Student News

Nikki Rumpca received a 2010 UWSP Undergraduate Education Initiative grant ($1,780) for field work in Iceland in summer 2010: “Soil development in an active spreading ridge, Iceland.” Nikki is presenting results at the AAG in Seattle April 2011 Nikki is considering schools to continue her research.



Liza Wernicke received a 2010 UWSP Undergraduate Education Initiative grant of $1,060 to conduct Scanning Electron Microscope and Electron dispersion analysis of blueschists in a Precambrian subduction zone.




Michael Tanner, Geoscience Major graduating in May 2011, has accepted employment in California working for the Green Diamond Resource Company as a Geoscientist.




Bradley Kealiher (2011) completed an internship during Fall 2010 with the United States Department of State-Bureau of Political Military Affairs in Washington, DC. His responsibilities included acting as liaison between the Defense Security Cooperation Agency and the Department off State's Foreign Affairs Office.




Liza Wernicke

Liza Wernicke (above), a double major in Physics and Geoscience, delivered the student address at the 2010 Winter Commencement for the Colleges of Letters and Science and Natural Resources.




Corinna Neeb

Corinna Neeb (second row, eighth from left) presented a poster, GIS Maximizes Volunteer Contributions in Science and Community Planning, at the Rotunda of the State Capitol at Madison in May. While there, she personally discussed her public engagement work at the GIS Center with Governor Jim Doyle.




Brook Burich

Brooke Burich was one of eight students selected nationally to participate in a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates internship, with the Dune Undergraduate Geomorphology and Geochronology project, provided first-hand experience in modern field and laboratory based problem-solving techniques in the earth sciences. These included hypothesis-driven field research at Whispering Sands in Wisconsin and the Sand Hills in Nebraska, coupled with such laboratory analyses as optically stimulated luminescence dating and ground-penetrating radar data (collection below) in cooperation with the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.

Other internships this year have included:

  • Michael Broton, Jon Galloy, and Jonathan Winkelman with UWSP’s Small Business Development Center
  • Benjamin Ebertz with the North Central Regional Planning Commission
  • Jonathan Mineau with the Waupaca County Land Information Department
  • Corinna Neeb with UWSP’s GIS Center
  • Daryn Hardwick with the Sauk County Land Records Department
  • Omar Muhyar with the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission
  • Benjamen Stahlecker with the City of Wausau



School Performance poster

Kylie Betzler, Rebecca Braunschweig, Nicole Michiels, and Elizabeth Roden presented their human geography research poster, “Community Structure and Wisconsin K-12 School Quality, School Funding, and School Consolidations”, at the Association of American Geographers national meeting in Washington DC during April. Sarah Carriger, Janell Wehr, and Jesus Rehwinkel also presented their geoscience/geoarchaeology poster, “Roche A Cri Petroglyphs: A Study in Rock Art Weathering”, at the same conference.

Rock Art Weathering poster


Undergraduate Research poster

Angela Eichler presented her paleoenvironment research at the Geological Society of America’s national conference in Branson Missouri during April. The poster, “Paleolimnological Reconstruction of Drought Conditions from Max Lake, Vilas County, Wisconsin”, was one of seven nationwide to win recognition with an award for undergraduate research.




Nikki Rumpca of Woodbury, Minn., a soils and geosciences double major who is studying with Kevin Hefferan, professor of geology, is doing a soils and volcanic activity study near the Eyjafjallajokull volcano that erupted in Iceland on May 11. Rumpca was in Iceland a year ago and is now back in Iceland for the summer preparing a report on data collected before and after the eruption. She lives in Husadalur in Thorsmork.

“The ash has really covered much of the vegetation, but there is some life coming back and greening up the landscape—it's really amazing,” said Rumpca.




Liza Piltz of Stevens Point, a geosciences and physics double major, is doing a SEM-EDS study on blue schist rocks from Morocco. Her mentors this summer are Hefferan and Mike Zach, assistant professor of chemistry.

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) is used for fine-grained materials that cannot be identified either with the eye or a petrographic microscope. SEM occurs when an electron beam is scanned across a sample's surface. A high resolution image can be obtained because of the small diameter of the primary electron beam. The image will therefore show the distribution of different chemical phases in the sample. Detection and measurement of the energy permits elemental analysis (Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy or EDS). EDS can provide rapid qualitative or with adequate standards, quantitative analysis of elemental composition with a sampling depth of 1-2 microns. X-rays may also be used to form maps or line profiles, showing the elemental distribution in a sample surface.