4/13/2022 Peter Durantine

F&M Rocks Annual Geological Society Meeting

Student presenters, faculty and alumni organizers, and an alumnae keynote speaker rocked the 2022 Geological Society of America’s meeting for the North East Section this year.

“One of the most rewarding parts was being able to go to the student mentorship lunches,” senior Alaekya Shetty said.

Shetty and senior Ben Thomas, both environmental science majors, presented a research poster on stream dynamics in Lancaster County.

“One of the most fascinating experiences for my research this semester was when I compared the geological map of the watershed to the aerial photography,” Thomas said. “Suddenly, the landscape, which had not seemed to have any particular rhyme or reason, was revealed to have been guided by bedrock composition.” 

  • Professor Marty Gilmore ’91 discusses habitable planets. Professor Marty Gilmore ’91 discusses habitable planets. Image Credit: Carol de Wet
  • Cam Siegel and Simon Sauvageau, senior geoscience and environmental science majors, present a poster on high-resolution topographic analysis of extreme geomorphic features in the Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River. Cam Siegel and Simon Sauvageau, senior geoscience and environmental science majors, present a poster on high-resolution topographic analysis of extreme geomorphic features in the Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River. Image Credit: Carol de Wet
  • Catie Caterham, senior environmental science major, explains the geochemistry of groundwater aquifers in the Chilean desert. Catie Caterham, senior environmental science major, explains the geochemistry of groundwater aquifers in the Chilean desert. Image Credit: Carol de Wet
  • Sophomore Sydney Levins discusses her poster on stream channel dynamics. Sophomore Sydney Levins discusses her poster on stream channel dynamics. Image Credit: Carol de Wet
  • Senior Alaekya Shetty says, “ Meeting with other graduating seniors who are on the same boat as me made me feel less alone trying to sort out what to do after graduating.” Senior Alaekya Shetty says, “ Meeting with other graduating seniors who are on the same boat as me made me feel less alone trying to sort out what to do after graduating.” Image Credit: Carol de Wet
  • “The power of geology to shape our world and explain what we see is larger than I ever would have imagined,” senior Ben Thomas says. “The power of geology to shape our world and explain what we see is larger than I ever would have imagined,” senior Ben Thomas says. Image Credit: Carol de Wet
  • Carol de Wet with her class: Back row: Connor Minkowitz, Connor Hicks, Nick Ross, Emma Lenz-Mann, Liam Connolly, Isabel Wetherbee. Front row: de Wet, Lauren Mumby, Sioni Mollel and Benjamin Wright. Carol de Wet with her class: Back row: Connor Minkowitz, Connor Hicks, Nick Ross, Emma Lenz-Mann, Liam Connolly, Isabel Wetherbee. Front row: de Wet, Lauren Mumby, Sioni Mollel and Benjamin Wright. Image Credit: Carol de Wet

Despite initial, pandemic-related concerns about the March 20-22 meeting, Franklin & Marshall’s co-chairs, Environmental Science Professor Christopher Williams and Geosciences Professor Andrew de Wet, called it a successful, well-attended event.

“We had nearly 700 participants and lots of F&M involvement,” de Wet says.

Six students presented research in the Lancaster Marriott’s convention hall; Professor of Geosciences Dorothy Merritts convened a technical session on mapping; and Union College Professor Holli Frey ’99 presented a co-authored paper on 2021 eruption of a Caribbean volcano.

As the keynoter, Wesleyan University Geology Professor Martha Gilmore ’91 spoke about her work studying the surfaces and compositions of Venus, Mars and the Earth.

Geosciences Professor Carol de Wet brought her sedimentary systems class to observe, meet professionals, and hear student presenters from the region’s colleges and universities.

“To be one of the first people to hear these geologists’ new ideas and discoveries was surreal,” said Isabel Wetherbee, a sophomore environmental science major. 

The meeting also gave students a glimpse at geoscience careers.

“I’ve learned so much my junior year and all of it is applicable to professional geo research and jobs.,” said Emma Lenz-Mann, a joint studies major.

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