Hello and welcome to St. Lawrence University (SLU) geology. As the geology technician, my work routine varies from day to day and season to season. The fair weather during fall semester is prime field season and that is where many of the geology labs spend their afternoons, out it in the field. Field trips are where students of geology are introduced first hand to the local geology of the North Country and the regional geology of the Northeast. This is nitty gritty hands on learning at its best. We are fortunate here, geologically speaking, as we have many rock types nearby including sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks and many of the minerals associated with these rocks can be found. For the students who have decided that geology is their "thing", there are numerous opportunities to go far afield to other states and terrains and even islands and other continents to get their hands dirty with geology. At this busy time you can find me in the background addressing vehicle and travel issues and ensuring tools, equipment, and supplies are ready for the various field trips. During the harsher weather and much of the spring semester most lab time is spent inside where students apply their field observations to practical lab problems. The study of rocks takes specialized tools and equipment and SLU geology has a menagerie of cool stuff to aid faculty and students. The technician ensures that learning resources and the tools and equipment are well maintained and ready. Along with the maintenance and logistics, the tech remains available to aid students and faculty in their study of geology. If interested, you can find a general job description for the geology technician below.
- Laboratory preparations and assistance with special projects and field trips;
- Development and implementation of systems for cataloging check in/out of keys and equipment, re-storage, repair and preventive maintenance of lab, field, drafting and audio-visual equipment;
- Curatorial assistance and maintenance of teaching collections;
- Overseeing budgetary data, van maintenance and course load data;
- Stockroom supervision including ordering expendable lab supplies as needed;
- Maintaining safety devices, safety supply inventories, and ensuring compliance with OSHA and SLU regulations where applied to Brown Hall’s Geology facilities;
- Development of skills that support the teaching and research activities of geology students and faculty to include the occasional lab instruction at the introductory level, SEM and X-ray Analysis Assistance;
- Responsibility for maintenance of departmental facilities and equipment (such as rock preparation lab and equipment, flume room, drafting room, and microscope labs).
Though a member of the SLU geology department for some time now, my experience did not start here. Fortune smiled on me while attending SUNY Potsdam’s in the early 90’s. My interest in geology really began while on a motorcycle trip to the Rocky Mountains in the summer 1989. It was shortly after that bike trip that I chose geology as my major. Dr. Badger would become my advisor and I owe very much to his guidance in those early years. And Dr. Frank Revetta too was a real help in developing my geology skills. Frank was occasionally able to find work for geology students using geophysical tools he made available to us for electrical resistivity, gravity, and seismicity. I was fortunate enough to be one of those students. That opportunity was my first “real world” experience in conducting scientific work and report writing. My solid education through SUNY Potsdam geology helped me to land a position in graduate school at the University of Akron. Shortly after earning my MS degree in 1996 I began working in the environmental field. Having the experience with Dr. Revetta was a big help in further developing skills in environmental field investigation and report writing, some geologic mapping, and phase 1 and 2 environmental site investigations. Was working and living in Portland, Oregon when the opportunity to work for SLU in the geology department presented itself in 1997. Shortly after starting my 10 month position here, an opportunity for summer work doing environmental compliance inspections on Natural Gas Pipeline construction and restoration presented itself. This work involved working on numerous projects in numerous states and required working with various state and federal agencies along with company representatives and their technical staff. This work sharpened my interpersonal and communications skills. No matter what profession you are in, these skills are necessary to successfully work with others toward satisfactorily completing the task at hand. These experiences have given me a pretty solid background for addressing the many and various technician responsibilities needed for supporting the Geology Department’s mission here at St. Lawrence University. Though my work experience is by no stretch of the imagination vast and varied, it does provide me with some insight into a few of the opportunities that might be available to students in the field of geology.
What a person does while away from work is important too. Living on a small farm with Shirley and our dogs keeps me pretty busy and mostly out of trouble. If not trimming or grooming horses, fixing fence, or herding cows, I am often in the woods working in the sugarbush or cutting firewood. And, like many who live in the North Country, I enjoy the wondrous natural surroundings this rural region of New York State has to offer when I can. During the warmer months we enjoy hiking and swimming with our dogs or maybe getting a few miles in on a horse. I am a saddle tramp in the modern sense of the word, taking my motorcycle for a week or two to explore New England or venture down country through the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Smokey’s, and occasionally venturing far west to ride thru the plains and into the High Stony’s and beyond. During winter we love to be in the woods getting a back country ski in with our dogs and occasionally enjoying a fine visit with friends in a cozy back country camp. Our dogs are absent from our dairy routine very seldom… mostly only when hunting or fishing or motorcycling.
It has been my pleasure to move back home to this region and provide aid and support to faculty and students of Geology here at St. Lawrence University. If the chance presents itself, do stop by to chat about geology, woods, horses, bikes, or the enigmatic journey of a meandering life.