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Jump-Starting My Geology Career 

By Alex Brettmann, Field Camp alum 2019, Field Camp TA 2021

I attended a Whitman College for undergrad; a small, liberal arts school nestled in Southeastern Washington that is much too small to have its own geoscience field camp. My junior year, I began asking professors in the department where they recommend field camp. Indiana, Montana, Arizona, and large programs came up, but the one that stood out was Idaho State University. Every professor mentioned the rigor of the program, highlighting the extensive field mapping, smaller size of the program, and the field station's proximity to Central Idaho's complex and grand geology as major pros about the program.

Sure enough, I enrolled after my junior year in the geoscience field camp at ISU, and I can say I learned more in my 5.5 weeks there than I had in 3 years of geology up until that point. The program was the perfect synthesis of structural geology, geomorphology, mineralogy and petrology, and sedimentology up until that point. By the end of my summer, I can say my confidence in completing mapping projects, cross-sections, and unit descriptions of outcrop had gone from a 5/10 to at least a 9/10. Days are long, busy, and much ground is covered, but when you delve as deep into geology as you do at ISU's field camp, you have to actively try and sabotage your education to avoid learning swaths of new knowledge and practices.

I enjoyed my time so much as a student at ISU's field camp in summer of 2019, I decided to go back when I was offered the opportunity to return in the summer of '21 as a TA for the course. This time, applying everything I had learned from my four years of undergrad studies, and my previous summer at the Lost River Field Station to now educate students on rock identification, mapping bed thickness, and identifying faults and folds in the units of Central Idaho. Ryan Anderson is a fantastic mentor and leader at LRFS, and every professor who spends a week or more teaching during the summer program gives their all to ensure all students come in studying geology, but leave as geologists. My work and time at ISU and the Lost River Field Station is the reason I managed to land a job working in the geothermal industry for the past few years. I know ISU's field camp has not only jump-started my geology career, but the program has been the catalyst for many jobs and graduate studies of my peers in the world of geoscience.

Idaho State University's field camp has been the single greatest decision of my education and my career thus far, and I hope if you are considering the program, you take the leap and go for it! Trust yourself, and trust that the field camp director and educators will give you their all, if you show up to give your best every day. Thank you LRFS.