The UNM Geology Club is chock-full of field adventures, information and opportunities for students interested in any kind of earth science.
Kaylen Jones, the acting president of the club, has been a part of the UNM Geology Club since she was an undergraduate student.
“We do more than just look at rocks,” Jones said. “We plan a lot of great trips to go hiking, we’re really outdoorsy and we like to include aspects of science and STEM. It’s a way to get involved without necessarily having to take a class and feel pressured to get a good grade.”
Jones said that there are no fees to join the club and that she tries to make the trips free, too.
“I always try to get everything for free for everyone so that they just have to pay for what they want,” Jones said. “Our members always try to find a way to accommodate everyone so we always carpool and we’re always making up ideas and plans about what to do for the club next.”
Jones said that the club is open to all people and majors. She was an art major when she first joined, and said that the community is very welcoming and willing to teach new people.
“We have someone becoming a volcanologist who collects sediment, so she comes just to collect sand,” Jones said. “We have another one who comes to just take photos of where we go.”
The club takes trips all over New Mexico and the U.S., according to Jones. Some of those trips are focused on rock collecting, but not all of them.
“New Mexico is a really great geologic place, especially for students,” she said. “UNM, with the research facility, has a whole bunch of places that they go to. We have Harding Mine and the Caldera. If you go to the west, there’s lava fields, and if you go to the east, there’s all that granite and the unconformity there, so it’s a really interesting place.”
The club is currently trying to plan a trip in the fall to Glacier National Park. Jones said they are also focusing on recruiting new members.
“We had the Geology Club name stuck to us, so a lot of people only think that we are a geology-club based,” Jones said. “A lot of students are scared of STEM-related clubs because they think it’s a lot of work and a lot of learning a process, so I think that’s probably why people might not want to join.”
Jones said that the only requirement to join the club is simply attending meetings, but if students aren’t able make it to the meetings, they can be a member through email, provided they reply to messages.
As for upcoming events, the club has a “Bad Geologic Movie Night” where they watch movies with bad science and critique them. The next one will be on March 21 from 8-11 p.m., according to the UNM Geology Club Facebook page.
“It’s definitely a chance to unwind, get some free food and come meet our club’s members and hear us rant about a bad movie,” Jones said.
On the business side of things, Jones said that joining the club is a good way to find internship and fellowship opportunities, foster closer student-faculty relationships and to network.
Jones said being a part of the UNM Geology Club has given her great learning opportunities in terms of where to look for materials.
“You learn where to find fossils, I think that’s a really cool thing.” Jones said, “I found a few shark teeth just because I learned the places where to find them, and some mineral deposits, too. I’m not talking about gold or anything — those are all protected — but finding some really cool gypsum rocks and meteorites.”
The UNM Geology Club has member meetings once a month, the next one tentatively scheduled for April 4. To find up-to-date information, visit the UNM Geology Club Facebook page.
Ariel Lutnesky is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ariellutnesky.