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NCGMP Celebrates Funding Its 1,000th EdMap Student

By Douglas A. Howard

 Photo of Dr. Bill Johnson, University of Kansas
Blake Miller, University of Kansas, the 1,000th EdMap student.
Photo Credit: Dr. Bill Johnson, University of Kansas
Jake Elder and Mallory Stevenson, University of Kansas, during their EdMap geologic mapping experience.
Jake Elder and Mallory Stevenson, University of Kansas, during their EdMap geologic mapping experience.
Photo Credit: Dr. Bill Johnson, University of Kansas
Photo of Haley Russell Sive, Heather Doolittle, Peter Miller, and Jen Lindelof
(Left to right) Haley Russell Sive, Heather Doolittle, Peter Miller, and Jen Lindelof of Bates College while geologic mapping at Small Point, Me.
Photo Credit: Dr. Dyk Eusden, Bates College

This year marks the 17th anniversary of the National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program's (NCGMP) EdMap component and, more notably, the funding of our 1,000th student.

Blake Miller (working on his B.S. in geology) was proposed to co-map portions of the Grantville, Silver Lake, Topeka, and Willard quads in the Kansas River Valley corridor by Principal Investigator Dr. William C. Johnson of the University of Kansas. Miller and co-mappers Jake Elder and Mallory Stevenson (each also working on their B.S. in geology), mapped alluvial landforms and characterized alluvial stratigraphy to enhance their ability to decipher the nature and timing of change within the Kansas River.

Miller says that this mapping experience "was great! This is the kind of geology I didn't get in my coursework and other fieldwork and field trips—it added a whole new perspective. I felt like I was really part of an outstanding research project and have a lot more job options now." Miller is also thrilled to be the 1,000th student and looks forward to a future using his newly attained geologic mapping skills.

Dr. Johnson commented that "As usual, I have a super group of EdMap students. Blake, Jake, and Mallory have been outstanding, and I am really excited about one of them getting this unique recognition—this is a big deal!"

EdMap is the educational component of the NCGMP and is designed to train the next generation of geologic mappers. While this year we have funded our 1,048th student with a cumulative budget of about $800,000, the program's success in educating earth science students comes from the relationships built between the USGS, academic institutions, and State Geological Survey partners. Students are mentored during their mapping projects by not only their professor, but also by professional geologists and scientists in Government and the private sector.

The USGS takes pride in the fact that the EdMap program is the only qualifying Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) program in the entire Department of the Interior (National Science and Technology Council, 2011). The program is highly regarded throughout the Government and academic communities as being one of the only effective earth science education programs that focuses on geosciences workforce training and as a pipeline for geologic mapping professions. We are gratified and encouraged by the positive feedback from EdMap student participants, who feel they have gained valuable research and mapping skills that have enabled them to be highly competitive in the geosciences job market upon graduation. We are also thrilled to see that some of our EdMap alumni have pursued academic careers and are educating a new generation of earth scientists.

Students are very enthusiastic about their mapping projects and use various social media to tell the world about their activities. Haley Russell Sive blogged about her mapping experiences with co-student mappers Heather Doolittle, Peter Miller, and Jen Lindelof (all working on their B.S. in geology) on an EdMap project proposed and led by Dr. Dykstra Eusden, Professor of Geology at Bates College. The project blog, Digital Bedrock Mapping on Small Point, was a unique way to document the year-long project and to relate their field and laboratory experiences to other students.

Haley recently graduated but looks back on her EdMap experience enthusiastically. She remarked, "My experience with the EdMap grant was absolutely wonderful. It was by far the most challenging and rewarding work of my academic career. That project alone during the last year has helped me clarify so much better what I want to do since my graduation from Bates (College). Thank you so much for giving my peers and me such an amazing opportunity." Haley's blog can be found at http://mappingsmallpoint.wordpress.com/.

We encourage students to get the word out to their peers about the EdMap program and to share their mapping experiences through any social media available to them. The USGS NCGMP has followed suit and has initiated the EdMap Facebook page to encourage current EdMap-funded students and EdMap alumni to interact and share mapping experiences as well as to keep in touch with the program. Using various social and other media, we hope to inspire students and professors who are not currently aware of the program to become involved.

Breaking the 1,000th student milestone is just a beginning for those students who will benefit from the EdMap program. It will be our pleasure to present Blake Miller with a certificate of recognition for being the 1,000th EdMap student along with induction into the GSA Digital Hall of Fame at the 2012 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting, to be held this year in Charlotte, N.C.

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