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Lana Axelsen selfie with monitorLana Axelsen’s virtual field camp experience felt like the final test of their geology degree before entering the real world. It required them to reach deep into everything they’ve learned over the last four years and then apply it. Now they know that they are proficient in the skills that will be expected of them in a professional setting.

Where did you attend field camp?

I had to do a virtual field camp due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

How did COVID-19 affect your experience of field camp?

The class was facilitated through Microsoft Teams where the students met with the instructors and the materials and assignments were posted on Canvas.

What did receiving the J. David Lowell Field Camp Scholarship mean to you?

Being awarded the field camp scholarship was a major relief from the financial burden that can come from higher education.

What did that experience teach you about the geosciences, yourself, and your future career?

The field camp experience is the culmination of what I have learned in the past four years and applying it. It is like the final test before you go out in the real world. The feeling that I am proficient in the field that I have studied for so long makes me feel accomplished, but then there are also moments where I doubt that I know enough. I have learned that the process of truly understanding any subject is to push the boundaries of my own understanding and limits. Field camp pushed me to reach deep into all I have learned and be able to apply it. I would have to say that knowing the basic concepts forms the building blocks to the most complex concepts. The future will always hold something positive as long as you persevere. I can say I know I am proficient in the skills that would be expected of me in a professional setting, such as map building, technical writing, and identifying geologic processes based on LiDAR and aerial photos, etc.

What opportunities did attending field camp provide that you wouldn’t have had otherwise?

The assignments are built to simulate the types of assessments I would do in the actual profession, but with a lot more help. I could ask the instructor to refresh me on an aspect of some concepts that I would have to just figure out in a job because I could not tell my employer that I am fuzzy in an area I learned two years prior.

In your opinion, how important is field camp for geoscience students?

Field camp is imperative in applying what you learned in your degree hands-on, which can differ greatly from just reading about a technique in a textbook.

Why should individuals support field camp opportunities for students?

Geoscientists have a very hands-on career experience whether students are on site, writing technical reports, or synthesizing data. Field camp allows students to receive an understanding of the programs, fieldwork, and critical thinking that will be expected of them in employment, while providing guidance from their teachers.


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