GEMS Alumni, Career, and Department Information

SURF AND TURF - Fall 2014 Department Newsletter (in PDF format)

GEMS STUDENT HANDBOOK - Download a copy (in PDF format)

ISM STUDENT HANDBOOK - Download a copy (in PDF format)


DEPARTMENT NEWS

LOCK & KEY
Ecologist Dan Hewins ’07 wants to delay climate change by keeping more carbon in the ground and out of the atmosphere.

The grasslands of Alberta lock in carbon like a storage tank. Leave it untouched and the grasslands can sequester carbon in the soil for thousands of years. Disturb it though, such as by a tractor’s plow, and the carbon escapes, increasing the element’s concentration in the atmosphere, which scientists say is a driver of climate change.

Worldwide, similar lands store anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of the world’s organic carbon. Limiting its release can be achieved, says Dan Hewins ’07, a University of Alberta postdoctoral fellow, simply through better agricultural practices. Implementing that change, though, is anything but simple.

With more than 30 miles of fringing and barrier reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, and rocky limestone shorelines, the Roatan Institute for Marine Science (RIMS), part of Anthony’s Key Resort, offers students the ideal venue for research and for gaining valuable field experience. The GEMS department has cultivated this relationship with RIMS over the past 14 years and is the only college or university in New Jersey to participate in RIMS’s educational programs.

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A SEA OF LEARNING

Sixteen Rider students studied unique tropical marine ecosystems in the Caribbean during a two-week field course offered by the Department of Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences.

A sea fan sways rhythmically in the warm, shallow water, appearing to wave to the group of 16 Rider students snorkeling in a coral reef off the coast of Roatan, Honduras. But for all its inherent beauty, this is no vacation. The students are here to study unique tropical marine ecosystems in the Caribbean during a two-week field course offered by Rider’s Geological, Environmental, and Marine Sciences (GEMS) department.

With more than 30 miles of fringing and barrier reefs, seagrass beds, mangroves, and rocky limestone shorelines, the Roatan Institute for Marine Science (RIMS), part of Anthony’s Key Resort, offers students the ideal venue for research and for gaining valuable field experience. The GEMS department has cultivated this relationship with RIMS over the past 14 years and is the only college or university in New Jersey to participate in RIMS’s educational programs.

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GEMS GRADUATE EXPLORES THE OCEAN ON THE NAUTILUS EXPLORATION PROGRAM

Bethany Eden Smith ’05 participated in the Nautilus Exploration Program headed by Dr. Robert Ballard, who is famous for discovering the underwater location of the R.M.S. Titanic in 1985.

Some people grow up dreaming that they’ll be the president of the United States, travel to the moon or, perhaps, explore the world’s oceans in hopes of discovering something amazing.

Well, one Rider alumna is living her dream. Bethany Eden Smith ’05 participated in the Nautilus Exploration Program headed by Dr. Robert Ballard, who is famous for discovering the underwater location of the R.M.S. Titanic in 1985. Smith was among 46 other educators and students chosen from a highly competitive and talented pool of Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) applicants from all over the world.

“The high-quality, hands-on education I received at Rider sparked a hunger in me to know more about our world’s oceans,” said Smith, who graduated from Rider’s Geological, Environmental and Marine Sciences (GEMS) program in 2005. “Our oceans are some of the most unexplored places on our planet, and being able to join Dr. Robert Ballard and this incredible group of scientists, engineers, students and educators aboard E/V Nautilus to explore them is a once in a lifetime experience.”

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Follow-up article: Unraveling a shipwreck's mystery in real time
Bethany Eden Smith ’05 gave a talk at Rider about her experiences exploring a shipwreck


DR. STEVE CARSON SELECTED FOR NEW JERSEY OUTSTANDING EARTH SCIENCE TEACHER AWARD

Dr. Steve Carson, adjunct professor in the Department of Geological, Environmental and Marine Sciences (GEMS) at Rider, was selected as this year’s recipient of the New Jersey Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award. The award, sponsored by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT), was presented on June 1 sat the organization’s annual awards dinner in Lock Haven, Pa. Carson was also nominated for the Eastern Section Award.

The award recognizes “exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the pre-college level,” according to the NAGT website. Any teacher or other K-12 educator who covers a significant amount of earth science content with their students is eligible. Carson, who typically teaches a course in oceanography at Rider during Summer Session II, is a full-time teacher at John Witherspoon Middle School in Princeton. His classes there include astronomy, weather and climate, earth science and oceanography.

Carson was honored by the recognition, and said the credit could be evenly spread.

“What makes it all possible for me are my outstanding colleagues, students, parents and educationally focused community,” he said.

Carson is also an instructor in the QUEST program, an inquiry-based summer institute in science and mathematics for K-12 teachers held in a partnership between Rider and Princeton University. QUEST offers a unique opportunity for elementary and middle school teachers to enhance their knowledge of science, math and technology by engaging in laboratory experiments and field experiences led by the faculty and staff of Princeton University and scientists from neighboring institutions.


KATE KRSNAK '13 LANDS A COVETED PALEONTOLOGY INTERNSHIP WITH THE ACADEMY OF NATURAL SCIENCES IN PHILADELPHIA

An avid Jurassic Park fan growing up, Kate Krsnak ’13 received the opportunity of a lifetime when she participated in a paleontology field camp in Montana earlier this summer. There, Krsnak unearthed fossils, gained a greater understanding of methods — and landed a fall internship with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia.

Through the program, based out of Yellowstone Bighorn Research Association (YBRA), Krsnak spent July working with paleontologists and students to extract fossils along the border of Montana and Wyoming. The camp was run by David Parris, curator and Jason Schein, assistant curator of the New Jersey State Museum and strongly assisted by Jason Poole, manager of the Fossil Prep Lab at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

Krsnak, a Secondary Education and Geosciences double major, explained that depending on the location of the fossils, the team used different extraction methods, including surface collecting, quarrying a pit, using a rock saw or applying a plaster jacket.

“We spent our days in the field and our nights in the classroom back at YBRA looking over the fossils we collected, cleaning them a bit, applying glue where we could, and properly labeling them, as well as working with mapping, learning about the geology, and learning about the bones and dinosaurs,” she said. (Click here to read more about Kate)