Two Geoengineering Students find their place in CEGE
The U is a big place, but two students discovered a small community within their college. Ellie Longar and Madison Haydn-Myer are both juniors in geoengineering and plan to graduate spring 2023. CEGE had a chance to talk with them about finding their niches and their friends in geoengineering.
The two had some classes together sophomore year, but had not gotten to know one another until they both interned at American Engineering Testing (AET), where they worked together testing soil or concrete at various construction sites.
What really cemented their friendship, however, was a joint experience at field camp. Field camp is a required experiential class for students in the geoengineering major. The intense nature of the course often proves to be a formative, bonding experience that creates lasting memories and friends. Ellie and Madison went through the South Dakota School of Mines to attend a winter-break field camp in Hawaii.
Madison: The geology there is completely different from anything in Minnesota. We saw mostly igneous rocks; we saw sediments like once. At first I didn’t recognize it—I was not expecting sediments because we’d only seen lava the entire time!
Ellie: One of the classes we are in together right now is Earth Surface Dynamics. We learned about 75% of the surface of the Earth is covered in sedimentary rock. But Hawaii is mainly igneous rock, so it was such a different environment from anywhere else.
Part of the appeal of geoengineering is the crossover of engineering with earth sciences. Ellie and Madison appreciate the characteristics of each group of students.
Ellie: You can get a good sense of the student population by going to a club, even more than going to classes. For example, students in ASCE are driven. Of course, they all want to be civil engineers, and that means that, just like us, they are in like five upper-level engineering classes at a time—difficult stuff. People in earth science are passionate about geology and different topics.
Madison: Earth scientists do more fieldwork, so they’re more outdoor type people, more hiking boots and zip off pants. Both groups are nice, academic, hardworking people.
Ellie: I like to think that I’m driven as well, but it’s fun to see the balance. Earth science is a little more laid back. Not in a bad way at all, I have good friends in both departments. Of course, they’re very similar in a lot of ways.
Currently, Madison is the President of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) Student Chapter. Ellie is the Treasurer. Together, along with Autumn Lauer, Elisabeth Post, and Kendall Johnson, also juniors in Geoengineering, they make up the leadership team for SME.
Madison: They said they were looking for officers. Ellie and I had joked about taking over SME and bringing it back to life. Now we are doing that!
We want to focus a lot on recruitment, increase the number of people at our meetings, and train other people to lead. I’d like to be available for the next officers. Last semester, the group sponsored a joint event with the GeoClub and invited a guest speaker. For future events, we are planning a trip to the SME State Conference in Virginia, Minnesota, and a fundraiser.
Ellie: It’s useful to have a club specifically for geoengi neers. Of course, you don’t have to be a geoengineer to join. We draw geoengineers, environmental engineers, civil engineers, earth science, or environmental geoscience.
Madison: Right now our officers are women, all juniors, all geoengineering majors, and all have very similar schedules. If one has a busy week, we all have a busy week, which can be difficult if we need to get something done.
Ellie: It would be nice to have more students and varying class schedules.
"College is difficult. I have to remind myself that the outcome will be great. I thank my past self for getting me here. I try to think of my future self and how grateful I will be when everything’s done."
Madison: College is difficult. I have to remind myself that the outcome will be great. I thank my past self for getting me here. I try to think of my future self and how grateful I will be when everything’s done.
Ellie: Madison is in almost all of my classes. It is nice to have people in the same classes, especially some of the harder classes. Even if we don’t work on homework together, it is nice to have someone to commiserate with. But it’s all worth it. I really like it at the U; I’m really happy with the geoengineering program.
"It’s all worth it. I really like it at the U; I’m really happy with the geoengineering program."