Tag Archives: research

An Unexpected Turn, and the Frustration with Contacting Professors

Well, the job is going swellily. We get quite a bit time off inbetween jobs, and I’m just ending my second week off. I’m finding it kinda hard to stay entertained, and yet keeping an eye out for a source of income that would help me stay home more often than not. Mostly just something I could do in-between jobs. I still keep hoping I can make a small living off of video games, but try as I might, that remains to be seen.

Anywho, the ol’ boyfriend up and decided that he wants to get out of the military and go to the University of Wyoming. Which is FANTASIC news, in a way. I’m a bit tired of being told where to go – it gets exhausting pretending to like an area that isn’t up your alley.

If we follow through with this, I will be over the moon. UWyo is my top choice for grad school. I love Wyoming, they have a fantastic geophysics department, and one of the professors research is exactly what I’m interested in. The problem is, I can’t get him to respond to my emails. I’ve only sent 3, and they’ve been spaced out enough to not feel like they were bombarding him, but just friendly reminders like “Hey! I know you’re busy, but just in case you meant to get back to me and forgot, I’m still here!” (Not in those exact words, but that’s what I was aiming for.)  We are planning a trip to the University next month, and it’s driving me up the wall that the professor hasn’t gotten back to me. I want to know if he’ll be available any time in June, because I will make sure I’m there the same time he is so he can at least see my face and possibility remember me.

Then there’s the possibility that we move there, and I don’t get into the grad program. Then what? I don’t know if I should talk to other professors in different areas of study and hope I find one that sticks just to attend the university, but I feel like that’s what’s going to happen if I don’t get ahold of the guy I’d rather work with.

The last email I sent was two weeks ago now, explaining that I will be at the University in June, driving all the way from Michigan just to see the department, and I would like to know if he’s going to be around. I also said this is the last email I’m sending before I attempt to call your office. I have no idea if this is the acceptable thing to do or not. I don’t know if I should call the department office first and get the skinny. Maybe the guy is in the hospital? But I feel I could have found that information somewhere on the internet. Trust me, I google-fu’d the hell out of this guy.

I figure I would wait a week or two after graduation so that he can get the break I no doubt he needs, and possibly be more receptive to talking. I’m probably stressing out too much about this, because grad school wouldn’t even happen until Fall 2017. I also have no idea how far ahead I should be trying schmoozle. I do know that I’ll be actually studying for the GRE this time.

Well….thanks for reading, guys. I know I don’t update that often, but thanks for sticking with me. Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Cheers!

Wham Bam, Thank You Foram!

Let me tell you about the nightmare of a thesis I chose. Okay, the subject itself is pretty awesome…but narrowing it down  is what is driving me up the wall. If I leave it as-is, it’s considered Master’s level work. As much as I would like to say I did that amount of work as an undergrad, it’s just not going to happen.

This idea came about on accident, actually, which is what is making me keep at it. I was taking Sedimentology and SEM(Scanning Electron Microscope) simultaneously. Both require a project. I was originally going to keep them separate, but then one of my good friends was in the lab doing a project for a grad-course called Paleoecology. We chat a lot, so I sat down and he taught me how to look for these creatures called foraminiferans, because that’s what he was doing and I felt bad for disturbing him. Forams (for short) are these little tiny amoeba-like sea creatures that have tests (shells). They are typically about the size of a small grain of sand, for your visualization reference.
The cool part is that the sand we were looking for, by definition, was NOT supposed to even have forams. So when my friend and I discovered some, we were a little excited to say the least. BAM I had my SEM project AND my sed project!! For my sed/SEM project, I ended up doing a paleoenvironmental facies analysis – facies being what kind of environment they were living in at the time of deposition. I was able to get the basics down, and went above and beyond for my project work.
Okay, that’s step 1.
Step 2 was the try to figure out why they were there. This is where I keep getting tripped up. There are so many guesses as to what was going on, and your guess it just as good as mine. No really. I have no idea either.
Here are some possibilities – Well, they were found with a bunch of other fossils, as the samples were taking from a shelly lens. One possibility is that the shells were protecting the foram tests from taking a beating. Another possibility is just that the tests were so small they weren’t subject to the same amount of force as the other shells (which were beat to hell, by the way) – but that doesn’t explain what they were doing in the sand to begin with.
Based on the paleoecology report that the grad class did, it was a heavily storm-influenced area. Could have just gotten washed in? But washed into where exactly? The sand is typical of a beach, but all of the other fossils are things that would  not get “washed up” like barnacles(without sticking to something else) and worm tubes, so it would have had to been underwater.  Thinking about the barnacles though, I guess they would have been stuck to some driftwood that got washed up, but doesn’t explain the giant pile of sand and other shells.
I’m also pretty sure that there is a “gradient” of sand-size particles starting from the largest of the area starting at the beach and getting smaller and smaller the farther off shore you go, but I can’t seem to find that specific of information stated in a book anywhere. Also a problem.
This  is a 3D model of the shelly lens in question. Oh yes. I made that. Take note future employers! I know how to use AGIsoft!
But anyways, trying to figure out why they are there (like the actual God-given reason they are there) is for sure a masters-level type of research project that I just don’t have time for, UNLESS I dedicate a semester to it, which I don’t really want to do. Will if I have to, but now that I know what it’s like to have weekends off again, I feel like I can do it next semester. We’ll see.
Anywhoser,  I may be able to just apply a theory and go with it and then concentrate on identifying and naming the forams I found. WHICH it is very possible that I found a new foram species, and I might be able to get away with going through the process of proposing it as one and getting it added to the database as my main thesis aspect.
It’s a hard decision to make when my thesis adviser has a double PhD in Paleontology and English. That means I have zero wiggle room to bullshit, which I’m glad for, I just don’t know if I can supply the amount of information he expects from me.
I mean hell, my prospectus alone is going to have to be 10 pages long.
FYI, the featured image for this blog is one of the forams in question (well, the inside half of it). We refer to this one as “the Hamburger” because we can’t find jack-shit on this bugger. But check out the recrystalization going on in that one! Awyiss.
Cheers