Geology group lands permit to study in Bad Lands of South Dakota

May 25, 2012

PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University’s School of Mathematics and Sciences focuses on more than classroom curriculum. The school has become a hub of academic activity as professors try to give their students practical knowledge and hands-on experience when it comes to learning.

This summer, WBU geology students will get a chance to study and collect samples during a two-week excursion to the Bad Lands of South Dakota. Assistant Professor of Geology Dr. David Schmidt has secured a 5-year federal permit to study in the protected area. The permit will allow students to collect samples and bring them home for further study.

Schmidt said students will spend several days in the classroom looking and models and topographical maps to try and predict what they might find once they are on site. The group will then spend two weeks, camping and collecting data.

Although the class is geared toward geology majors, Schmidt said it is open to anyone who is interested, as long as they don’t mind spending two weeks in tents with the possibility of limited showering facilities.

This study trip is the third for Wayland geology students since January, as professors attempt to make education real for their students. The geology department took two 4-day trips to study different aspects of geology. The group took an historical trip through central Texas, collecting rock samples and fossils at several locations. The group visited Enchanted Rock State Park, the Llano Uplift region and kayaked to various outcrops at Inks Lake.

In another study outing, students traveled through southwestern and south central Oklahoma, including the Arbuckle Mountains, to study igneous and sedimentary rock outcrops and structural deformation.

Geology students weren’t the only students on the road last semester, however, as the School sponsored several trips some of which included presentations at academic conventions. The Wayland chapter of the Mathematical Association of America attended the 92nd annual meeting of the Texas Section of the MAA in Dallas. Rick Ross presented a talk on his research, and students Trevor Burrow, Anna Kite, Tami Patterson, Brian Adamson and Richard Ralston competed in the calculus bowl competition.

The Texas Academy of Science annual meeting was held in March at Sul Ross State University in Alpine. Wayland took 14 students who made four oral presentations and presented two posters on research within the school. The students also submitted a research grant proposal.

Burrow won first place for his poster that was presented at the Texas Tech Third Annual Biological Sciences Symposium in March. Corin Olivas brought home second-place honors for her oral presentation

Students also presented their research in Wayland’s annual Spring Research Day.

The School of Mathematics and Sciences hopes to continue providing opportunities for its students to learn in the field. Dean of the school, Dr. Herbert Grover, and his faculty members are currently planning a trip to Kenya that will focus on environmental sciences.

For more information on math and science study opportunities, call 806-291-1115.