The year-long senior research project is an important piece in the William & Mary Geology major. All W&M Geology majors complete an intensive independent project and in the process create new knowledge about the earth and the environment. The project culminates in a thesis and a professional-style presentation. For the past three years we’ve turned the presentation session into a daylong symposium to highlight our students’ research accomplishments. We call it Senior Research Saturday.
Last Saturday the department, as well as parents and friends, gathered for a full slate of presentations from the Geology seniors that spanned a range of topics from oyster shell geochemistry in the Chesapeake Bay to the mineralogy of mantle xenoliths to studies focused on drinking water quality from shallow aquifers. We’ll be graduating 34 majors in a few weeks and Senior Research Saturday is an important waypoint on the road to graduation. The undergraduate research requirement is part of what makes the William & Mary Geology experience distinctive, it is also what makes our students attractive to both graduate schools and employers.
A word cloud derived from Geology senior research titles for the Class of 2014.
This week students completing Honors Research will be serving up presentations to their thesis committees. We’ve got a strong crew of Honors researchers this year and they too will be presenting on a diverse array of science. Some of their thesis topics include water ice in Mercury’s shadowy craters, the neotectonics of faults in Utah, and bedrock erosion processes in East Coast river channels.
Bubbly time! A Senior Research Saturday celebration with some of the W&M Geology class of 2014.
In the rhythm of the academic year late April and early May are as busy as it gets, but in the W&M Geology Department it’s a glorious rush as we discuss and celebrate the science that our students have completed during their academic adventures.