Dave Chapman '05

As a student at Hartwick, David Chapman ’05 always had a flair for humor. During class field trips, he could always be counted on to lighten the mood with a joke, a humorous T-shirt slogan, or a convincing dramatization of volcanic perils.

Dramatization of volcanic fumes

Dave’s flair for field geology led him to a staff geologist position with MACTEC Engineering and Consulting Inc. after graduation. Dave is involved with a wide variety of environmental analyses, including groundwater and surface water sampling, sediment/soil description and sampling, bedrock description, monitoring well installation, subsurface mapping with ground penetrating radar. In the field photo below, Dave takes notes at a pair of monitoring wells located in a large wetland.

Although much of his work lies within the Northeast, he occasionally travels to more distant sites. Work days can be long, but the work is always involved and interesting, and that helps the hours go by quickly.

Many of the techniques Dave uses on the job were learned during classes at Hartwick, such as GEOL 307 – Petrology, GEOL 309 – Stratigraphy/Sedimentology, GEOL 311 - Field Geology and GEOL 316 – Geochemistry. Dave says “I know it sounds silly, but general field note-taking has come in very handy too…thanks Dr. Titus. I only wish I had also taken GEOL 305- Hydrology as well, since my peers who took that course also had a head start on me when it came to well sampling.” Still, Dave and many of his peers took advantage of on-campus HAZWOPER (hazardous waste operations and emergency response) training/certification required by environmental firms. These classroom and out-of-class experiences provide a solid basis for a career in geosciences.

Many geoscience graduates in the Northeast find employment with environmental engineering firms as field scientists and technicians. Nationally and regionally, employment opportunities in this area are on the rise. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts a nationwide 25% increase in the number of environmental engineering technician positions for the period 2006-16. Although many jobs are harder to find in New York State than in the past, there is an expected 15.7% increase in the number of environmental engineering technician positions over this same period in New York. Many students of the Hartwick Geological and Environmental Sciences program have attained quality employment with environmental firms directly after graduation. Associate Professor David Griffing says: “Even though we are an undergraduate liberal arts and sciences program, we try to balance conceptual learning with real-life applied techniques and training. The close faculty-student interaction and many field-training opportunities make our graduates very competitive both in the job market and at graduate schools.”

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