I trained to be a geologist from 1969-1973, got a entry-level job with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) in 1975, and then spent four years working as a full-time professional geologist until 1979 –one in Menlo Park, CA and three in Seattle, WA. At that point I switched to academia and moved to Wisconsin. This real-life work experience grounded my subsequent teaching career, and continues to provide a good personal example for students seeking non-academic jobs. I still occasionally work as a geologist when consulting.
Field Assistant (GS 5) 1975 Summer – ALASKA – USGS entry-level “grunt” or “go-fer” as a summer field assistant working for multiple Alaska Branch investigators, based from the research vessel Donald J. Miller, anchored in Lituya Bay. Midway through the summer I began to work for the Quaternary geologist Thomas D. Hamilton on two separate tasks: a reconnaissance of the geological hazards associated with the new Haul Road for the yet-to-be-built Alaska Pipeline; and a helicopter-based glacial mapping project of the Itkillik and Sagavinirktok Quadrangles, each the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
Geological Assistant (GS 5) 1975-1966 – MENLO PARK, CA – USGS full-time geological assistant helping Thomas D. Hamilton with equipment handling, data analysis, aerial photo interpretation, mapping, and manuscript review.
Geologist (GS 9-13) 1976-1979 – SEATTLE, WA – USGS full-time geologist assigned to my own project involving isostatically uplifted glacial deltas. Skip Pessl, supervisor. During the summer of 1978 I was loaned from the USGS to the U.S. National Park Service to do Quaternary mapping in Denali National Park.
Photo: Archaeological investigation at Swan Point, Alaska.