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GEO senior hones skills in Honduras during summer

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Over the summer, senior geology major Issac Jacques traveled to Honduras for research. He worked primarily in the city of Chimizal, collecting and mapping geological data. The work focused on mapping the piping system of the city, monitoring water quality and working to create a sanitation survey with a community development organization. Jacques worked under professor Renee Sparks and in Honduras with adjunct faculty Cheryl Verbee and alumni Tom Timmermans and Stuart Dykstra for the first week of the project but after that, he was on his own.

According to Jacques, a typical day for him comprised of “hiking up a mountain to see a rock outcrop or a spring the village was using” and taking data on these sources. He would sometimes hitchhike to nearby villages to compare the water supplies and rock outcroppings in order to further understand the geology of the region.

Once, he traveled with local plumbers to observe the village’s pipe system.

Jacques says among the other researchers, he was treated “more as an equal colleague,” saying, “It was not like they, the experts, made all the calls and I, the lowly intern, could not voice my ideas. I would provide a theory as to what we were seeing and they would look at it in depth with me and together we would come to a better conclusion.”

He also added that he gained professional skills and experience that he had not learned in a classroom environment. Additionally, the research gave him an idea of how a geologist would work on a new project.

Jacques says that he feels his Honduras research experience has changed him a lot and confirmed his vocational choice, saying “Being out there doing what I loved, what I was born to do,” said Jacques, adding,  “[it] really awakened an ambition in me to do more of this kind of work.”

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