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Alina Hernandez in the fieldAlina Hernandez’s field camp with South Dakota School of Mines was a welcome experience after being isolated for over a year. The assignments helped Alina more fully understand the geology she learned in the classroom. She now feels revitalized and inspired as she starts her last semester at San Diego State University.

Where did you attend field camp? 

I attended my field camp with South Dakota School of Mines in Rapid City, South Dakota. The camp visited various locations within the Black Hills uplift region.

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

Receiving this scholarship made it possible for me to attend this program, covering a good portion of my tuition that included my stay at the dorms and meal plan at the school.

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

This experience helped me fully understand concepts by being able to see examples up close. Being assigned weekly projects with a partner helped us to become more independent when it came to taking data and locating ourselves on topographic maps. We then interpreted our data into clean geologic maps and cross sections, and wrote papers that helped really tie everything together. It was a lot of work, but I learned so much and made many friends from all over the country.

I felt burned out this last year and often wondered if this field was able to make space for people like me, first-generation college students who just took an introduction to geology course and ran with it. Now I feel revitalized and inspired going into my last semester at San Diego State University. I’m so grateful for what this scholarship has provided me: not only a geology field experience, but with 30 other geology students who motivated me into believing that I was doing the right thing and was exactly where I needed to be.

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

Field camp provided me with many hours of hands-on learning and data collecting that I had not yet been able to receive, given my university’s in-person lab restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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

Field camp is extremely important for geoscience students who wish to fully understand concepts they learn in their lectures.

Why should individuals support field camp opportunities for students?

Individuals who support field camp opportunities for students not only help students fully achieve their academic potential, but also create motivating environments for networking.


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