Once a political junkie, graduating KGS student worker now has a passion for geology
The first of three stories about KGS student workers who are graduating from UK
Ethan Davis of Fort Thomas, Ky., originally thought he might become a lawyer. He worked on a couple of local political campaigns while earning a political science degree at Western Kentucky University. After finishing that degree, he travelled to Wyoming and worked at Grand Teton National Park and other parks in the western United States. “That’s when I started getting into geology. I was interested in the sciences when I was younger, but never considered it as a real path because of what I considered boring math back then. It ended up being a real passion; I had a real curiosity for it.”
This weekend, he is graduating from UK with a bachelor’s degree in geology from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. He has worked at KGS for more than two years while completing his degree, and the experience, he says, has expanded his knowledge of earth sciences and offered opportunities for geologic research. He has worked with Marty Parris of the Energy and Minerals Section on a project to update a fresh-saline water interface map used to determine how deep casing should be used in drilling projects to protect groundwater. He has been in the field with Steve Greb for a Berea Sandstone oil and gas project. He worked on coal databases with Cortland Eble, and learned to use several analytical instruments under the guidance of Jason Backus in the KGS laboratory. Davis also photographed numerous meteorite specimens in the KGS collection for a webpage being developed by Warren Anderson of the Energy and Minerals Section.
Davis also credits the help of professors at the UK Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, particularly Department Chair Dave Moecher and Assistant Professor Rebecca Freeman, who serves as director of undergraduate studies. “Both of them really make an effort to be there for the graduate and undergraduate students and to guide them along in terms of education and post-education.” Among his favorite subjects during his studies were sedimentary geology, hydrogeology, and igneous and metamorphic geology.
“Field research would be my ideal job,” Davis says, as he starts searching for employment during the summer. “That’s what got me into this originally: a real curiosity about what built the world around me.” Meanwhile, his other interests, hiking and camping, particularly in the Red River Gorge or Pine Mountain, will keep him outside, too. He’s open to wherever his career takes him, but “I feel at home in Utah. I lived in southwest Utah for about a year; I love the desert.”