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Careers: Alumni Profiles

Ryan Bierma '03

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR?

My discovery of geology was a rather dramatic personal revelation during my junior year. I had never studied anything that clicked so well. My passion grew with each class I took, as did my metamorphosis into a full-fledged rock geek. The department did everything to support and promote my transition.

MEMORIES OF CALVIN

  • The outstanding faculty in the department! They provide an excellent example for balancing faith and science.
  • Field trips, field work, and fantastic slides in class

WHAT AT CALVIN PREPARED YOU?

The broad range of coursework was beneficial. More quantitative coursework would have been helpful.

LIFE AFTER CALVIN

  • Grad School at UNC-Charlotte.
  • Research in tectonic geomorphology, examining soils and stream terraces in the Reno River Valley, Apennine Mountains, Italy.
  • Field Engineer for UNAVCO. Southern California and Alaska.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?

I work for UNAVCO, on a grant from the NSF to build and maintain the Plate Boundary Observatory. My job involves extensive travel throughout Alaska to install permanent GPS stations used for earthquake and tectonic research.

ADVICE TO CURRENT STUDENTS

Get into the field every chance you get, whether it be to study rocks, ecosystems or urban areas, just get out there! carpe diem

Major/minor

geology/biology and psychology

Career tags

field engineer, plate and tectonic research, volcanoes, Alaska

Contact

bierma@gmail.com

More on Ryan

Read about Ryan's current work researching volcanoes in Alaska.