Training Future Geoscientists

  • A former graduate student examples core samples

    Former graduate student, Jason Asmus, examines core samples for his research at MGRRE. He now works as a geologist for a major oil and gas company.

  • Students work with cores alongside Dr. William Harrison

    Students work with cores at MGRRE alongside Dr. William Harrison.

  • A graduate student explains core descriptions to a visitor

    Graduate student, Matt Rine (left), explains core descriptions to a visitor at a recent MGRRE workshop.

  • Dr. Barnes is pictured next to former graduate student, Marcel Robinson

    Dr. Dave Barnes (right) and former graduate student, Marcel Robinson (left), discuss carbonate rocks. Marcel now works for a major oil and gas company.

  • Dr. Dave Barnes works on computer software alongside a graduate student

    Dr. Dave Barnes (left) and former graduate student, Kyle Patterson, use Petra software to model subsurface rock characteristic. Kyle now works as a geologist for a Michigan oil and gas company.

In the United States, a generation of industry and academic scientists is beginning to retire, creating a shortage of geoscientists in the workforce.  This shift comes at a time when geoscientists are needed more than ever to address complex climate questions, manage the nation’s coastlines, find water resources, help balance urban and industrial development with environmental protection and help us use earth resources wisely and frugally. As such, Western Michigan University’s Michigan Geological Repository for Research and Education offers unique opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students to become involved in projects with faculty, academic departments and industry representatives. Through experience-based training, often with industry mentors, our students have the opportunity to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-world issues and problems in these areas:

  • Sedimentary geology
  • Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage
  • Underground natural gas storage
  • Energy resource geology
  • Glacial geology
  • Hydrogeology
  • Environmental geology
  • Land planning
  • Governmental regulation
  • Earth science education

To attract students to geoscience careers at Western Michigan University, we make the work interesting and relevant to current societal needs and scientific research. Furthermore, because our students work with the newest modeling tools, including Petra and Petrel software, they are in high demand for summer internships and career opportunities upon graduation. 

IHS logoIHS has generously donated its IHS Petra Software to the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. We use this invaluable tool in classroom teaching and in our research.