Alumni Quotes

Jason Blake

I would like to bring to your attention the honors received by one of my classmates from 1980. Paul Kovach received the RMAG Explorer of the Year Award this past fall for his work in the discovery of the Stagecoach Draw gas field and various other plays in the Green River Basin of Wyoming. Quite an honor for an NAU alumni!! He started out with and is still working for Texaco in Denver. To be with the same company (especially a major) for 19 years is an accomplishment that speaks for itself, so kudos to Paul.

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I've also been in the petroleum industry since graduation, but I have worked exclusively for small independent companies. Since 2/97, I've been a consultant and I am the owner of a small (read tiny!) oil and gas exploration company. I do consulting work for clients in the Rocky Mountains, including well site geology, and I am currently working on some exploration projects in the Paradox Basin south of Moab.

Robert B. Hardy

I graduated from NAU Geology way back in 1971. While a student at the university I worked during the summers for a Canadian exploration company (Norandex, Inc) throughout the Pacific Northwest. I can thank Dr. Charles Barnes for that opportunity! The work included geological mapping, staking, geochemical studies and geophysicsŠand a lot of backpacking in the high country. I continued with Norandex following graduation and spent additional time in the northwest as well as doing some lengthy geophysics projects for them in Wisconsin, the upper peninsula of Michigan and British Columbia.

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Following that stint, I became focused in water resources and have been involved in water and hydrogeology ever since. This work includes both water resource planning and investigations in the Prescott area and for about ten years I assisted in the management of both surface and groundwater resources (and their interaction) in southwest Florida. I returned to Arizona in 1997 (I am Arizona born and raised) to work for the City of Cottonwood. I am a past chairman of the Verde Watershed Association and a member of the Yavapai County TAC as well as other water resource organizations. As the Assistant City Manager I am involved with a number of City issues including project manager for the acquisition of private water companies and development of a water resource portfolio.

I like NAU's emphasis in the hydrogeology and environmental geology arenas and support the department's efforts to continue the programs in these times of restricted funds. From what I have seen during the past few years, the department is fortunate to have such a competent and energetic staff.

Richard Harwood

After completing graduate work at NAU, I joined the U.S. Peace Corps and was assigned to serve for two years (1989-1991) in the Central American country of Honduras. I was assigned to work with the Geology Mapping Program in Honduras. This program is conducted under the combined direction of the Direccion General de Minas e Hidrocarburos (General Offices of Mines and Hydrocarbons) and the Instituto Geografico Nacional (National Geographic Institute). The overall project goal is to geologically map the country of Honduras. Mapping is conducted at a 1:50,000 scale. The host country agencies provided logistical and technical support while I conducted field mapping. I also provided geologic advice and training for agency personnel. The areas surrounding the towns of Ojojona and Yuscaran were geologically mapped during my service in the Peace Corps. Both of these quadrangles have now been published. For more information on tehse maps and Honduran geology visit:

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Upon my return to the U.S., I married Kristine Strenge. Kristine had also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras. In 1992, I attended Rutegers University in New Jersey and completed two additional years of graduate course work under the direction of Mike Carr. During my time at Rutgers I also managed three research trips to Honduras and Nicaragua to collect volcanic samples for chemical analysis, and a conference focusing on Santa Maria Volcano in Guatemala.

In 1994, I was hired by Black Hawk College in Moline, Illinois to teach Physical Geology, Historical Geology, two courses of Physical Geography, Regional Geography and Descriptive Astronomy. I am currently an actively involved in developing WWW resources for my courses and Internet-based courses at Black Hawk College. All of my material can be found at: .

Kim Dunn (now Kim Hunter)

I graduated with a degree in Earth Science in 1987.  Unlike most NAU Geology dept grads, I ended up in the science center field.  While at NAU, I took a part time job at the Geology Dept of the Museum of Northern Arizona, and I got the museum bug.  So after graduation, I returned to Orlando, Fla and took a position in the programs department, where I used by earth science degree to develop educational programs and exhibits, including a few dinosaur shows.  After many years, I accepted the position of Director of Programs at the Science Center of Iowa.  Our newest traveling exhibit, opening next month, is another dino show!

Mike Lindholm

Well, I've been living in Reno for the past 9 or 10 years, and have made a nice living in the gold mining business. Unfortunately, the industry is in a major down-cycle, so consistent work has been more and more difficult to obtain lately, although I've been doing better than a large number of my friends who have been out of work for a year or more. I will actually start a new job in a few weeks as an inspector on the construction of a sewer collection system near Reno; apparently the engineering firm considers my experience in the mining industry to be good enough to do the job...we'll see! Hopefully, this will tide me over until the mining industry gets healthy again (if it ever does). I have had the great pleasure of working in many exotic locations (Argentina, Mexico, Yellowknife and, uh, Nevada). I think working in more places and seeing more rocks makes you a better geologist.

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You also asked for comments regarding the direction of the department from those of us in the 'real world'. What a wonderful opportunity to get up on my soap box. During and since I left school, I have become a very strong proponent of modern mining, and a strong opponent of radical environmentalism. My experience in the industry has shown me that we can and are doing a good job of extracting minerals while protecting the environment. We work very hard at this, and we put a lot of effort into solving problems as they are discovered (i.e. new problems such as acid mine drainage, pit lake chemistry, etc.). Historically, however, the industry has not done a good job of communicating with the public; we are now trying to change that, but it's a long uphill climb. I find it incredibly frustrating that this message does not get out to the public. It is politically correct to bash mining, and the press seems willing to give the radical environmentalists a medium to spread their views without seeking input from the people who really know what is going on...the miners!! I have even found that geologists coming out of college these days view the mining industry as evil.

So here is my suggestion. I think students should be given some kind of an idea that the realities of mining, and all other environmental issues for that matter (i.e. global warming!!) , are not as dire and negative as chief climatologist Al Gore would like to let us think. We have issues that must be dealt with, but good science and a common sense approach to problem-solving should be taken; shutting an industry down for no good [political] reason only hurts people without any benefit for the environment. I think universities should be instilling a positive attitude towards natural resouce industries and the very sensitive issues they must deal with, not teaching students that they must fear for the environment.

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Rowena Paton Manuel

From Rowena Paton Manuel, in Shell, Wyoming:

I am a 1957 graduate of your college. There was just one girls dorm and one boys dorm when I was there - that really dates me!

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After graduation, I was an elementary teacher in California schools until retirement about 16 years ago. Some of my most interesting school experiences were when another Arizona State College at Flagstaff graduate, Dollie Yazzie, nee Lee, and I organized a bi-cultural exchange program between our respective schools. We organized and conducted these exchange programs for thirteen years. It was quite an experience. Dollie is currently teaching Navajo Culture and Language in the Gallup - McKinley County Schools in New Mexico.

After retirement, I returned to my old stomping grounds in Shell, Wyoming In 1997, my husband an I, along with our nephew, Dr. Erik Kvale, Indiana Geological Survey, discovered the largest dinosaur tracksite in Wyoming. We now conduct guided tours and educational field workshops for college credit in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming -- the real Jurassic Park. You can see what one of your retirees is now doing by checking our website:

Andreas Mayr

After some time I feel the need for an update. I graduated at NAU in 1994. My advisor was Dr.Holm. Because of the general downswing of earth sciences in Europe I decided to apply for a PhD program in the University of Munich to stay off the streets. After I was accepted I did what I had to do and graduated in 1999. However, the situation in Germany had not improved and I was left there, jobless.

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I spent my time with job applications, translation jobs and short term contracts in the environmental industry. Having two kids this was a hard time. Then, in 2001 luck came back. I was hired by W.L. GORE & Associates Germany. Yes, it is the same company that has a big plant close to Dry Lake in Flagstaff. Its a good company. They needed a Geologist for their GORETM Surveys business out of Munich, Germany. This technology is a surface based geochemical exploration tool we offer to oil companies worldwide. I soon took over the CIS countries as my territory and seem to be somewhat successful. My position includes the whole range from market education, technical presentation, planning of field work in remote regions and presenting the results to the customer. There is a lot of travel involved, mostly to places no tourist will ever go. Corporate headquarters are located in Elkton, Maryland. This is why I travel to the US frequently. I was in Flagstaff during the last homecoming but could not manage to meet anybody of the Geology department, except Susan. It was really a pleasure to talk to her. Maybe there are more people to meet next time. Please see my contacts below.

Cheers Andreas

GORE TM Surveys for Exploration Dr. Andreas Mayr W.L. Gore & Associates, GmbH, Wernher-Von-Braun-Str. 18, 85640 Putzbrunn, Germany Tel: +49-89-46122198 / Fax: +49-89-46122790 / mobile: +49 1728148701 / email: find out more at:

Elisa Robyn

Hi Everyone
I earned my BA in '76 and went to the University California Santa Barbara for my MS. After that I worked for Phillips Petroleum in Colorado for six years as an exploration geologist. After the oil crash I went to the University of Colorado at Boulder and earned a PhD in Educational Psychology and moved into Higher Education teaching/administration. I am currently the Dean of Arts and Sciences at the community College of Denver, so I still have my hand in my favorite science!

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Elisa Robyn, PhD
Dean, Arts and Sciences
Community College of Denver
Campus Box 850, POB 173363
303-556-3850 office
303-556-3851 fax

Jamie Stogsdill

Hello Fellow Alumni,

Jamie Fink, AKA, Jamie Stogsdill here. Graduated in 1997. I would like to take a moment to let everyone know where I have ended up. I finished school and moved to Huntington Beach, California. I was hired relatively quickly in Laguna Beach by a geotechnical consulting company. I have been working there ever since.

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I did have a brief (7 months) interlude with the field of environmental geology, cleaning up gasoline stations and performing Phase 1 and Phase 2 studies, but quickly realized where my passion was....geotechnical. Working in southern California has been a great experience. The geotechnical field is strong all over southern California...especially the inland and San Diego counties. I recently took my California State liCEFNS ing exam for Registered Geologist, and am currently awaiting my test results....

Thank you,

Jamie Fink

Posted: April 21, 2003

Jeffrey S. Swartz

I got m B.S. in geology in 1975. Since then I got a Master's from Mississippi State University. I have worked as a engineering geologist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. I have also taught at Kilgore College in East Texas.

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For the last 15 years I have worked for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection at the state headquarters in Tallahassee. I have worked on management of domestic wastewater, using land application. I have heavily participated in the development of the reuse rules and policies of Florida, which are considered the most progressive in the US. I also work with groundwater contamination from pesticides, and well head protection/source water protection programs. I do a lot with rule making and setting policy; which is more of a techno-political process than technical. That is it uses technical “truth” (or as close as we can get to it!) in the context of a bureaucratic and political reality. It is an interesting job.

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