Experiential Learning in the Geology, Environment and Sustainability Department
Through our varied course offerings and field trips, the depth and passion of our faculty’s experience is shared with students in many ways - both in and outside of the classroom. All of our major and introductory classes involve experiential learning, research reports, and oral presentation as a basic staple of our educational commitment. All students are required to become familiar with scientific equipment and literature in all of our classes and therefore every lab involves some variety of experiential learning.
Outside of the classroom – the real world of Geology – we engage our students in field and laboratory projects based on the expertise and areas of specialization of our faculty. Examples of these on-going projects include:
Dr. J Bret Bennington (Paleontology-Geomorphology-Hydrology)
Current research projects with students include studies of: Dinosaur Trackways at Rocky Hill, CT, the Cretaceous-Tertiary Boundary in Coastal Plain of NJ, and Dinosaur Taxonomy Systematics.
Dr. Emma Christa Farmer (Sedimentology-Paleotempestology)
Research projects with students include the study of past Long Island storms by utilizing sediment coring, imaging sediment cores, spectrophotometer to compare sediment color to sediment grain size, and sediment grain size measurements.
Dr. Dennis Radcliffe (Mineralogy-Geochemistry)
We expose the students to two aspects of science
(1) How to become proficient in the use of computer-controlled equipment and
(2) How to apply the equipment to real-world problems in geology. Computer-controlled equipment includes X-Ray diffraction to identify mineral phases and X-ray Fluorescence spectrophotometry to measure chemical composition including trace element measurement at the 0.001% level. Student projects include: Measurement of trace pollutants in the harbors of Long Island, trace element profiles in rutile as a guide in the exploration for new tin deposits, and distinguishing natural gemstones from synthetics using trace element profiles.
Dr. Charles Merguerian (Structural Geology-Petrology-Field Geology-Tectonics)
Research projects with students involve basic geological research in the following areas:
Earthquakes/fault analysis of NYC bedrock
Geological Controls on NYC Tunneling (Queens Water Tunnel, New Croton Bypass Tunnel, East Side Access Tunnel, Con Edison Cable Tunnel, Second Avenue Subway)
Bedrock and Glacial Geology of the World Trade Center Site
Bedrock and Glacial Trail Guide and Lecture Series for the NY Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY
Various research projects based on Field Courses conducted in: Arizona, Wyoming, California (Death Valley and Sierra Nevada Transect), and Hawaii