Why Geology at Guilford?
Geology, the study of the Earth, includes a variety of topics such as earth history, fossils, rocks and minerals, climate, ground and surface water, natural hazards and environmental science. Guilford geology students are involved in hands-on field experiences, inquiry-based laboratory work, and undergraduate research. Upon graduation our students pursue many diverse career options both within the sciences and in related fields. Many go on to graduate study, either immediately after graduation or after gaining work experience. Some alumni now have successful careers as professional geologists in the environmental and oil industries, while others are employed in research labs or in academia, and still others are in teaching, environmental science, environmental law, resource management and geography.
Few students have had much exposure to geology before entering college; many of our majors “discover” geology during their first or second year, often after taking one of our introductory courses as their lab science requirement. Many students choose to major in geology because they love the subject, are interested in the environment, and wish to take advantage of the numerous opportunities to study geology beyond the traditional classroom.
Field Study and Research
Hands-on experience with real-world outcrops is critical to learning geology, and we make work in the field a significant component of our courses from the introductory level to senior research. Students gain experience identifying and analyzing rocks and outcrops and develop skills working with field instrumentation. In addition to our core courses, we offer opportunities for students to study geology abroad in regions such as the East African Rift Valley, the Andes, and the Galapagos Islands.
We also encourage students to engage in research projects with us or through internship experiences. Our students have worked with local agencies to study the use of enhanced wetlands for stormwater treatment, conducted geologic studies on the nearby Guilford Courthouse Military Park, and investigated the water quality of the campus lake. Others participate in internship opportunities with other organizations; recent projects include studying fossil assemblages with researchers at the University of Florida, analyzing impacts on stream water quality with various state and federal organizations, and working with the National Park Service to establish baseline geologic data in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. These learning experiences also offer the opportunity for students to present their scientific research at regional and national scientific meetings.