The Department of Geosciences at Western Michigan University sponsors a seminar series, a writing workshop series, student proposal sessions, and thesis and dissertation defenses.

graduate student thesis proposal

Friday, Feb. 12, 2016, at 1 p.m. in 1120 Rood Hall
Zaid Nadhim: High Resolution Petrophysical Characterization of Silurian Lower Salina-Niagaran Pinnacle Reef Complex Reservoirs Using Wire-line Logs

Spring 2016 Seminar Series

Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, from 4 to 5 p.m. in 1118 Rood Hall
Where Did It All Come From?  Exploring the Origin of Glacial Till
Deciphering the origin of glacial till turns out to be really challenging, yet it is essential because the information it provides about past ice flow paths is critical to ice sheet reconstructions.  These reconstructions, in turn, are essential to numerical modeling efforts that try to quantify the ice sheets contributions to global sea levels.  In this talk I will explore examples of till provenance studies in Antarctica and Indiana that aim to reconstruct ice flow paths in two very different modern environments.  We have found that not all provenance methods applied to Antarctic tills yield the same answer about the origin of debris.  Fortunately we know the ice flow paths, so these studies provide a valuable test case to understand what conditions may produce such ambiguity.  I will also present results from our work on detrital zircons in Indiana till to highlight some opportunities and challenges in applying this method to Midwestern tills.
Dr. Kathy Licht
Associate professor of earth sciences, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, 4 p.m. in 1104 Rood Hall
Gender in Geoarchaeology: One Woman's Perspective
If we could measure the amount of energy consumed and expended by people working in the academy (training, collaborating, negotiating, and creating), we might be surprised. We recruit students, researchers, and faculty, and then hesitate to act as unconscious bias and inequity nudge these highly-trained experts toward other careers. Imagine the field of geoarchaeology if we could retain them. Dr. Julie K. Stein will weave the broad theme of gender equity in the sciences with the history of geoarchaeology, to create an understanding of why some women move out of the professorial ranks, and how we might develop processes to keep them. Dr. Stein suggests that to address these issues proactively, it is critical to understand the ingrained biases of men and women, as well as the natural differences between them in negotiation and relationship-building. She draws on examples from her training in geoarchaeology, and her careers as University of Washington (Seattle) professor, Divisional Dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Executive Director of the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture.
Dr. Julie Stein
Executive director, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Professor of anthropology, University of Washington (Seattle, WA)

Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, 7 p.m. in 1104 Rood Hall
Finding the Lewis and Clark Expedition: Why is it so Difficult?
Finding physical remains of the 1804-1806 trans-continental expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark is difficult because they moved over the landscape fast, dropped little, and camped at river’s edge. Dr. Stein will discuss her search for physical evidence at Fort Clatsop National Memorial, as well as erroneous suggestions made over the last 200 years concerning the location of Lewis & Clark's famous winter encampment.
Dr. Julie Stein
Executive director, Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Professor of anthropology, University of Washington (Seattle, WA)

Monday, Feb. 29, 2016, from 4 to 5 p.m. in 1118 Rood Hall
Inquiry into Intro: What's Possible with Introductory Geology Students?
Providing inquiry-based activities in labs is one way to promote reformed, student-centered teaching in introductory geoscience courses. However, the literature on inquiry has relatively few geoscience examples and features an array of modifiers that complicate instructor efforts to identify or adapt inquiry-based activities for their courses. This talk will describe the levels of inquiry present in multiple published Physical Geology lab manuals, including two developed “in house”. It will also describe the development of inquiry-based lessons for inclusion in a Physical Geology lab course and discuss how some activities were adapted to increase inquiry levels. The discussion will include the impact on student learning, and strategies for how other instructors or lab developers can adapt existing activities to incorporate higher levels of inquiry in their labs, matching them with the type of information or skill they want students to learn.
Dr. Katherine Ryker
Assistant professor of earth science and earth science education, Eastern Michigan University

Monday, March 14, 2016, from 4 to 5 p.m. in 1118 Rood Hall
Field Case Studies of Remedial Investigation Outcomes Using Various Diagnostic Tools, Risk Assessment and Remedial Technology Application
This presentation will focus on the use of various Remedial Investigation diagnostic tools including soil gas sampling, TarGOST and UVOST Laser Induced Florescence Profiling, Direct Push, Hollow Stem Auger Drilling and River Sediment Coring of a suspected coal-tar impacted soil matrix.  An initial Conceptual Site Model (CSM) was developed for the site using historical records, prior sub-surface investigation data and results of a GPR-EM survey which will be discussed.  Then one of many approaches to Risk Assessment will be presented which explores chlorinated solvent impacts to the Groundwater/Surface Water Interface (GSI) and the use of laboratory toxicity test to understand chemical impact concerns.  Finally the presentation will conclude with Remedial Technology Application at a former refinery where more than 30,000 gallons of petroleum based chemicals were contained within the aquifer near the water table surface.
Richard Raetz
P.E. Principal, Engineer, Global Remediation Technologies, Inc. (Traverse City, MI)

Monday, March 21, 2016, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Rood Hall 1118
Discovery of the Iceberg Gold Deposit, a Carlin-Type Gold System in Central Nevada and Its Affinity to Other Carlin-Type Gold Deposits in the Great Basin
Dr. Steininger will present an overview of the types of gold deposits in the Great Basin, principally in Nevada, and will discuss in detail the geology and exploration for Carlin-type gold deposits through the discovery of the Iceberg gold deposit.  Nevada is the 5th largest gold producing region in the world at about five million ounces per year, the majority of which come from the mining of Carlin-type gold deposits.  Since gold was discovered in the 1850s about 175 million ounces have been produced making Nevada a world class gold district.  NuLegacy Gold’s recently discovered Iceberg gold deposit is an excellent example of modern exploration approaches, the value of reinterpreting geology, and a classic Carlin-type gold deposit.
Dr. Roger C. Steininger
Director and chief operations officer, NuLegacy Gold Corporation

Monday, March 28, 2016, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Rood Hall 1118
The Mars Science Laboratory Experience
The Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater in 2012 carrying 10 instruments, including cameras and radiation, weather, and chemistry analyzers. Curiosity also includes a device for analyzing gases and an instrument for detecting minerals in soils and rocks. Project scientists lived on “Mars time” with a 24 hour, 39 minute day; if you went to work at 8 a.m. today, you would go to work at 8:00 p.m. in 18 days. Images show volcanic rocks and apparent sedimentary rocks that support the past existence of flowing water. Results to date are consistent with our concepts of Mars, recording a transition through time from a wet to dry environment. Ancient rocks suggest the past presence of liquid water whereas minerals in younger soil are consistent with a very dry environment.
Dr. David Bish
Professor of mineraology, Indiana University (Bloomington, IN)

Monday, April 4, 2016, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Rood Hall 1118
Dr. Peter Voice
Director of CoreKids and part-time instructor of geosciences, Western Michigan University

Monday, April 11, 2016, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Rood Hall 1118
3D Printing in the Geosciences: Touchable Topography, Permeable Porosity, and Flexible Fossils
Franek Hasiuk (FRA-nik HA-shook) studies limestone both as record of paleoenvironmental change and as a reservoir for petroleum, water and CO2. His dissertation (University of Michigan, 2008) investigated the secular change in seawater chemistry and temperature over the Phanerozoic as recorded in carbonate chemistry. He then worked at ExxonMobil Upstream Research for four years where he worked on a global study of carbonate microporosity. In January 2013 shortly after transitioning to Iowa State University, he started the Geological Fabrication Laboratory (GeoFabLab) to apply 3D printing to geological research, teaching, and outreach. In his talk, he will introduce how 3D printing can be used to advance geoscience research, especially as related to pore systems analysis, and how 3D printing can help effectively communicate 3D knowledge to diverse audiences. It is his firm belief that 3D data does not belong in computers, it belongs in our hands.    
Dr. Franek Hasiuk
Assistant professor of geological and atmospheric sciences , Iowa State University

Monday, April 18, 2016, from 4 to 5 p.m. in Rood Hall 1118
Designing a Well from a Hole in the Ground

Donald Baron
Regional Sales/Geologist, Global Business Unit-Water Well, Bilfinger Water Technologies (Okemos, MI)

Writing Workshop Series

For the second cycle of geosciences workshops, we are shaking things up! This semester, workshop attendees will continue to develop new skills; however, at the end of each workshop they will receive a brief homework assignment to complete for the following week’s peer review session. This structure will encourage students to not just learn new skills but to put those skills in action and reflect on the results. The Writing Workshop Series will also be partnering with the WMU student chapter of SEG to host practice proposal/ defense/presentation sessions. Graduate    students    who    would    like    to participate   in   these practice  sessions   are   encouraged to contact Writing Workshop Series Coordinator, Breanne LeJeune. All students are welcome to attend the practice sessions to provide support and feedback. Posters are available to distribute to classes, advisees, or otherwise interested undergraduate and graduate students.

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. in Rood Hall 1122
Workshop: Grammar and Style for Science Writing
Guest speaker: Michael Marberry, WMU Writing Center coordinator of curriculum development
Homework: Revise 1-5 pages of recent writing. Bring 3 copies.

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. in Rood Hall 1122
Peer Review: Grammar and Style for Science Writing

Wednesday, March 16, 2016, from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. in Rood Hall 1122
Workshop: Resumes and CVs

Speaker: Breanne LeJeune, Writing Workshop Series coordinator
Homework: Create/revise a resume or CV. Bring three copies.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016, from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. in Rood Hall 1122
Peer Review: Resumes and CVs

Wednesday, April 6, 2016, from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. in Rood Hall 1122
Workshop: The Teaching Statement/Philosophy
Guest speaker: Dr.Heather Petcovic, associate professor of geosciences, WMU
Homework: Create/revise your teaching statement/philosophy. Bring three copies.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016, from 12:30 to 1:50 p.m. in Rood Hall 1122
Peer Review: The Teaching Statement/Philosophy