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Geology Students Intern for DOE, Berkeley Labs

CANTON — From the U.S. Department of Energy to Berkeley Laboratories in California, St. Lawrence University geology majors are interning this summer at various sites across the country.

Eric Lustgarten ’14, of Burlington, Vt., is pursuing an internship with the Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. Eric, who received a Baker Geology Fellowship, is helping assess the geothermal energy potential of New York and Vermont at the DOE’s Geothermal Technologies Office.

“A lot geothermal mapping has been done out West, but not a lot has been done in the Northeast, especially in Vermont,” he said. “I’m looking at the feasibility of geothermal energy production in Vermont and updating the Department of Energy’s website.”

Eric, a rising senior, is creating geothermal fact-sheets for several western states, and he is providing Cornell University’s Geological Sciences graduate program with data as well.

“It’s pretty neat,” Eric said, “that I’m just an undergrad helping Cornell graduate students.”

Eric said he only became interested in geothermal energy after taking a course at St. Lawrence University.

“I came to St. Lawrence because of the cross-country ski team and good financial package,” he said. “But after taking a geology course, I became more interested in geothermal energy. After graduation, I’d like to go out West and work for awhile on renewable energy and carbon sequestering before going to grad school.”

Roselyne Laboso ’14 is pursuing an internship with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories in California in their Earth Science Division.

Roselyne’s internship is actually divided into three parts. First, at Berkeley, she is working to develop training modules for geothermal professionals in her native country of Kenya. Coincidentally, the training takes place in her hometown of Nakuru.

“It’s really great,” she said, “that the same geothermal projects I’m working on (at Berkeley) will become used as standard geothermal practices back in Kenya.”

Roselyne, who also received a Baker Geology Fellowship, is also working on seismic activity and the geological setting of potential geothermal fields in California and Kenya.

“I’m looking specifically at geysers and how geothermal energy is produced,” she said. “I’m also looking at the potential hazards of how this thermal energy production could affect communities within 50 kilometers.”

Finally, Roselyne is collaborating with a private geothermal development company, creating proposals for thermal energy production. The proposals would use the same technology to explore for geothermal fields in Kenya, which is where she she would like to return.

Jeffrey Chiarenzelli, professor and chair of the Department of Geology, praised the geology students — both of whom he is supervising — for securing their internships mainly on their own.

“These students are doing some remarkable things over the summer,” he said. “We have several student fellow researching here on campus with faculty mentors and several interning at various locations.

Other summer geology interns include:

  • Sam Hecklau ’14 is investigating the geology of exposures in the Adirondack High Peaks Region created by landslides associated with Hurricane Irene and previous severe weather events. 
  • Thomas Lockwood ’14 is serving as a field assistant to a University of Ottawa professor, and he is researching the marine turbidity of rocks recently exposed on a de-glaciated mountain in British Columbia.

For more information, visit the Department of Geology website.