Current and Past Events

Fall 2023 Earth and Space Sciences Seminar Schedule

Seminars held every Thursday at 4:00pm-4:50pm in the Merion Science Center room 113

Masks are optional in all buildings.

seminar 1                                                                                                                                                            seminar 2

A panel of alumni speak to current students about their career paths in industry, education, and graduate school.                         Students work on their resumes and interview skills.


Date Speaker  Topic Additional Information

Dr. Marc Gagne

Earth and Space Sciences Department Faculty Introduction

This will serve as an overview of how this year's seminar will differ from previous years in terms of its operation.


Dr.Howell Bosbyshell  Dr.Daria Nikitina  Dr.Marc Gagne  

Opportunties and Advising 

This seminar aims to discuss the department's scholarship opportunties, field trips, and various other offerings. Additonally it will delve into the benefits of advising and how it can positively impact your future.


Dr.Marc Gagne  

Magnetic Massive Stars
The primary objective of this seminar is to delve into and explore the latest research conducted by Dr. Marc Gagne, which centers around the fascinating subject of Magnetic Massive Stars. Throughout the seminar, we will have the opportunity to engage in in-depth discussions and gain insights into Dr. Gagne's work in this field, shedding light on the intriguing phenomena associated with these celestial giants.

Dr.Joby Hilliker    Dr.Daria Nikitina  Dr.Marc Gagne

Research and Study Opportunities The primary objective of this seminar is to provide a exploration of avenues that can positively impact your future academic and professional pursuits. Specifically, we will delve into the enriching experiences offered by field camps, internships, and research opportunities, shedding light on how they can contribute to your personal and career development. By delving into these subjects in detail, we aim to equip you with valuable insights and knowledge to make informed decisions about your future educational and professional path.

Dr.Elliott Arnold

Reconstructing Drought in Peru during the Medieval Climate Anomaly: Implications for Societies Past and Present During this seminar, our central topic of discussion will center on the research conducted by Elliott Arnold. Specifically, we'll delve into the intriguing subject of "Reconstructing Drought in Peru during the Medieval Climate Anomaly: Implications for Societies Past and Present." This research holds significance not only for historical insights but also for its implications in contemporary contexts.

Dr.Daria Nikitina Heather Wholey

Coastal Research: Past,Prsent, and Future
In this seminar, our emphasis will be placed on the body of work by Dr. Nikitina and Heather Wholey, which centers on the captivating field of Coastal Research. We will take a comprehensive journey through the past, present, and future of this research domain, delving into their remarkable contributions and shedding light on the evolving landscape of coastal studies. By exploring their work, we aim to provide attendees with a holistic understanding of the coastal research field and its implications for the future.


ESS Student Research and Intership Prsentations, Deparment Photo

We will begin our session with a departmental photo, setting the stage for an exciting exploration of our accomplished students' research endeavors and their internship experiences throughout this year. We will dive into their achievements, shedding light on the valuable contributions they have made in their respective fields of study.

Sarah Gibson

 Beyond Flatland: A Star of Many Dimensions

In this upcoming session, we are delighted to have Sarah Gibson as the focus of our discussion. Sarah's research, titled "Beyond Flatland: A Star of Many Dimensions," promises to take us on an intriguing journey into the complexities of celestial bodies. Through her work, we will explore the multifaceted nature of stars, transcending the conventional understanding of these luminous entities. Prepare to delve into a exploration of the cosmos and its intricate dimensions as we delve into Sarah Gibson's research.


Elizabeth Turner 

The oldest fossil evidence of animals known to date

During our session, we will be highlighting Elizabeth Turner's research, which delves into a subject of profound significance. Her work centers on "The oldest fossil evidence of animals known to date," providing invaluable insights into the early history of life on our planet. Be prepared for a captivating discussion that delves into the origins of ancient lifeforms and the fascinating discoveries that shed light on Earth's distant past.


Lauren Casey

Local Climate Changes

In our upcoming session, we will explore the research conducted by Lauren Casey, focusing on the topic of "Regional Climate Variations." Lauren's work will provide valuable insights into the ever-changing climate patterns within distinct geographical areas, shedding light on the environmental shifts that affect local communities. Get ready for an engaging discussion on the dynamic nature of climate and its impacts on specific regions.



Claire Zurkowski

Mysteries beyond our solar system: characterizing the mineralogical building blocks of mylti Earth mass exoplanets
In our forthcoming session, we have the privilege of delving into Claire Zurkowski's research. She will take us on a journey into the enigmatic realm "Beyond Our Solar System," specifically focusing on "Characterizing the Mineralogical Building Blocks of Multi-Earth Mass Exoplanets." Claire's work promises to unravel the mysteries surrounding these distant celestial bodies, providing insights into the fundamental components that shape worlds beyond our own. Brace yourself for an engaging discussion that ventures into the unknown landscapes of exoplanets and their mineralogical composition

PCPG Panel  Discussion

Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists 
In this seminar, our central focus will be on the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists Exam and its significance. We will delve into what this examination entails, its implications, and the importance it holds within the field of geology. This discussion aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the exam's role in shaping geology professionals in Pennsylvania and its broader relevance in the realm of geological sciences.

Thanksgiving Break

None In this week's seminar, we'd like to inform you that due to the Thanksgiving break, there will be no class or session scheduled. We hope you enjoy your break and look forward to reconvening in our next session.

Melanie Vile

The Impact of Oil Sands Mining on Peatland Ecosystems in Alberta Canada

In our upcoming session, we are privileged to explore Melanie Vile's thought-provoking research. Melanie will lead us on an journey into the subject of "The Impact of Oil Sands Mining on Peatland Ecosystems in Alberta, Canada." Her work promises to unravel the intricate relationship between oil sands mining and the delicate peatland ecosystems, shedding light on the environmental consequences of this industry in a specific region. Prepare for a stimulating discussion that delves into the intricate dynamics of natural environments and human activities.


WCU Alumni Panel/ Open House

WCU Alumni Q & A

Our final session of the seminar will be structured differently from previous weeks. It will take the form of a WCU Alumni Panel/Open House event. This unique session will provide an opportunity to hear from and engage with esteemed WCU alumni, offering valuable insights and perspectives on various topics related to our seminar's themes. It promises to be an enriching and informative experience as we conclude our seminar series.


Special Courses

International Field Trips (ESS 348/548)

The Department offers field courses to study and explore geology in regions outside the United States. The field study is conducted under the supervision of West Chester faculty and graduate students, during which students learn to apply geology field methods to study geomorphology and morphotectonics. Here is a summary International trips in the past:

2009 - Peru

2011 - Costa Rica

2013  - Russia

In conjunction with Moscow State University, several students studied the most preserved geologic regions of all Europe; the Khibiny Mountains and Lovozero Tundra, the Baltic Shield.

2015 - Costa Rica

2017 - Jamaica

2018 - Iceland

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our students! For more information, please contact

Dr. Daria Nikitina


Geology of the National Parks (ESS 394/594 and 395/595)

Special Course Image 3

Every two years in late summer, the Department offers a course studying field geology in the Western U.S., alternating between the NW Parks (in Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana) and SW Parks (in Arizona and New Mexico). In this multi-week experience, students conduct geologic mapping exercises and investigating stratigraphy, tectonic history, structural geology, igneous petrology, geomorphology, hydrogeology, soils, natural hazards, and economic resources of the national parks.

For more information, please contact

Dr. Martin Helmke

Field Trips

ESS 201 October 2020

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Gordon Natural Area

The Gordon Natural Area (also referred to as 'the Gordon' and ‘the GNA’) occupies approximately 135 acres along the southeastern corner of West Chester University's campus and is administered in collaboration with the University's Office of Sustainability. Established as a protected area in 1971, the GNA has since served as a refuge for local wildlife and native plants, and as a multi-use setting for researchers, nature lovers, runners, dog walkers, and people looking to reconnect with the natural world.

The Relative Time Geologic Sandwich Radioactive Decay Popcorn Milky Way Tectonics







Check out all of Dr. Roemmele's videos on his YouTube page here!

Student Research

2014 Northeastern Section Conference of GSA

WCU Geology majors presented their research posters at the 2014 Northeastern Section Conference of the Geological Society of America. A total of seven WCU students presented research posters that week - a record for the Department, and one of the larger University groups at the meeting.

Student Research Image 1

Student Research Image 2

Field Trips

Petrology Field Trips 1

Petrology Field Trips 2

Petrology Field Trips

Sedimentology & Stratigraphy Field Trips

Sedimentology & Stratigraphy Field Trip 1

Sedimentology & Stratigraphy Field Trip 2

Structural Geology Field Trips

Structural Geology Field Trip 1

Structural Geology Field Trip 2

Summer Southwestern Parks Field Trip

Summer Southwestern Parks Field Trip

Service Learning Projects

Earth Day Fair - 2014

To benefit local land preservation and ecosystem restoration programs. 

Earth Day Fair 2014

Annual Garlic Mustard Pull

Students harvesting this non-native plant in the Gordon Natural Area.

Garlic Mustard Pull

Annual Clean-Up of Goose Creek in West Chester

Geoscience students participate in the Chester Ridley Crum Watershed Association's annual clean-up of Goose Creek.

Goose Creek Cleanup Volunteer

Goose Creek Cleanup Volunteer

Tree Planting Along the Brandywine

Students planting trees along the Brandywine Creek to benefit local land preservation and ecosystem restoration programs.

Planting Along the brandywine volunteers

Planting Along the brandywine volunteers

Drone Research

MS Geoscience graduate students Juliana Hartlove and Mariah Bowie conduct drone research using a new first-person view (FPV) camera system.  Drones are just one of the many ways WCU ESS students apply cutting-edge tools to solve geologic problems. 


Native Plant Gardening

Students gardening native plants at Hildacy Preserve, Natural Lands Trust

Land Preservation Project Volunteers

Brandywine Polar Plunge 2014

Students took the plunge for this fundraising event to keep the Brandywine and Red Clay Watersheds
clean and healthy, and to support environmental education at the Myrick Center.

Polar Bear Plung Sign: Today's temperatures 32 degrees, Air temperature 37 degrees

Brandywine Polar Bear Plunge sign

Brandywine Polar Bear Plunge participants


Alumni Spotlights

Alumni Spotlight

  • Dan Bochiocchio

    Name: Daniel Bochiocchio, Class of 2017
    WCU Degree: M.S. Geoscience
    Current Location: West Chester, PA
    Occupation: Geoscientist-In-Training, Drone Pilot

    The initiative to purchase drones allowed me to pursue a new skill that has advanced my career progress three-fold. Given the resources from West Chester University Earth and Space Sciences I was given the opportunity to learn the steps of acquiring new data collection tools, learn to apply them to my field of interest, and continue to capitalize on that value by starting my own business using the skills I had learned. If not for this experience at WCU I would not have learned a new skill set, started a successful business, and moved myself to a higher position within a new company that would have required three-times the amount of time spent in a traditional career track to reach my current level.

  • Malcom Morris

    Name: Malcolm Morris
    WCU Degree: B.S Geoscience: Geology Concentration 2016
    Current Location: Upper Darby, PA
    Occupation: Field Technician, Groundwater & Environmental Services (GES).

    The faculty at WCU helped me to attain my degree in a field I am passionate about. More than that, they have instilled in me life lessons and experiences which I will cherish years after my graduation. I must stress the importance of a college education, not only for facilitating your potential career, but for the advancement of your mind. With that said I wholeheartedly recommend any prospective students to consider an education with West Chester University.


  • Krissy Sherlock

    Name: Krissy Sherlock
    WCU Degree: B.S Geoscience: Earth Systems 2015
    Current Location: Charleston, SC
    Occupation: Graduate Student at College of Charleston, Graduate Assistant in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning

    During my time in the Earth and Space Science Department I grew not only as a professional, but as a person. Not only did I gain skills and knowledge needed to advance my career, I also made a great group of friends and had the best experience. I got the opportunity to participate in cutting edge research with Dr. Joby Hilliker, while leading on the executive board of the honors earth science fraternity. Currently, I am working on my master’s degree at the College of Charleston. I plan on obtaining a master’s in both environmental studies and public administration. I am applying the knowledge and skills that I gained from the department of earth and space sciences to my thesis work focusing on meteorological hazards management.

  • 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 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 currently 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."

  • Russel 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.


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