Assistant Professor of SBCC’s Earth & Planetary Sciences Department Jeff Meyer and his Geology Field Camp was recently awarded the 2016 Geological Society of America/ExxonMobil Field Camp Excellence Award—and $10,000. The award, funded by ExxonMobil and selected by the Geological Society of America, will be used to make improvements in both the academic and logistics portions of the field camp, including modernizing equipment in relation to field trip safety, according to Meyer. SBCC is the first community college to have received the award.
“Our summer field camp program is the only (sophomore-level) field mapping program that I am aware of in the California Community College system,” said Meyer. The program consists of two three-week modules in which the students participate in mapping projects across Central and Southern California including Santa Barbara, the mountains east of Bishop, and at the San Andreas Fault near Gorman.
“Every year we receive feedback from our former students about how this field experience helped them get a summer internship or summer job or helped them with their confidence and abilities in their upper division and graduate school studies,” Meyer said.
A total of 11 colleges and universities applied for the award, many of them with well-established field camps, said Jennifer Nocerino, Program Officer for the Geological Society. The SBCC field camp was chosen for its attention to safety in the field as well as its high number of individuals from diverse backgrounds, all of whom “will have a solid geology field background as they feed into four-year geology departments,” said Nocerino.
“The field camp course is a huge team effort,” said Meyer, who credits Geology department lab technician Eiko Kitao, in charge of academics-related logistics, for “applying and re-applying,” in addition to lab and field technician Kevin McNichol, who handled camp logistics.
“Having experienced the geology program at SBCC before transferring to UCSB, I can share my personal experience on how much I benefited from taking the SBCC Summer Field Mapping course,” says Eiko. “I had a good understanding of geologic processes, knowledge of terminology, and experience with field equipment, and that gave me an advantage in my upper division courses at UCSB. My purpose is to help others who have chosen the same path as I did in Earth Sciences, and to provide the same quality of education that was given to me. That is why I submitted an application for the GSA Field Camp Excellence award.”
“We inherited this course from Dr. Robert Gray, professor emeritus at SBCC, who taught full-time for 47 years and is still an adjunct professor in our department,” Meyer said. “He made the Geology program what it is today and we are forever grateful.”
Meyer’s name and field camp program name will appear in the August issue of Geological Society of America (GSA) Today, and a plaque will be awarded after the GSA Presidential Address and Awards Ceremony at the GSA Annual meeting on September 25 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO.
“The importance of field schools to practicing geologists is unquestionable,” added Nocerino. “Geologists frequently say, ‘The best geologists have seen the most rocks.’ Yet, due to safety issues, insurance and overall cost the opportunities for students to experience field geology is dwindling. This award is available for current geology camps to improve technical excellence, safety, and increase diversity in the field of geology.”
About Santa Barbara City College:
Founded in 1909, Santa Barbara City College currently serves approximately 25,000 students each semester who enroll in courses for transfer preparation, career education, and foundational skills and an additional 4,500 enroll in lifelong learning classes. SBCC was the 2013- 2015 national co-winner of the prestigious Aspen Institute Prize for Community College Excellence. The college was recognized for its quality and focus in four areas: facilitating underrepresented and minority student success, student learning outcomes, degree completion and transfer rates, and labor market success in securing good jobs after college.
Our Mission: As a public community college dedicated to the success of each student…Santa Barbara City College provides students a diverse learning environment that inspires curiosity and discovery, promotes global responsibility and fosters opportunity for all.