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Love of the environment and the outdoors leads ASU grad to a degree in geological sciences


Rachel Adam is graduating this fall with her bachelor's degree in geological sciences from the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

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December 02, 2020

Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable fall 2020 graduates.

Rachel Adam has always loved the outdoors, so when she decided to attend ASU, it was only natural that she would choose to pursue a degree in geological sciences. 

“Field geology has shown me that I can make an impact on the world and still do what I love,” said Adam, who will receive her bachelor’s degree in geological sciences, a minor in sustainability, and a field geology certificate at the fall 2020 graduation ceremonies.  

During her time at ASU, Adam learned some important lessons from her professors about opportunities and applying what she loved to do to her studies and her work. She credits Professor Ramon Arrowsmith with teaching the value of work while making it interesting and fun.  

“Rachel Adam is a very good geologist and a motivated, hardworking student,” said Arrowsmith. “She also was a great undergraduate teaching assistant for me in our Field Geology I course. The students and I appreciated her thoughtful guidance. I wish her congratulations as she passes this important milestone!”  

Adam also credits the community within the School of Earth and Space Exploration for providing valuable support to learn the material and the tools to succeed beyond graduation. “The faculty are always there to help and are genuinely interested in our success,” she said. 

Adam shared some thoughts about her time her at ASU: 

Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?

Answer: My "aha" moment was when I realized I could pair my love for the environment and outdoors with a degree that works towards understanding the Earth and solving some of the problems that arise with the anthropogenic factors acting on it.

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose ASU because they offer one of the best sustainability programs in the country and there is no better place to study geology than in Arizona. Arizona provides the perfect landscape to study, with some of the best professors in the field.

Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?

A: I would like to include two professors. The first professor that taught me the most important lesson while I was at ASU was Ramon Arrowsmith. He showed me that I could make work "fun," meaning there are opportunities out there that don’t include sitting in a cubicle from nine to five. The second professor was Edward Kavazanjian. His direction under the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics gave me the opportunity to learn how to connect to industry professionals while being a student and afforded me numerous opportunities to work on research combining Earth sciences, sustainability and engineering.

Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?

A: The best advice I’d give to those still in school is to ask questions. It may seem simple, but asking questions and fostering relationships with your peers and professors will open up a sea of opportunities and knowledge that otherwise would go undetected. Whether it be internships, teaching assistant positions, or job openings, you are here to get the best possible education, so don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and ask!

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