Minor in Earth Sciences at The College of Wooster

Earth Sciences combines principles of physics, chemistry, and biology to understand Earth history and Earth processes. Students with an interest in geology and environmental science can add an Earth Sciences minor to nearly any major course of study and still graduate in four years because of the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum at Wooster. To earn a minor, students must complete a course in Earth Systems and five other classes in the Earth Sciences discipline.

Learn about Wooster’s STEM community through the STEM Success Initiative



Shelley Judge

Shelley Judge

Department Chair and Associate Professor of Earth Sciences; Liaison to the Data Exploration & Communication Pathway

Meagan Pollock

Meagen Pollock

Professor of Earth Sciences


Patrice Reeder

Patrice Reeder

Administrative Coordinator of Earth Sciences, Philosophy, Pre-Law Program


Timothy Siegenthaler

Timothy Siegenthaler

Instrument and Lab Tech/Machinist - Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics


Nick Wiesenberg

Nick Wiesenberg

Geology Technician - Earth Sciences


Greg Wiles

Gregory Wiles

Schoolroy Chair of Natural Resources; Professor of Earth Sciences; Archaeology


Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson

Lewis M. and Marian Senter Nixon Professor of Natural Sciences


Latest News

Mazvita Chikomo

Mazvita Chikomo ’22 awarded IDEA Scholarship from Association for Women Geoscientists

Mazvita Chikomo ‘22, an environmental geoscience major at The College of Wooster, earned the Idea Scholarship Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG). […]

Shelley Judge

Shelley Judge named NCAA Division III Faculty Athletic Representative of the Year

Shelley Judge, one of The College of Wooster’s two faculty athletics representatives (FAR), was chosen as this year’s NCAA Div. III Faculty Athletics Representative […]

graphic containing details on Wooster Science Cafe at The College of Wooster

Wooster Science Cafe resumes Tuesday, Oct. 5 with “The Science of Green Technology”

The Wooster Science Café will resume its fall semester series on Tuesday, Oct. 5 with the topic called “The Science of Green Technology.” The […]


Students and faculty team up to help local community adapt to climate change

As Northeast Ohioans along with people around the world live through unprecedented levels of natural disasters due to climate change, students and faculty at […]


Six courses in Earth Sciences must be completed to earn a minor.

Completion of the course Earth Systems is required.

The remaining five courses can be Earth Sciences elective courses of the student’s choosing, with no more than two courses at the 100-level.

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Independent Study

In their junior year, Geology and Environmental Geoscience majors undertake a Junior Independent Study (I.S.) project in close collaboration with their peers and a faculty mentor. Students study the concepts and techniques of Earth Science research to prepare for their senior I.S., a capstone experience that challenges them to design and pursue a research project that makes an original intellectual contribution to the geosciences. Because Earth Sciences are best learned by doing, majors often participate in extended field/lab work or a research program during the summer between their junior and senior years. In recent years, students have undertaken field studies in diverse places in the U.S. (Alaska, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington) and across the globe (Bahamas, Belize, British Columbia, Cyprus, Mongolia, Iceland, Israel, and western Europe). Our students have worked alongside researchers in labs at The Ohio State University, UNC Chapel Hill, UMass Amherst, and the American Museum of Natural History, among other institutions.


Search the I.S. Database

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Shelley Judge, associate professor of Earth Sciences, and her advisee, Morgan Pedrozo Curry '21 share how they maintained a mentoring relationship despite challenges of the pandemic.

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Shelley Judge, associate professor of Earth Sciences, and her advisee, Morgan Pedroso Curry '21 share how they maintained a mentoring relationship despite challenges of the pandemic.

Brandon Bell

Studying Disaster Through Multiple Lenses

Brandon Bell looks at the 1906 San Francisco earthquake


Graduates from Wooster with Earth Sciences training go on to jobs specializing in natural hazards, non-renewable and renewable energy, and water resources. They work for natural resource companies, consulting firms, and government agencies with job titles ranging from project manager and lab director to engineer and data analyst. Some go on to careers in science education in schools, national parks, museums, and non-profit organizations. Others pursue careers in communication as journalists, illustrators, and editors for media outlets, such as National Geographic. Many of our graduates make their way to top-tier graduate or professional programs to build careers in research, law, and more.

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Sarah McGrath '17 conducting research off the coast of Chile in summer 2019

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Geology alumna researches landslides after natural disasters

As a geologist for the United States Geological Survey, Kelli Baxstrom ’16 put much of the expertise learned from her time at The College […]

John Talbot ’81

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The Richard G. Osgood, Jr., Memorial Lectureship in Geology

The Richard G. Osgood, Jr., Memorial Lectureship in Geology was endowed in 1981 by his three sons in memory of their father. Dr. Osgood was a paleontologist with an international reputation who taught at Wooster from 1967 until 1981. Funds from this endowment are used to bring a well-known scientist interested in paleontology and/or stratigraphy to the campus each year to lecture and meet with students.

Past Lecturers

  • 2020 James White, College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder
  • 2019 Alycia L. Stigall, Department of Geological Sciences, OHIO Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies, Ohio University
  • 2018 Maureen Raymo, Bruce C. Heezen Lamont Research Professor, Lamont-Doherty Core Repository Director, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
  • 2017 Rob Thieler, U.S. Geological Survey, Coastal and Marine Geology Program, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
  • 2016 Patrick O’Connor, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • 2015 Scott White, University of South Carolina,
  • 2014 Jessica Conroy (’03), University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • 2013 Michael E. Mann, Penn State University
  • 2012 George Davis (’64), The University of Arizona
  • 2011 Dr. Susan Lozier, Duke University
  • 2010 Dr. James W. Hagadorn, Amherst College

Lab Facilities

The Department of Earth Sciences is housed in Scovel Hall, one of Wooster’s most attractive buildings. Equipment available to earth sciences majors includes binocular and petrographic microscopes, a video system attached to a microscope, computers, photomicroscopes, zoom transfer stereoscope, fluid inclusion system, variable magnification scanning stereoscope, diamond saws and and rock grinding equipment, photography labs, thin-section machine, mapping projector, seismic station, and large sedimentological, paleontological and mineralogical collections. The earth sciences library holdings are unusually complete for a small college.


The paleontological facilities at Wooster include standard rock saws and grinders, along with Nikon microscopes, digitial imaging systems, and fossil preparation tools. We also have extensive research collections, particularly for carbonate hardgrounds, ancient bioerosion, Ordovician invertebrates, and Jurassic limestones and fossils.


Ohio is a wonderful place to pursue undergraduate research in sedimentology and stratigraphy through Wooster’s Independent Study program. The local rocks provide an excellent sample of Paleozoic paleoenvironments and rock types. Our equipment includes GPS devices, computers, digital imaging equipment, numerous Nikon petrographic and dissecting microscopes, and the standard rock preparation tools, such as saws, grinders, and thin-section machines.

Wooster Tree Ring Lab

Dendrochronology, also known as tree-ring dating, is the method of scientific dating based on the analysis of tree-ring growth patterns. The tree-rings extracted from old wood can be calendar-dated and thus we can determine the calendar date the tree was cut. The tree-ring series are also records of past drought. We are interested in sampling historical structures for their tree-ring records. Our goal is to assemble long tree-ring chronologies from oaks by sampling both living trees and old wood. The data will be used by us and others in modeling past droughts in Ohio and together with similar records across North America.

X-Ray Lab

The acquisition of an X-ray Fluorescence Spectrometer (XRF) and an X-ray Diffractometer (XRD) was funded by the National Science Foundation to support Wooster’s robust undergraduate research program. In addition to providing our students with valuable hands-on analytical experience, we hope that the instruments will foster creative collaborations and interdisciplinary research. Please explore this site to learn more about the instruments, who we are, and the research possibilities.