Geology & Environmental Sciences Special Opportunities

The Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences will help you grow your geoscience career in the most effective, beneficial and enjoyable ways possible. Some of the most notable opportunities in our program are described below.

Field-based Experiential Education

Our department is dedicated to giving our students the very best field-based education. We take every opportunity to get students out of the traditional classroom and into the field to experience geological and environmental science phenomena firsthand. Nearly every upper-level geology course has a field component where students learn to make direct observations, collect and record data to be used in course-related research projects.

“The best geologist is the one who has seen the most geology…visiting unique geologic sites in the field has no substitute. That’s one of the reasons geology departments take field trips. For the geologist, life is a field trip. With this experience, every place has an element of familiarity. The sense of place is important to geologists and important to their work.”

Dr. Lisa Rossbacher,

President of Southern Polytechnic and State University, Marietta, GA

Many of the field trip destinations during our course field trips, our off-campus J Term field courses and our conference trips are truly spectacular, textbook examples of major geologic phenomena that are commonly on the “Life Lists” published by geologists. Geology students can expect to check off several of these “life list” destinations over the course of their 3- or 4-year undergraduate career at Hartwick!

Check out the Geologist “Life List.” How many items can you check off?

Check out some of our recent course field trips.

Off-campus J Term Courses

The Hartwick January Term (nicknamed J Term) allows the Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences to conduct two- and three-week long field courses in a variety of unique destinations around the world. Courses/destinations rotate yearly and most are offered once every 2-4 years. Participants pay no additional tuition for these courses, but they do pay a fee that covers cost of the travel. A number of Hartwick College scholarships are dedicated to defraying a significant portion of these fees, including (but not limited to) the “Hutch” Award.

Student-Faculty Collaborative Research

Every Hartwick geology major collaborates on an original research project in their interest area. These projects commonly begin before the senior year, and may begin as soon as the student is ready to work with a faculty member on a scientific problem to investigate. Funding for this research comes from the department, faculty research grants, internships such as the Pine Lake Environmental Research Internship, and scholarships such as the “Hutch” Award, the Freedman Prize and the NEAIPG Angelo Taggliocozzo Memorial Scholarship. Many of our students present their results at major national and international conferences.

Research projects and major conference presentations

Internship Opportunities

Many Hartwick geology students take advantage of research- or career-based internships. These may be offered locally, in locales around the country, and around the world.

Internships held by Hartwick geology students

Professional Conference Attendance

Attendance of professional conferences provides undergraduate students access to most current cutting-edge research presented by literally thousands of geoscientists. These students also get a chance to network with scholarship and internship providers, graduate school representatives, and potential employers. Conference attendance is almost always combined with a field trip to unique geologic phenomena unavailable in the Hartwick vicinity. Every Hartwick geology student is encouraged to attend at least one major conference (such as the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America). Student attendance is heavily subsidized by funds from the GESC department and the Delta Delta G geology club.

Professional geological conferences

The “Hutch” Award

The David “Hutch” Hutchison Award is presented to a rising junior or senior geology major, and recognizes academic excellence in the geosciences. This alumni-established award, which supports geoscience-related student travel, honors Dr. David Hutchison, Professor Emeritus of Geology and founder of several off-campus educational experiences. Recipients can use the substantial monetary award to defray the costs of an off-campus J Term course, research-related travel, or additional conference attendance.

The “Hutch” Award

The Freedman Prize

Originally named the Freedman Prize in Geochemistry, the award was established by Drs. Allen and Judy Freedman in 2002, and was expanded in 2004 to include student-faculty work from majors across the campus. Funds of the Physical and Life Sciences Freedman Prize support the research costs incurred by student and faculty (travel, field work, sample preparation, and analytical costs). Despite the much larger applicant pool for the Freedman Prize today, geology majors and minors regularly win this award.

Freedman Prize Winning Research Projects in Geology and Environmental Sciences

Delta Delta G – The Geology Club

“Pounding on the outcrops of the Devonian seas…” Founded in 1975 by the Hartwick Geology faculty, Delta Delta G has provided great educational and social experiences for majors and interested non-majors alike. In addition to arranging field trips of places of geological interest and sponsoring social events on campus, the club has performed many recent services to the northern Catskill and Susquehanna Valley communities. The club songs and ceremonies are always a spectacle to behold in the halls and classrooms of Johnstone Science Center…or wherever we may be. Yes indeed, you may just hear the club song echoing over the orange rocks of Arches National Park or in a campground in the western Finger Lakes.

Delta Delta G on HartLink

Hartwick FORCES – The Environmental Club

“FORCES” stands for Friends Of Recreational Conservational Environmental Stewardship. Established at Hartwick in 2012 and recognized as a formal club in 2015, the Hartwick chapter of this statewide student organization provides educational and social experiences focused on the environment. FORCES provides many opportunities for our students to work on environmental projects in area state parks, such as Robert V. Riddell, Glimmerglass and Mine Kill State Parks. The club also performs outreach to area schools and nearby communities.

FORCES on HartLink