SUU Grad is One of Six to Receive Fellowship to Ohio State

Published: May 28, 2019 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 2 minutes

Zachary SmithNew Harmony, Utah native Zachary Smith recently accepted a prestigious fellowship offer from Ohio State University’s graduate program. This fellowship was only awarded to six students from the Earth Sciences program and includes a full year of funding, benefits, and the opportunity to be a research or teaching assistant. Smith graduated from Southern Utah University this spring with a degree in geology and a certificate in geographic information science (GIS).

The OSU Earth Science graduate program has a 15% acceptance rate, and of those 15% they recommend 10% of accepted graduate students for the university fellowship. Of that 10% this year, they only selected six students from the Earth Sciences program.

At OSU, Smith will be studying geomechanics and geophysics with an emphasis in landslide mechanics and dynamics. Smith will be working closely with Dr. William Ashley Griffith, associate professor in the School of Earth Sciences.

Growing up, Smith always believed he would be a lawyer. It wasn’t until he took his first online courses at SUU that he discovered his passion for geology. While living with his family in Swaziland for a year, Smith happened to take Geology of National Parks. He was able to connect with the head geologist of Swaziland’s Geologic Survey and Mines Department, and got to explore some of Swaziland’s greatest geologic areas.

“After I came back from Africa and began studying full-time at SUU, I gained a personal relationship with many of the faculty and they have helped me with multiple research projects,” Smith said.

Smith has conducted three research projects in conjunction with SUU, and was able to present each project at different national conferences including the Geological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union. Since 2016, Smith has also been an IIC hydrologic technician intern for the Dixie National Forest conducting research in geology and hydrology. Several professors at SUU helped make these projects possible.

Zachary Smith holding rock“Zach has the ability to see what will enhance his education and professional experience, then sets out to add these further knowledge, skills, and resources. Not many students in my 20 plus years at SUU are as dedicated to their education as Zach,” said SUU GIS Program Director David Maxwell.

Smith has also been involved with the Geology Club at SUU, and was president from 2017-2018. He is also a member of the geoscience honor society, Sigma Gamma Epsilon.

“I have watched Zach be successful implementing new technology and applying new knowledge to his chosen profession of geology,” Maxwell continued. “Zach is a humble, dedicated, hardworking student and I can say without hesitation that Zach will be successful in whatever endeavor he takes on.”

The Geology program at SUU is well-known for its location in one of the most geologically spectacular settings in the country. The program stresses field-based experiences and undergraduate research opportunities while students earn their geology degree in this stunning setting. Learn more about SUU Geology by visiting their website.

Tags: Geology Geosciences Alumni

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