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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Department of Geology

What is Geology?

Geology is the study of the earth's physical makeup and history. Topics range from minerals, soil and mountain ranges to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other geologic phenomena. The many sub-disciplines of geology, combination of laboratory and field components, and range of career paths offer something for everyone! 

Geology at SUNY Potsdam
Our campus is ideally located in the St. Lawrence Valley and adjacent to the Adirondack Mountains. The ancient meta-sedimentary and meta-igneous rocks of the region record a billion years of earth history and provide a natural laboratory for our students. The faculty take advantage of our prime location by taking students out in the field to apply the skills they learn to real-world questions.

Hammering Out the Past

From analyzing rocks within the walls of the geology lab, to visiting rocky outcrops around Northern New York, Megan Heins '20 gained valuable skills as an undergraduate student at SUNY Potsdam. Now she's completing a master's degree, with plans to get a Ph.D. in the field of micropaleontology.

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Finding her Layer at SUNY Potsdam

Using cutting-edge technology in SUNY Potsdam’s geology labs, Rachael Savoie ’21 has been analyzing the rich shale and limestone from the Joggins Formation in Novia Scotia—digging back 300 million years in search of answers.

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The Man Behind the Lens

If you’ve recently gazed on photos of Jupiter’s murky gases or a panorama showing unprecedented detail on the surface of Mars, chances are, you were seeing Daniel Krysak’s work. Krysak ’08, who graduated from SUNY Potsdam with degrees in both speech communication and archaeology, with a minor in geology, is living the dream of just about every techie and space buff. He's one of the people behind all those stunning panoramas of Mars, for three different NASA missions.

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Samantha McComb ’20

Samantha McComb '20 has been fascinated with geology ever since she was five years old, and now she is following her dream of becoming a geologist by working with Dr. Michael Rygel and Dr. Page Quinton in the Department of Geology.

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Kate Grisi ’16

Alumna Kate Grisi ’16, a Geospatial Analyst for the Department of Defense, has climbed the ladder of success very quickly since graduating with a B.A. in geology three years ago. After taking just two GIS classes at SUNY Potsdam, she landed an invaluable internship with the DOD, which led to a full-time position with them in the summer of 2018.

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Three Passions, One Degree

Brandon Keough '18 is graduating from SUNY Potsdam this semester with a degree in geology, minor in wilderness education and a performance certificate in viola from The Crane School of Music. This summer he will be kicking off his graduate studies at Purdue University by conducting research in a remote area of Alaska.

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Geology in the Field

Students pursuing a degree in geology have the opportunity to examine rock formations throughout the region, such as this trip to Harper Falls where Professor Sara Bier expanded on classroom instruction in a real-world setting. 

Erin Wagner '13

Just five years ago, alumna Erin Wagner ’13 was studying geology behind the walls of SUNY Potsdam’s Timerman Hall. Now she works as a geologist for ExxonMobil, the largest publicly traded international oil and gas company in the world.

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