Caitlin Livsey ’12, who is working on a master’s degree in geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, plans to go for a doctorate in the subject she discovered at Hamilton College.
“The thing I love most about geology is that it ties together so many different areas of study. Geoscience classes include biology, physics, chemistry, mathematics and environmental science,” Livsey says. “There are trips into the field, work in the microscope lab, handling and learning species names of fossils, mapping geological structures using Google maps, calculating radiogenic isotopes, memorizing chemical formulas of minerals and much more.”
The passion began when her advisor at Hamilton, Professor Dave Bailey, convinced her to take his forensic and medical geology course her first year.
“Many of the upper-level geoscience classes had field trips incorporated into them. For many classes, these field trips tied everything together. On these field trips we would drive around in jitneys and stop at all sorts of outcrops. At these, we put to work all of the skills we learned in the classroom. Seeing the rocks and structures in the field and being able to identify them is what geology is all about,” Livsey says.