Alumni connect with students at Geology symposium


Ronald Cole

Above: 48 alumni registered to present and participate in the geology symposium organized by geology professor Ron Cole.

For the second year in a row, the geology department held a symposium to give students and alumni the chance to connect. Held on Sept. 26 and Sept. 27, 48 alumni signed up to participate in the symposium by giving presentations on topics ranging from induced seismicity in the Appalachian Basin to applied geomechanical modeling.

Alumni graduating anywhere between 1960 and 2014 attended the symposium, the oldest being Bob Judd, ’60.

Professor Ron Cole, chair of the geology department, organized this year’s symposium. For the past 15 years, the geology alumni have been doing student career meetings, giving them leads on jobs, internships or career advice. Wanting to increase alumni involvement further, Roger Willis, ‘80, pushed for the symposium last year.

“We’ve also had alumni reaching out to be more involved,” Cole said.

One of the alumna who was unable to attend the symposium, Greta Lydecker, ’79, still wanted to participate and connected with presenters over Skype.

To make the relationship between students and alumni even stronger, mentoring sessions were held for a one-on-one talks between the two parties.

“This was the first time we had a direct call for mentoring,” Cole added.

Alistair Macdonald, ’83, discussing during a symposium field trip.
Ronald Cole
Alistair Macdonald, ’83, discussing during a symposium field trip.


The symposium offered opportunities for students to learn about different available jobs from people in the geology field.

Brianna Edgerton, ’16, found the mentoring to be valuable.

“It was a good job and internship opportunity,” Edgerton said.

During her mentoring session, Edgerton discussed what she is doing now and what she can do in the future for a more successful career. She also received the contact information of people who can help her achieve these things.

Twelve students participated in the mentoring sessions and 20 attended the lunch and presentations on Friday. Cole added that anywhere between one to six students were always filtering in and out of the presentations at a time on Saturday, attending speeches where they could fit them into their schedules.

Dan Kerschner, ’17, felt the experience had a lot to offer for those involved.

“It allowed us a chance to network with alumni and see job opportunities outside of what we’ve already learned at Allegheny,” Kerschner said.

Over the course of two days, students learned interview skills and how to interact professionally in the workplace, as well as information about geological jobs that may not be as common or obvious.

For example, Josh Dailey, ’06, presented on potential career paths in law. Law provides opportunities to explore environmental issues, resources, and real estate.

Both Kerschner and Edgerton felt that the symposium was valuable and should be held in the future.

Cole agreed, saying, “We’re doing it again. It was a huge success.”