Nov. 30, 2009
Jeremy Craig, 404-413-1357
Robert Jarrett has a wealth of experience working with the ground around him, from ensuring a supply of clean water to keeping pollution in check.
That experience includes time advising the World Health Organization about water supply, treatment and geological analysis regarding the location and flow of water, as well as service in environmental management at Fort McPherson in East Point, Ga., and U.S. Army headquarters in Germany.
This past summer, a Georgia State University geology field camp helped the 72-year-old life-long learner gain new experiences and get acquainted with the landforms, faults and rocks of the wide-open West.
Jarrett was part of a group of undergraduate and graduate students in the field camp course, which took the students to Montana to bring what they learned in the classroom to life.
"Formal descriptions and preparation instructions, even when backed with meetings, failed to bring out the true richness of what was to come," Jarrett said.
Jarrett said the course was an intense, hands-on experience to learn about both the striking and subtle features of the earth that are best studied in person. And the students got a lot of physical activity during their hikes.
"At the end of the day, you were just famished for water. You could never pack enough," Jarrett said.
But he said the hikes were worth it. They studied the rolling badlands, columns of basalt that resembled fingers, and the legacies of ancient glaciers that helped to shape the Montana landscape over millions of years.
Jarrett is part of the GSU-62 program, which allows those who are 62 and older to return to college at a significantly reduced cost. More than 80 people participated in the program during the fall 2009 semester, and 45 more are scheduled to register for spring 2010.
Geology was central to Jarrett's work with government and non-governmental organizations.
"When I had the opportunity with GSU-62, I could really learn the real stuff," Jarrett said.
As a master's student, Jarrett is not in a rush to finish. He's planning on writing a thesis, but hasn't picked a topic yet. But he's relishing every lesson GSU's Geosciences Department provides.
"For me, there's another angle to it," he said. "It's a kind of mental discipline to keep my brain cooking. I could sit at home and read, and go online, but it just wouldn't be the same as being under some pressure to do homework and take tests."
More about the Montana field course is available online at www2.gsu.edu/~geohab/pages/geol4009/geol4120-4121.htm.
For more about the GSU-62 program, visit www.gsu.edu/gsu-62_program.html.
Jarrett wrote an article about his Montana experience, available for reading at the Department of Geosciences Web site, located at www.cas.gsu.edu/geosciences.