Archive for April 20th, 2011

Achieving Wooster’s Mission

April 20th, 2011

The theme of today’s Petrology lab is summarized by the last sentence of Wooster’s Mission Statement: “Wooster graduates are creative and independent thinkers with exceptional abilities to ask important questions, research complex issues, solve problems, and communicate new knowledge and insight.” Petrology students have been hard at work on a semester-long research project that required them to do all of the above: first describe and identify an unknown rock, then use the mineralogy and textures to interpret the rock’s petrogenesis. Geologists communicate their research in a number of ways, including poster presentations. In fact, many of our students give poster presentations about their I.S. research at National GSA Meetings and in Wooster’s I.S. Symposium. So today’s Petrology lab was transformed into a “Junior GSA” Petrology Poster Session. The hallways of Scovel were buzzing with discussions about exsolution, fractional crystallization, and magma mixing. The walls were plastered with gorgeous images of perthite, compositional zoning, and reaction rims. (Imagine a petrology paradise, if you will.)

Travis Louvain ('12) explains how his sample showed a contact between two rocks.

Can you feel the excitement?

This poster session made some students look forward to GSA in the Fall.

Here’s a small sample of some of the posters:

A tale of two feldspars by Anna Mudd ('13)

Formation of Trachyte by Sarah Appleton ('12)

Of course, one of the goals of this project is to practice and improve their ability to make poster presentations, so students evaluated themselves and each other according to the Poster Rubric. The feedback they get will help improve their future poster presentations, and by using this rubric throughout their academic careers, we’ll be able to assess the development of effective communication skills in our major.

If this post has only whetted your appetite for petrology, stay tuned! Next week, we’ll unveil the petrology digital presentations.