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Because Hamiltonians Love Red Rocks: Mary Langworthy ’17


She works for what she and her colleagues call a “60-year-old start-up,” which is situated in a region of canyons and otherworldly rock formations. Mary Langworthy ’17 can explain why the rocks are red in Red Rock Country and pretty much anything else a visitor could want to know about the Colorado Plateau. 

“The geology here is really relevant to what I studied at Hamilton. I did a senior thesis in sedimentary geology with [Assistant Professor of Geosciences] Cat Beck, and now I live smack in the middle of sedimentary-geology paradise, pretty much,” Langworthy says.

For the last 9 months she’s worked at the Moab Museum, in Moab, Utah, which tells the story of the plateau. Langworthy began her career there as the museum was remaking itself. It was Langworthy who put together the new geology display, and who better? 

“I got to use my knowledge of paleo-environment and age, and generally the larger geologic story, to arrange the display in a way that would amplify our specimens and tell the story most clearly to the guests,” she says. “And that was a ton of fun.”

At Hamilton she majored in geosciences and minored in literature. The intersection of writing and science is one of Langworthy’s long-held interests. She’s the museum’s staff person for membership and community outreach, but at a place that’s reimagining itself, and with her writing and science background, her responsibilities are broad. Beside working in membership and community outreach, she’s helping to run the museum’s virtual series. The pandemic has forced the museum to close temporarily to in-person visitors.

Langworthy loves hiking in the national parks, and rafting on the rivers of Red Rock Country, but it was more than nature that lured her west. For almost her first two years out of Hamilton, she worked in environmental consulting at an engineering firm near Boston.

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“I really missed people and wasn't quite sure how my skill set and experience in geology could bring me to a position where I could spend more time with people and building community, because that's also a big passion,” she says.

So she left the job to do some traveling and found a temporary job in outdoor education in Moab. With networking and her skills, she got the museum position, an excellent fit in her kind of paradise. 

“I just love being able to combine my academic background in geology and writing with my love for this community and my desire to enrich it. It's such a privilege to have a job where it feels like I can really benefit my community and use my skills to make this place a resource for my friends and neighbors here,” Langworthy says.

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