Geology students, faculty present at conference

Current and former geology students and faculty from Western Carolina were a “heavy presence” in presenting research at the southeastern sectional meeting of the Geological Society of America, according to Mark Lord, professor of geology and head of the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resources.

Eight talks, 12 posters and 20 abstracts were presented by 13 faculty and 35 student/recent graduate/recent first graduate authors at the conference held in Columbia, South Carolina, in late March.

Presentations represented the disciplines of hydrology, geomorphology, tectonics/structure, paleontology, coastal processes and geoscience education.

“Undergraduate research remains a hallmark of the geology program,” Lord said. “By graduation, over three-quarters of our majors have presented their research at a professional conference – many of them multiple times.  All geology and earth science education students complete authentic research during their senior year.

“We’re the only geology program in the state with this requirement.”

Student authors included Kat Allen, Morgan Beldon, Joe Brazelton, Micheal Cato, Kyle Cocoran, Lauren Dodgin, Gracie Erwin, Jesse Gatlin, Allison Haddon, Sean Hartigan, Rainee Howard, Stacie Howard, Holly Hurding-Jones, Cecilia Lily, Leslie Montoya, Bryant Mountjoy and Marcy Reiford.

Recent WCU graduates who authored presentations were Michael Keever, Bailey Donovan, Chris Dunlap, Christopher Ward and Rachel Salter.

Faculty and staff presenters in addition to Lord were Frank Forcino, assistant professor of geology; Trip Krenz, assistant professor of geosciences and natural resources; Emily Stafford, geology instructor; J.P. Gannon, assistant professor of geology; Amy Fagan, assistant professor of geology; Dave Kinner, associate professor of geology; Jerry Miller, Whitmire Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science; Ben Tanner, associate professor of geology; Cheryl Waters-Tormey, associate professor of geology; Rob Young, professor of geology and director of the Program for the Study of Developed Shorelines; Blair Tormey, adjunct instructor in geology and researcher for the PSDS; and Katie Peek, research scientist for the PSDS.

For more information about the conference and/or the program, contact Lord at 828-227-2271 or by email at

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Commencement 2017
Commencement 2017


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