Hi! My name is Stephanie White, and I am a senior geology major. I am from a small Alabama town, where majoring in geology is essentially unheard of. I was unsure which major would be the best fit for me going into my freshman year, but after speaking to a professor in the geology department, I decided to enroll in GEO 101. It didn’t take me long to realize that I had found a course of study that encompassed my passions and a viable career path. As a kid, I always had a history of digging around in the dirt, obsessing over dinosaurs, and picking up any rock within a five-foot radius. If this sounds familiar, you might want to consider majoring in Geology!
What’s is like to be a geology major?
Geology is all around us, and majoring in geology allows you to look at the world from a unique perspective. For the 4.5 billion years prior to the onset of written history, all of our knowledge of the Earth’s past comes from clues hidden in rocks. As a geology major, you’ll take exciting and challenging courses that range from the geologic history of the Earth to paleontology and volcanology. Classes often include field trips, which allow for hands-on experiences and time outdoors. Many professors offer undergraduate research opportunities, where students assist with and conduct their own research projects. Through undergraduate research, I have worked with fossils that are tens of millions of years old and even traveled to China. None of this would have been possible without the geology department and the guidance of my professors.
The department’s professors truly care about their students’ success, both inside and out of the classroom, and are always available to answer questions and provide assistance. The undergraduate student body is a close-knit group of peers, and student-run clubs provide the chance to develop professional skills and to listen to intriguing speakers.
How has your major better prepared you for your future?
When people ask my major, and I respond with “geology,” I am frequently met with some variation of the following response: “What are you going to do? Dig up dinosaurs?” Although digging up dinosaurs is unarguably super cool and can lead to an exciting career path as a paleontologist, the possibilities are much greater than most people expect! The realm of geology has so much to offer with respect to careers, and my experience as a geology major at Alabama has left me feeling prepared for anything. Career opportunities as a geologist are numerous and range from government positions to environmental consulting to the energy industry and even prestigious names in science, such as NASA. Through the geology department, I personally got an interview with a major corporation that has led to an internship, which I hope will lead to a career. Without the help of the department, I doubt I would have had the chance at this possibly life-altering experience.
As I enter my senior year and look back on the past three years, I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience as a geology major. Being a geology major has improved me as an individual, challenged me as a student, and granted me opportunities I never would have been presented with on my own.