Alumni Spotlight

Sarah Sharkey

Name: Sarah Sharkey
WCU Degree: M.A. Geoscience 2014
Current Location: State College, PA
Occupation: Research Assistant at Penn State University

The amount of time the department dedicates to being in the field and working in teams was an invaluable experience for the start of my career. I use skills I learned from my research in the Gordon Natural area, my multi-disciplinary classes, and time spent in the GIS lab in my current position as a research assistant for the NSF Critical Zone Observatories program. I wanted a versatile degree and I feel confident my master’s education at WCU has prepared me to move from academia to industry as I navigate my career path in the field of Earth Science.

Rebecca Schremp Flannery

Name: Rebecca Schremp Flannery
WCU Degree: B.S. Earth Science/Geology 1997, Teacher Certification 2003, M.A. Geoscience 2007
Current Location: PA Department of Environmental Protection
Occupation: Geologic Specialist

When I started at WCU, I chose the Geology Department because I thought it would be interesting. Right away, all the students and teachers in the department made me feel welcome, like one big happy family. I current work at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection using my degree as a Geologic Specialist. I work in the Environmental Cleanup and Brownfields section, where I use state regulations to make sure that responsible parties clean up soil and groundwater contamination to an appropriate standard.

My education at West Chester has been ongoing since I started there in 1993. I’m currently pursuing my Professional Geologist (P.G.) license since this was not available when I graduated. Throughout my years at WCU, the professors and staff have always been there to help me out, answer questions and offer support. I feel that all the classes that I took in receiving my degrees have helped me understand and be more prepared for my job.

jennie matkov

Name: Jennie Matkov, B.S.
WCU Degree: B.S. Geoscience Geology, Anthropology Minor, 2009
Current Location: West Chester, PA
Occupation: Research Assistant, Stroud Water Research Center, Avondale, PA

"The incredible field experiences and warm community of the West Chester University department of Geology and Astronomy facilitated such a wonderful learning environment. Not only did I learn the technical intricacies of the geoscience field, but most importantly I was taught how to continually apply this knowledge in creative ways to ask more questions and to solve multidisciplinary problems. The amazing faculty in this department created in me an ability to build my career within the context of who I am and where I want to go."

russell losco

Name: Russell Losco, B.A., M.A., PG, CPSS
WCU Degree: M.A. Geoscience, 2009
Current Location: West Grove, PA
Occupation: Principal Geologist & Soil Scientist, Lanchester Soil Consultants, Inc

Completing a master’s degree in geoscience at West Chester University opened countless opportunities for me. In addition to allowing me to become licensed as a Professional Geologist, I am now an adjunct professor, a published author with several peer-reviewed publications, and am active on a national scale in research and in professional organizations. The geographical range and scope of my work has increased dramatically based upon the knowledge and experience that I gained through West Chester.

Maureen Moore

Name: Maureen Moore, class of 2007
WCU Degree: B.S. Geology & B.S.E.D. Earth & Space Science Secondary Education (dual degree)
Occupation: Geologist, Newmont Mining Corporation.

While attending West Chester University, I got the opportunity to be a part of the Geology & Astronomy Department. The well-rounded education I received from West Chester University has set me up to use my degree in a variety of disciplines within the field of Geology and Earth Sciences. Prior to pursing a graduate degree in Economic Geology and Ore Deposits, I had the opportunity to work for an environmental consulting firm directly supporting DuPont. I am currently working as a geologist in the emerging talent program at Newmont Mining Corporation in Denver, Colorado. The emerging talent program allows students coming out of graduate school to get exposed to the different geologic disciplines within the mining industry. My current focus within the program is precious and base metal mineral exploration. Without the solid geologic foundation I received from WCU, I would not have the opportunities I have.

Tom Watters

Name: Dr. Tom Watters
WCU Degree: B.S. Earth Sciences, 1977
Current Location: Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum
Occupation: Senior Scientist and Chair, Center for Earth and Planetary Studies

My time at West Chester University set me on a path to become a planetary scientist. George Reed, Sy Greenberg, and the others were more than my teachers; they were my mentors and my friends. What success I’ve achieved as a scientist, I owe in large measure to them.

Laura Mazzagatti

Name: Dr. Laura Mazzagatti
WCU Degree: M.S. Geoscience
Current Location: West Chester, PA
Occupation: Secondary Education Science Teacher

In obtaining my Masters from WCU, I have been able to combine my passion for both science and children as a Secondary Education Teacher. I have been pleasantly surprised by how rewarding and fulfilling this profession is and I enjoy brightening the minds of students with Astronomy, Geology, Meteorology, Physical Science and Environmental Science. I have WCU to thank for their incredible graduate program and talented professors.

Earth and Space Science Promotional Video
Earth and Space Sciences Overview


The Department of Earth & Space Sciences (formerly Geology & Astronomy) prepares students for rewarding careers in geoscience and education. The Department offers two Bachelor of Science degree programs in Geoscience, as well as a teaching certification program in both General Science and Earth and Space Science. We also offer a Master of Science (MS) degree in Geoscience that is designed for the professional development of geologists and precollege teachers. Our department is a friendly and exciting place that prides itself on personalized attention to our students.

We offer:

  • A faculty of nationally-known scholars
  • Courses that build career skills: problem-solving, cooperative teamwork, field work, and cutting-edge training on scientific instruments
  • Flexible curriculum with opportunities for independent study research or internships for course credit
  • A solid foundation for a career in the environmental industry, geology, or teaching in secondary schools
  • A large alumni network of professional geologists and teachers in the Greater Philadelphia Region
  • An Earth-Space Science Club, an Honors Society, plus participation in the Women in Science and Astronomy Clubs
  • Assistantships and scholarships available each semester

Career opportunities in geoscience are excellent:

  • Demand for geoscientists expected to increase by about 20% through 2020
  • Salaries comparable to or higher than salaries in the other sciences
  • Rewarding, well-paying job opportunities for graduates with a B.S. Geoscience degree

Come join our community and plan a career to make the world a better, more sustainable place for the future. For more information, please contact the Department of Geology & Astronomy Chair, Dr. Joby Hilliker, at or contact Linda Slack in the main office at 610-436-2727.

Students in front of Merion Science Center

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