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Careers: Alumni Profiles

Ben DeJong '03

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR?

"I spent the first year at Calvin studying engineering. That year coupled with an intensely boring internship told me that I needed something else. I found that "something else" when I took intro geo during a semester "abroad" to New Mexico. I fell in love with natural landscapes and wanted to spend my time taking them in and understanding them. I've been on that course since..."

MEMORIES OF CALVIN

"I think the most standout quality of Calvin College is the common world view that is shared by a majority of the individuals. The "real world" obviously isn't like that, so when I go through my day-to-day routine and think back on my days at Calvin, that comes to mind first. I remember it being a bit tedious when I was still there, but I realize now that it was very comforting in a way."

WHAT AT CALVIN PREPARED YOU

"I've noticed that my proficiency in understanding depositional environments from the sedimentary record has been especially good. I may have been one of the last students from Calvin Geo to have one semester of sedimentology and one semester of stratigraphy. This was a very important aspect of my training and I'm very thankful that I had Dr. Stearley to introduce me to these concepts."

LIFE AFTER CALVIN

"I went out to northern Utah to study geomorphology at Utah State University. I studied fluvial terraces in a two small Grand Canyon tributaries and correlated them to Pleistocene-Holocene climate variability. That ended with the close of 2006, and since then I've been studying the same sorts of things on the Atlantic Coastal Plain."

WHAT ARE YOU DOING NOW?

"I'm on the Eastern Earth Surface Processes Team at the USGS in Reston, VA. This team focuses a great deal of work defining the surficial and shallow sub-surficial geologic framework of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The project I've been primarily involved with is mapping the geology at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, which is located on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. I have been mapping the three associated quadrangles and placing the surficial deposits in the context of past climate change. It's great to be involved in the the entire process from collecting data to its interpretation."

ADVICE TO CURRENT STUDENTS

"It can be hard to narrow down your interests when you're in the thick of an undergrad degree. But if something grabs you, run with it. Spend a bit of time familiarizing yourself with some of the recent/current research in that field. When given a research paper to read, read it. Read it 3 times if you have to. Gaining experience in reading/understanding technical papers will make your life much easier in the future. GET OUTSIDE. Life is good!"

Major/minor

geology

Career tags

geomorphology, mapping geology

Contact

thebendejong@gmail.com