Experiential Learning in the Geology, Environment and Sustainability Department
Through varied course offerings and field trips, students learn through experience in many ways – both in and outside of the classroom. All of our major and introductory classes involve experiential learning, research reports, and oral presentations. Most of our courses have a laboratory component where students learn by doing and many courses are supported by field trips and projects that provide students the opportunity to practice what they have learned in the classroom. Outside of courses, many of our students become involved in undergraduate research projects with professors. Research may be done for course credit, towards completion of an honors project, or simply for experience. Students who are doing research often have the opportunity to present their work at regional and national conferences, such as the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. We encourage all of our students who plan on graduate study to gain research experience while at Hofstra.
Recent examples of research projects involving Hofstra students include studies of the impact of Hurricane Sandy and the history of storm impacts on coastal Long Island, the analysis of dinosaur trackways, measurements of lead contamination in suburban soils on Long Island, mapping of the bedrock geology of New York City, and measurements of trace elements in economic mineral deposits.
Students are also encouraged to pursue summer research opportunities at other universities and government research facilities. In this way, Hofstra students have gained valuable experience working at such places as the Lunar and Planetary Institute, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Stanford University, The American Museum of Natural History, The Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory, and Petrified Forest National Park.
Internships also provide a means to gain professional experience as well as course credit, particularly in the fields of hydrology and environmental consulting. Hofstra students have worked as interns for companies such as Roux Associates, CA Rich Consultants, and the US Geological Survey and these internships often lead directly to post-graduate employment for our students.