Reflections from Laura Sugano
About the Project
My project was: Evaluating Pleistocene and mid-continent climate, hydrologic, and paleoseismic records using speleothems from caves in Arkansas, Missouri, and Indiana. My mentor was Jim Paces and my project supervisor was Mark Hudson. I spent most of my time doing lab work at the Federal Center in Lakewood, Colorado. I was able to visit one of the caves,Fitton Cave, where my samples were from. In the lab, I was responsible for preparing samples for Uranium-series dis-equilibrium dating analysis by using a rock saw, sonicator, jaw crusher, polishing machine, and a hand drill. I also assisted in weighing, digesting, and performing chemical analyses on the Uranium, Thorium, and Strontium samples before they were dated.
Most Memorable Experience
The most memorable part of the work was the people I was able to meet. The other NAGT interns and the people I worked with on this project have inspired me to never lose my love for science. Of course I learned a lot of new skills and I learned about the geology of new areas, but the people I met last summer have truly impacted me in a positive way.
Before I had the experience of working at the USGS, I wanted to have a career as a geologic consultant in industry. By the time I moved to Denver, I was already enrolled in the geology masters program at Kent State University to study hydrology and water quality of green infrastructure.
How the program contributed
Working on a hydrogeology project allowed me to enhance my understanding of hydrology in preparation for my thesis research in graduate school. Furthermore, my internship made me realize how much I love research and being in an environment of others that love it too. I have since opened my mind to a more research-based career and working for the government. After graduating with my masters degree I plan to get some experience working as a geologist. Later on, I would like to earn my PhD and teach geology in a university. Through my participation in the Cooperative Summer Field Training Program I grew so much as a person and as a scientist. It is an experience that I would not change for the world.