper and Blasco, 2018). Furthermore, throughout higher education in North America, these academic, social, and cultural norms are often those of the white, middle class (Smith, 2013; Pensky et al., 2021). As a result, the hidden curriculum is much more hidden for students who identify with one or more historically excluded, marginalized identities within the context of (for example) gender, race, ethnicity, first generation, veteran status, disability, and/or age (Pensky et al., 2021; Berhe et al., 2022). 

Spring Break Field Trips

Each Spring Break (during March) the Department of Geology and Environmental Earth Science at Miami University runs a week-long Spring Break trip. The trip is overseen by faculty and/or graduate students, and provides all students (undergraduate and graduate) with an opportunity to spend their Spring Break out in the field, exploring different geological, geographic, and ecological environments. Previous Spring Break Fieldtrip destinations have included Death Valley National Park, (CA), Big Bend National Park (TX), Joshua Tree National Park (CA), the Bahamas, and northern New Mexico (NM). 

Read more about the 2016 Spring Break trip to Joshua Tree National Park here.

Council on Undergraduate Research

Founded in 1978, The Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) is the worlds largest organization dedicated to undergraduate research with over 900 colleges and universities as members. Its mission is to support faculty, staff, and students at their affiliated institutions to enhance scientific contributions to society through the involvement of undergraduate students in research. It is a not-for-profit organization, governed by a Council consisting of elected members across 13 different divisions. Since June 2016 I have served as an elected councilor for the Geoscience Division of CUR and work with colleagues across the United States to promote and support undergraduate research efforts. We run workshops at national and international conferences (e.g. AGU), and help showcase the value of undergraduate-driven research to government officials and legislators on Capitol Hill. 

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