Current and Past Events

Fall 2021 Earth and Space Sciences Seminar Schedule

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

Masks are required 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 and Title Bio Abstract

Dr. Stephen M. Strader

Our Changing Tornado Disaster Landscape: Past, Present, and Future

Dr. Stephen Strader is an Assistant Professor of Geography and the Environment at Villanova University. He earned his B.S. in Geography and Atmospheric Science at Indiana University and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Geography and Atmospheric Science at Northern Illinois University. He describes himself as a hazards geographer, atmospheric scientist, and geographic information systems (GIS) analyst with interests in severe and local storms, mesoscale meteorology, natural hazard vulnerability and risk, and GIS applications. His research focuses on: 1) spatiotemporal changes in hazard risk, societal and built-environment exposure, vulnerability, and disaster potential and 2) southeastern U.S. mobile home resident vulnerability to tornadoes and warning communication.  Disasters are a product of society and are caused by extreme events interacting with human, social, and physical vulnerabilities. Tornado disasters are no exception. Where are tornado disasters and deaths most common? Why? How have tornadoes themselves changed over the last century? How has climate change affected tornado disasters? How much will future changes to our climate and societal alter tornado disasters by the end of the 21st century? In this presentation, I will illustrate how and why the classic Wizard of Oz scene of the sepia tornado dancing in an empty prairie landscape has slowly been replaced with devastating images of violent tornadoes going through subdivisions. This talk will highlight how both climate change and societal/built-environment change have and will continue to shape tornado impacts and fatalities for decades to come.

Dr. Bosbyshell & Dr. Nikitina

Advising Event to Discuss Programs and Minors Offered, General Education Requirements, etc. 




ESS Faculty

Dr. Daria Nikitina, Dr. Joby Hilliker, Dr. Marc Gagne, Dr. Martin Helmke, Dr. Hal Bosbyshell

Current Research Opportunities




ESS Students

ESS Student Research




Colleen Gura

Adventures in the Critical Zone: Past, Present, and Future Investigations into the Multiple Fates of Flint Hills Lithologies, Kansas, USA 

Colleen Gura has been a part of Kansas State University as both a student and now a faculty member for the last 7 years. She joined the Department of Geology at Kansas State University as a Teaching Assistant Professor in August of 2021 while finishing her Ph.D. in Geography and Geospatial Science at Kansas State University. She has a Master’s in Geology and a B.S. in Secondary Education, Earth Science also from K-State. Between her B.S. and Master’s, she spent 10 years teaching science at Jack Britt High School in Fayetteville, NC. While there, she also developed the county Earth Science curriculum and taught workshops for other teachers. At K-State, she teaches the introductory courses Earth in Action and Natural Disasters, is the undergraduate advisor, and is the GTA instructional mentor. Her main research interests are centered around weathering processes and how they operate on both rock and soil.



Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists

Employment opportunities for geologists and steps to earn the Professional Geologist license

Vincent Carbone, CPG, PG
Professional Associate/Senior Geologist, HDR
PCPG Membership Chair

Vincent (Vinny) Carbone is the Environmental Due Diligence Technical Service Lead and a senior geologist at HDR with over 29 years of experience in the performance of environmental due diligence, site assessment and remediation. Vinny has performed environmental services including hazardous material surveys, conditions assessments, power plant asset retirement obligations, decommissioning and deconstruction. His experience crosses all market sectors (transportation, resources, water, architecture) and encompasses due diligence studies during FERC relicensing, mergers and acquisitions, site characterization assessments, remedial investigations, geophysical studies, feasibility studies, interim remedial measures, site management, operations and maintenance and monitoring.

Tiffani Doerr, PG
Lead Specialist, Evergreen Resources Management Operations
PCPG President Elect

Tiffani Doerr is a Professional Geologist currently working for Evergreen Resources Management Operations, managing legacy remediation projects as an affiliate to one of the largest and most diversified mid‐stream energy companies in the US. Projects include a former refinery that was one of the oldest and largest on the East Coast. Prior to moving to the private sector, Tiffani worked as an environmental consultant for 18 years. As a consultant she managed remediation projects ranging from small home heating oil releases to large pipeline projects. She worked closely with a local convenience store chain helping to develop their Due Diligence program and has served as an expert witness in past litigation cases.
The Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists (PCPG) will be presenting about PCPG and what our mission is: To advance the practice of geology and allied science and the success of our members through Advocacy, Education, and Networking. Our presentation will discuss career and employment opportunities for Geology or geoscience majors including a summary of industries that will employ geoscience students (Federal, Environmental, Oil and Gas, Mining, etc.). The presentation will include market and salary forecasts for geoscience graduates for specific discipline and industry and conclude with a discussion on the importance of the Professional Geologist license and the process to obtain a GeologistIn-Training (GIT) and Professional Geologist license.

Lisa Rodrigues, PhD

Uncovering Coral Trophic Physiology: Implications for Coral Reefs in a Changing World

Associate Professor, Geography and the Environment
Coral trophic physiology, understanding the balance between heterotrophy and photosynthesis under different environmental conditions.

Dr. Shaunna Morrison

Driving Curiosity (Mars) or Harnessing the Complexity of Minerals

Shaunna M. Morrison is a mineralogist and planetary scientist with expertise in crystallography, crystal chemistry, and the application of data-driven techniques. Morrison is the 4D (Deep Time Data Driven Discovery) Initiative Co-Director at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Earth and Planets Laboratory. Morrison builds on her technical and theoretical background in crystallography, crystal chemistry, and Martian mineralogy, to explore new techniques in multidimensional, multivariate analysis and visualization by employing a range of advanced analytics and machine learning techniques to better understand the complex relationships among Earth and planetary materials, their formational environments through deep time, and their coevolution with the biosphere.  



WCU Alumni Panel

Alumni Panel/Open House

Connect With Friends and Faculty, Meet Our Majors, and Tour Familiar and New Special Places

Alumni Career Panel from 4pm-5pm

Thomas Farney, Perkiomen Valley School District

Corinne Trice, Chester County Conservation District

Matthew Traver, the ELM Group, Inc.

Jennifer Madden, Groundwater and Environmental Services, Inc.

Michael Powers, University of Delaware

Daniel Bochicchio, Groundwater and Environmental Services, Inc.

Brief Speech by Dr. Hal Bosbyshell (Department Chair) 

Networking/Social Reception (light refreshments) in Merion Main Hall and Outdoor Classroom from 5pm-7pm


Dr. Marie Henderson

Using Spectroscopy to Prepare for Human and Robotic Planetary Exploration of Volcanic Environments

Dr. Marie Henderson (she/her/hers) is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.  She completed her PhD in Planetary Sciences at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Marie’s research focuses on volcanology of the Earth, Moon, and Mars as well as Apollo science instrument data archiving. Originally from Hermitage, PA, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Solar, Earth, and Planetary Sciences from the Florida Institute of Technology. After graduation, Marie worked at Malin Space Science Systems, a spacecraft camera company in San Diego, CA as a member of the Mars Curiosity Rover’s MArs Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera team and is an active science team member on the Mars Science Laboratory mission. 
A key planetary science objective is to characterize planetary surfaces and understand the modification by geologic processes, including volcanism. The Moon has evidence of past effusive and explosive volcanic eruptions, creating a range of volcanic pyroclasts. Many sites with deposits hypothesized to form from explosive eruptions have been proposed for future lunar exploration. Spectral interpretations combined with other orbital observations of volcanic deposits will inform future mission planning. The selection of physical samples on the lunar surface will further enhance our knowledge of the diversity and driver of explosive basaltic volcanism on the Moon.

Dr. Adam Rainear

Communication During Times of Weather Crises

Adam Rainear, Ph.D. (2019, University of Connecticut) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication and Media at West Chester University.  He teaches courses in media campaigns, media literacy, media and culture, and digital production.  Dr. Rainear’s research examines communication during times of weather crises, with a particular interest in mediated risk communication using social media or new technology.  He is interested in investigating how different groups, such as the general public or emergency managers, use social media during extreme weather events.  His most recent publications have appeared in journals such as Journal of Emergency Management, Communication Research Reports, and Weather, Climate, & Society. 
Social media platforms are some of the most widely used and adopted forms of media in society.  Similarly, social media are advantageous to those conducting research on communicative responses to crises and disasters, as they allow for the examination of public responses as disasters unfold. These technologies are also useful for reaching those affected by disasters in a manner not feasible with traditional methods of empirical inquiry. This presentation will examine different modes of researching the weather as a risk/crisis, using social science methods, and discuss the possible implications and collaborations brought forth for scientists, managers, practitioners, and forecasters. 

LeeAnn Srogi

Geometry Meets Petrology to Solve the Riddles of the Largest Areal Flood Basalt on Earth

Dr. LeeAnn Srogi grew up in suburban Detroit, and her earliest memories include picking out interesting stones and fossils. She received her B.S. in Geology from Yale University (1977) and Ph.D. in Geology from the University of Pennsylvania (1988). Her Ph.D. dissertation was on the igneous and metamorphic rocks of the Wilmington Complex, with advisor Dr. Mary Emma Wagner. She taught at Penn, Smith College, and Ohio Wesleyan University before joining the WCU faculty in 1991 where she taught Mineralogy, Petrology, Intro Geology, Volcanoes, and the Carbon Cycle. She loved teaching and WCU students and retired in 2019 to focus on research, writing, and volunteer work. Her primary research topic is the global-scale magmatism associated with the breakup of Pangaea, investigated in the Mesozoic rift basins of PA-NJ. Previous research includes metamorphic and tectonic history of the central Appalachians, and how values, emotions, and attitudes shape student learning. She has published articles in the Geological Society of America Bulletin, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, American Journal of Science, the Journal of Geoscience Education, as well as field guides and papers in special volumes on Appalachian magmatism and tectonics. She loves nature hikes and gardening with native plants to provide habitat for birds and insects. She is a Force of Nature volunteer with Natural Lands, a regional non-profit land conservation organization (“Land for Life, Nature for All”). She also loves music (especially classical and jazz), reading, cooking, and old movies. 
What makes volcanoes erupt? How do volcanoes work? Investigating these questions helps geologists prepare people for dangerous volcanic eruptions. We focus on the largest eruption of mafic magma (basalt) on Earth, which happened about 201.5 million years ago right in our own backyard! The supercontinent Pangaea was rifting apart, but before the Atlantic Ocean fully opened, enormous volumes of lava poured out and covered what is today the eastern margin of North America, the western margin of Scandinavia and Europe, northwest and southern Africa, northern Antarctica, and northeastern South America. Fortunately, studying just one small portion from Reading, PA to the Hudson River, can give us insight into how magma came from the upper mantle (50-100 km depth) and formed a connected network of igneous intrusions across the continental crust to feed the lava flows at the surface. This seminar presents the latest work of myself and Dr. Martha Oliver Withjack, Professor Emerita at Rutgers University, reconstructing the shapes of the magma chambers in the continental rift basin and evidence for magma flow and deeper magma conduits in the “plumbing system.” 

Christie Rowe

The Rock Record of Earthquakes




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

  • trip
  • trip
  • trip
  • trip
  • trip

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.


Back to top of page.