Jennifer Jencks

Biosketch:

First Degree (Ole Miss): BS in Geological Engineering - December 2001
Second Degree (University of Rhode Island): MS in Ocean Engineering - August 2004
First Job: 2004 - Marine Technician - Integrated Ocean Drilling Program, onboard the R/V JOIDES Resolution - Atlantic and Pacific Oceans
Current Job: Director of the International Hydrographic Organization Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - Boulder, CO

Cool stuff I get to do:

After falling in love with marine geology in my senior year at Ole Miss and finishing a master’s degree at the University of Rhode Island, I spent the rest of my 20’s hopping from boat to boat drilling and mapping the seafloor around the mid-Atlantic Ridge, India, Indonesia, Kenya and a handful of other random locations. The occasional bouts of sea sickness and the nasty malaria medication I often had to take aside, it was a blast. On every survey I realized more and more how little we know about our seafloor, and therefore our planet.

When I hit the big 3-0, I thought it was time to settle down on dry land and found myself as far away from the ocean as one could get: Colorado. Working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration gave me the best of both worlds: it allowed be to keep my hands wet with occasional surveying opportunities (eg: Arctic Ocean), but allowed me to start focusing on the actual data, and how we could best make it available to the public.

Ten years later, as the Director of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) Data Centre for Digital Bathymetry (which we host at NOAA), I am actively involved with improving data sharing practices in a variety of national and international seafloor mapping projects. Every day I find myself working with governments (our own and others), researchers, academia, and everyday mariners; sharing with them the best way to turn their data into something that benefits mankind. My focus now is Seabed 2030, a global initiative to cooperatively create a high resolution complete map of the world’s ocean floor by 2030. This is no small endeavor when you consider less than 15% of our seafloor has actually been directly mapped. It’s a challenge I’m excited to help take on over the next decade.

Value of a degree from Ole Miss:

I can honestly say my 4.5 years at Ole Miss laid a solid groundwork enabling future success in my career. It provided the foundational knowledge necessary for graduate school and through the support of caring and invested professors, opened numerous doors (internships, graduate school, connections) and provided the confidence I needed to take my next steps.

Related Links:



R/V Atlantis launching for survey of Mendocino Ridge offshore California Quebec City, Canada, seafloor mapping meeting Washing & sorting dredged rocks from the Arctic seafloor Goa, India, international hydrographic coordination meeting

Dr. Stephen Franks

Biosketch:

First Degree (Millsaps College): Bachelor of Science in Geology - 1968
Second Degree (Ole Miss): Master of Science in Geology 1970
Third Degree (Case Western Reserve University): Ph.D. in Geology - 1974 First Job: Research Geologist, Atlantic Richfield Corporation (ARCO), Dallas, TX
Current Job: President, RockFluid Systems, Inc., McKinney, TX

Cool stuff I get to do:

Being a geologist has not only provided me with a good living, it opened the world to me. I have visited all seven continents, most recently having completed a “bucket list” trip to Antarctica. I have worked in countries I would never have even visited were I not a geologist (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen, Iran). Best of all, I looked forward to going to work every day! Someone once said, “Do what you love, and you will never have to work.” For me that was geology.

I love being outside, studying rocks in the field and trying to imagine how they were deposited. I’ve studied ancient glacial deposits in Oman, deep-sea turbidites in the Aleutians, volcanic rocks in Newfoundland, modern and ancient desert deposits in Saudi Arabia.

I also love looking at rocks under the microscope- whether it be an optical petrographic microscope or a scanning electron microscope. The details of rocks can tell us their history- their origin, the pressures and temperatures they have experienced, and their potential to produce oil and gas.

Value of a degree from Ole Miss:

I attended Ole Miss in the early 1970s, a time when plate tectonics was still hotly debated. A young professor in the department, Dr. Velon Minshew, managed to get Dr. J. Tuzo Wilson, a famous advocate of plate tectonics, to visit the department at Ole Miss. Dr. Wilson was in great demand for speaking engagements at the time, so this was a big deal for us students and the department! His presentations inspired us! He even hung out with us students and had a few beers!

Dr. Minshew’s Ph.D. was from Ohio State’s Polar Research Institute. His field area was Antarctica. He brought such enthusiasm and excitement to the classroom! He further encouraged my love for petrography by using his collection of Antarctic samples in our petrography classe. The volcanic and sedimentary rocks from such an exotic location fascinated me.

Dr. Bill Reynolds was also new to the department. A clay mineralogist interested in the origin of the enigmatic Tallahatta Formation of Mississippi and Alabama, he ultimately became my thesis advisor. He and Dr. Minshew spent time with me in the field, helping me to understand field relations and asking me probing questions. There is no question that the time they spent with me was instrumental in my desire to continue my geological education and pursue a Ph.D. Everything that followed would not have been possible except for them and my time at Ole Miss.

Related Links:



Justin Janaskie

Biosketch:

First Degree (Ole Miss): Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering - May 2005
Second Degree (Ole Miss): Master of Science in Engineering Science - Geological Engineering - May 2008
First Job: 2006 - Client Representative / GIS Specialist / Marine Geoscientist - AOA Geophysics - India
Current Job: Senior Vice President - MAG Aerospace - Huntsville, AL

Cool stuff I get to do:

While my career has slowly changed from being focused solely on oil and gas exploration to now focusing on defense, aviation and aerospace, the best part has been the continued travel and ability to see and experience the world. I have traveled to nearly 50 countries, 6 continents and visited 6 of the Seven Wonders of the World, with the intent to visit my last continent, Australia, and the Great Wall of China, my last of the Seven Wonders of the World, this summer. Each place and each program/project has been unique, whether it was working on a 300' ship in the middle of the Bay of Bengal mapping the ocean floor or using commercial satellite and airborne hyperspectral data to support counter-narcoterrorism efforts in Latin America. Experiencing the development and implementation of cutting edge technology like UAS platforms and the sensors they use to provide security for US Forces or simply to provide low-cost alternatives to environmental mapping, the possibilities are endless for applicability from a background in Geology and Geological Engineering.

The ability to continue the drive to learn new things from difficult systems engineering projects is paramount to the success in many of these fields. Always learning from people who specialize in one thing will allow you to better yourself and identify the best career progression, whether it is into management or to continue to refine and become a subject matter expert in a particular area of interest. The people that I have met in the past and the people that I work with on a day-to-day basis really are one of the most enjoyable parts of my job because of our common goals and a truly team-focused approach.

Value of a degree from Ole Miss:

The experiences that I gained from being in the Geological Engineering program at Ole Miss, were paramount to my success. I gained knowledge in a broad background of topics while in the program, which eventually allowed me to focus on GIS and Remote Sensing. That catapulted me into the oil and gas exploration world and then continued on to working on data analytics for the US Government in ways never imagined.

Related Links:

http://www.magaero.com

Resume

man standing outside research station in Antarctica man sitting in aircraft cockpit
man standing in front of A-10 aircraft two men standing by two Russian helicopters

April Cameron

Biosketch:

August 2016 - Bachelor of Science in Geological Engineering
Underground Storage Tank Technical Project Manager - Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, Jackson, MS

Cool stuff I get to do:

Recently, I visited a gas station that had soil and groundwater contamination on its property. After two in depth assessments, contamination was discovered across the street from the gas station. As a result, a Dual Phase Vacuum Extraction (DPVE) system, recovery vaults, and piping needed to be installed to remediate the site. The main remedial objectives are free product removal, soil vapor extraction, and contaminated groundwater removal. Instead of digging a trench, across Main Street, to place the underground piping, the contractors chose to use a Ditch Witch to drill a 16” diameter underground bore. The picture on the left shows two pieces of piping being “welded” together after a 400°F metal plate heated both ends. Once the piping cooled, it was attached to the end of the Ditch Witch and pulled underground.

The most fun I have had in my career is designing and installing automated monitoring systems at some of the biggest Dam Safety Remediation Projects in the world. This work has enabled me to bridge my love of all things tech and gadgets with my Geological Engineering background. Being able to design systems for projects such as Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky, East Branch Dam in Pennsylvania, and most recently the Mosul Dam Project in Northern Iraq, has allowed me to work and learn alongside some of the industry’s best.

Value of a degree from Ole Miss:

My degree from Ole Miss has been invaluable for my career. With each class, my professors prepared me for the technical analysis and risk assessment of soil and groundwater contamination. My background in Geology and Engineering has provided endless possibilities for my future; and for that, I am grateful for my time at Ole Miss!

Related Links:

www.mdeq.ms.gov/
www.mdeq.ms.gov/water/groundwater-assessment-and-remediation/underground-storage-tanks/

welding two pipes using small machine Ditch Witch large machinery
recovery vault - pipes running through a box in the ground woman wearing safety equipment writing in a book at outdoor work site

Bill Walker

Biosketch:

2006 - B.S. Geological Engineering; 2008 - M.S. Geological Engineering (hydro)
US Army Corps of Engineers (2008 - present)

Cool stuff I get to do:

Since starting with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Nashville District in 2008, I have had the privilege of working on some of the nation’s most critical infrastructure. In my career with USACE I have had the opportunity to work on deep foundation dam remediations, design stream bank protection, design/build automated dam safety monitoring systems, and participate in risk assessments across the country.

The most fun I have had in my career is designing and installing automated monitoring systems at some of the biggest Dam Safety Remediation Projects in the world. This work has enabled me to bridge my love of all things tech and gadgets with my Geological Engineering background. Being able to design systems for projects such as Wolf Creek Dam in Kentucky, East Branch Dam in Pennsylvania, and most recently the Mosul Dam Project in Northern Iraq, has allowed me to work and learn alongside some of the industry’s best.

Value of a degree from Ole Miss:

The value of my degrees from Ole Miss is not just in the academic preparation to enter the workforce able to hit the ground running, but also the ability to foster meaningful professional relationships.

man looking at device five men standing together