Fiftieth anniversary celebration

Logo for the Geosciences anniversary. In the center is a large number 50 with a nautilus as the "0". Above the number 50 is the word Geosciences, and below the number 50 is the word Anniversary.

The Department of Geology officially became a separate department at Western Michigan University on July 1, 1965. To commemorate our fiftieth anniversary we have created a retrospective video comprised of interviews with our founding faculty and staff members. Throughout the year we will also be screening a three part video history of the department as part of our weekly seminar series. Please join us to celebrate this geology milestone at Western Michigan University!

Recent student achievements

Elizabeth Palmer's paper, "Dielectric Properties of Asteroid Vesta's Surface as Constrained by Dawn VIR Observations," has been published by Icarus! It is currently available online and will arrive on newsstands towards the end of the year.

Abotalib Farag received the Geological Society of America’s On To the Future (OTF) travel award so that he can attend the Annual Meeting in Baltimore, MD, this November.



Doctoral candidate Katie Dvorak, and master's candidates Ben Hinks, Tom Brubaker, and Chanse Ford have been awarded Graduate Student Research Grants!


Abotalib Farag
has been awarded the Farouk El-Baz student research grant from the Geological Society of America for his project, "Did Groundwater Processes Shape the Sahara Landscape During the Quaternary?"!

Recent graduate Dr. Racha El Kadiri, was a recipient of the All-University Graduate Research and Creative Scholar Awards from the Graduate College!

Jake Tholen
, a hydrogeology major, was given an honorable mention by The Goldwater Scholarship foundation!

Master’s student Matt Rine, was awarded the Best Graduate Student Poster by the Great Lakes Section of the Society for Sedimentary Geology for his poster, “Evaluating the Sequence Stratigraphic Relationships, Lithofacies and Petrophysical Properties of the Silurian (Niagaran) Reefs for the Purpose of CCUS and EOR in the Michigan Basin”!

Fellowship opportunities

The Grants-in-Aid program, a joint program between the AAPG Foundation and AAPG, provides financial assistance to graduate students who are currently enrolled in a master's or doctorate geoscience program, and whose thesis research has application to the search for and development of petroleum and energy mineral resources, and/or to related environmental geology issues. There are 92 grants available, ranging from $500 to $3,000. For more information, visit the application page, contact Foundation Program Coordinator, April Stuart, or call 1 (855) 302-2743. The deadline to apply is February 15, 2016.

The National Research Council of the National Academies sponsors a number of awards for graduate, postdoctoral and senior researchers at participating federal laboratories and affiliated institutions. These awards include generous stipends ranging from $42,000 - $80,000 per year for recent Ph.D. recipients, and higher for additional experience. Graduate entry-level stipends begin at $30,000. These awards provide the opportunity for recipients to do independent research in some of the best-equipped and staffed laboratories in the United States. The program is open to citizens of the United States, permanent residents, and for some of the laboratories, foreign nationals. Detailed program information, including online applications, instructions on how to apply, and a list of participating laboratories, are available on the NRC Research Associateship Programs website. Questions should be directed to the NRC by phone (202) 334-2760, or by email


The Geochemical Society is pleased to announce that Prof. Carla Koretsky, Dean of the Lee Honors College and Professor of Geosciences at Western Michigan University, will be awarded the Geochemical Society’s Distinguished Service Award. The award recognizes and documents outstanding service to the Geochemical Society and/or the geochemical community that greatly exceeds the normal expectations of voluntary service to the Society. Read more.

WMU Geoscientists used GRACE to examine the water availability in Africa’s hydrologic systems. Results indicated that warming of the tropical Atlantic Ocean is intensifying Atlantic monsoons and increasing precipitation and total water storage over western and central Africa, whereas the warming in the central Indian Ocean is disrupting onshore moisture transport, causing droughts, and decreasing precipitation. Results of this work were published in Earth-Sciences Reviews.

WMU Geoscientists contributed to generating new global sea-level estimates with a peak of ~22 m higher than present for the Pliocene interval 2.7–3.2 Ma. The new estimates imply loss of the equivalent of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, and some volume loss from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, and address the long-standing controversy concerning the Pliocene stability of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Results are published in Geology.

WMU Geoscientists develop methodologies and tools using remote sensing, ground sensors, and artificial intelligence techniques to characterize the spatial and temporal conditions that control debris flow occurrences and forecast their distribution on a regional scale. Results are published in IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing.


Check out the latest issue of the newsletter from the Department of Geosciences. More...


Undergraduate applicationMajor in geociences and receive a strong foundation in traditional geology as well as broad instruction in multi-disciplinary geosciences. Programs include the study of geology, geophysics, geochemistry, hydrogeology and earth science. Students are strongly encouraged to participate in research and internship experiences. Majors gain extensive hands-on field and laboratory experience to produce both a practical and theoretical understanding of geosciences. 

Graduate applicationFurther your expertise in the field with a geosciences graduate degree; an advanced degree is the key to building a rewarding and challenging future.