Student Impact

Student-focused experiential learning opportunities that integrate scientific inquiry in the classroom, extra-curricular research, and state-of-the-science methodologies for addressing both theoretical and applied scientific questions related to cultural heritage preservation, human-environment interactions, soils, erosional processes (e.g. rivers, glaciers, and wind), climate change, environmental change, natural hazards (e.g. landslides), and more.

Devon More posing in a suit smiling"Working alongside professors and colleagues in the EARTH Systems Lab was an instrumental part of my growth at Minnesota State University, Mankato. I went from being a student who was primarily passively learning concepts about our earth's processes to an active participant in my education. After graduating with my M.S., the confidence and skills I obtained during my time with the lab prepared me to jump into the professional career seamlessly."

Devon Libby, M.S. Geography and former EARTH Systems Laboratory (formerly "AGES") Member

Zach Hilgendorf posing with a smile"My time working with the faculty, staff, and students in the EARTH Systems Lab provided the skills and experience necessary to be a confident, self-sufficient, team-oriented scientist. It also provided me the opportunity to pursue my PhD at a prestigious university, while growing my professional network across the country. Presently, as an affiliate researcher with the lab, we are using cutting-edge methods to solve applied, real-world problems in our local and regional communities. My students are actively working with those students, faculty, and staff in the EARTH Systems Lab as collaborators. I'm thrilled to see the lab thriving and am excited to watch it continue to grow."

Zach Hilgendorf, M.S. Geography and former EARTH Systems Laboratory (formerly "AGES") Member. Zach is now a professor at UW-Eau Claire in the Department of Geography and Anthropology

Alect Anton standing in a field posing with a smile"Fieldwork and research assistantships with the EARTH Systems Laboratory provided me with the multi-disciplinary knowledge and experience necessary to comprehend how scientists study landscapes and people’s relationships and adaptations to constantly changing environments through time. The concepts I was exposed to and the skills I acquired while working with the EARTH Lab allowed me to meaningfully contribute to projects in my chosen field immediately following graduation. Having the opportunity to collaborate with the EARTH Lab’s directors and staff on ongoing externally funded research projects, including creation of an archeological site predictive model and a site treatment plan, gave me the chance to learn how to integrate geographic information systems, spatial statistics, and geophysical data interpretation into archeological research. Working with regional geomorphologists and fellow archeologists on research associated with landform formation along the Cannon and Mississippi Rivers illustrated to me the dynamic nature of landforms that continues to inform my understanding of approximate dates of soil deposition, important in my work as an archeologist."

Alec Anton, M.S. in Anthropology. Alec is now the Statewide GIS Coordinator at the South Dakota State Archaeologist's Office

Kenzie Shandonay and another student in a field posing by research equipmentAs a student in the EARTH Systems Lab, I learned a suite of methods and techniques that I incorporated into my research projects. This experience resulted in three conference presentations, one conference poster, and one published manuscript, with a second manuscript on the way. Working in the EARTH Systems lab was integral to my growth as a researcher, and I am thankful for my time there.

Kenzie Shandonay, M.S. in Geography, 2020

Alyssa Sims (Edwards) standing in a field and looking through survey equipment on a standWorking in the EARTH Systems Lab was a highlight of my time at MNSU. Not only did I gain useful hands-on lab skills that prepared me for the workforce and graduate school, but my confidence as a researcher and student improved greatly. The EARTH Lab is ideal for networking and can provide endless opportunities for fieldwork, conference presentations, and scholarships - all of which I was lucky to be a part of.

Alyssa Sims (Edwards), M.S. Geography, 2022