Kathleen (Kat) Plourde '06

Not all undergraduate college geoscience programs are the same. Kathleen (Kat) Plourde ’06 knows that few colleges/universities match Hartwick’s experiential learning opportunities. A hard-working student in the classic Geology track at Hartwick, Kat took advantage of all the learning experiences available to her: practicing sampling techniques and field description during class trips, attending conferences, and participating in optional HAZWOPER (hazardous waste operations and emergency response) certification training over a weekend.

Below, Kat and her classmates Josh Valder ’05 and Martha Flower ’07 are seen examining a steep slope along Dinosaur Ridge in Morrison, Colorado.

Hartwick geology students on dipslope

After graduation, Kat attended graduate school at University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where she completed a master’s degree in hydrogeology. During this time she presented her research at both the national meetings of the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. At the AGU meeting, her presentation received a Best Student Paper Award. In March 2009, Kat was offered a lucrative petroleum geologist position with ExxonMobil in Houston. The work has been exciting and challenging so far.

Kat makes it clear when she says “Looking back, I can honestly say that attending Hartwick College was one of the best decisions of my life. Especially now, when comparing my undergraduate experiences to the experiences of my colleagues, do I appreciate the opportunities that are available to Hartwick’s Geology students. The dedication of the professors, the amazing field trips for hands-on learning, and the opportunity to attend national conferences helped me build the framework for an amazing career.”

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