Liane Rosario, a senior at the University of Illinois Chicago studying earth and environmental sciences, is part of the inaugural cohort of interns through the Illinois State Geological Survey's Paul Edwin Potter Internship Program.
Rosario has been working with Robin Mattheus, a coastal geologist, and Mitchell Barklage, a geophysicist, on coastal research at the ISGS Lake Michigan office.
“I have enjoyed working with Liane this summer through the Potter internship program on a project to use geophysical techniques to study stratigraphic architecture and subsurface structure of Chicago’s lakefront beaches. She has shown great interest and enthusiasm in the project, which in turn has inspired me to be a better scientist. She has a keen sense for fieldwork and has quickly developed the geospatial analytical skills necessary to make meaningful interpretations of the field data. I look forward to continuing our collaboration into the fall of 2022 when we are planning to present the results of Liane’s summer project at the annual Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union," said Barklage.
Rosario has been working in the field, getting first-hand experience gathering data using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) in caves and on beaches, and measuring the depths of Lake Michigan via boat using bathymetry data. Working with her mentors, she is learning to organize the data from the field and complete surveys for fieldwork.
"It has been great having Liane as part of our ISGS Lake Michigan coastal research group this summer. She has been actively and wholeheartedly engaged in a variety of our crew's monitoring activities, from surveying beach topography to deploying sonar along the nearshore. Liane is currently working on a nuanced approach to sand-thickness mapping using reflection geophysical data acquired this summer. Her tenacity has allowed her to quickly make sense of a new analytical instrument and its non-intuitive software. Liane is a pleasure to work with," said Mattheus.
She recently answered some questions about her internship experience.
Describe, briefly, what you are doing during your Potter internship
During my internship, my group has been mapping the volume of sand on the Chicago beaches using ground penetrating radar (GPR), bathymetry, and drone flights. I have also had opportunities to work on seismic projects mapping the subsurface in Rockford and travel to Mammoth Cave for GPR and seismic work.
What are you learning during the internship? Has anything surprised you or shifted your thinking?
I have learned so much about the theory behind ground penetrating radar, seismic activity, bathymetry, and even sand movement. Since I have had the chance to be involved in many surveys, I am also learning how to organize and complete surveys and fieldwork. I was surprised at how physically demanding field work can be, but it never fails to interest me and give me a sense of accomplishment. I have also learned that working in the field is usually a collaborative effort amongst many people.
What sparked your interest in geoscience?
In my first year at UIC, I took a geology class with Professor Stefany Sit, and her love and excitement for geosciences was infectious. She inspired me to learn all that I could and to become more curious about this field. Now after working with Mitchell Barklage and Robin Mattheus who are also knowledgeable and passionate about geosciences, they've helped me to develop those interests.
How do you think your internship might affect your studies or your career path?
Ultimately, I hope to continue working with the group to see out the end of our project. It has sparked a desire in me to continue working outdoors, collaborating with people, and studying all that I can. In my last semester at UIC, I plan to include a geoscience course to expand upon what I have learned so far.
What was the best part of your Potter internship experience?
My favorite experience so far was traveling to Mammoth Cave to obtain GPR data inside the cave. I was able to meet several people who have been working in the field and inside of the cave for decades, so I got a tour from the experts. Not to mention, I have gotten the opportunity to hang out on beaches for most of the summer! We also plan to take quite a few boat rides to obtain bathymetry data offshore which I am very excited about.