Rumbling both above and below

By: Logan Pierce, editor-in-chief

A new and revised program is planned for geoscience majors starting in the Fall 2012 semester.

Dr. Wayne Jones, dean of engineering and science, has worked closely with the new geosciences curriculum. “This program has great potential for our students and for this region of the country,” Jones said, “Between exploring Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas resources and monitoring its atmospheric conditions, there’s potential for our students to have great careers out there.”

A bold, new program

Steve Carano, geosciences coordinator, is excited for the chance to be working on a curriculum that will transfer to four-year institutes like OU. “These courses have never been taught here before. I wanted to make sure it would be accepted by OU,” Carano said, “Students who finish their degree here at Rose, take Calculus III and IV plus take the two meteorology labs offered at OU should walk in as a junior.”

The geosciences degree has two options. Students work toward an associates degree in geosciences, with an emphasis in either atmospheric or earth sciences. This degree is science and math-based, with strict requirements. Prerequisites include Calculus and Analytic Geometry I and II and C++ Programming. The atmospheric option is a 64-hour course. The earth sciences option requires five additional hours, because of the required Chemistry II class.

Documenting data

Carano also plans to utilize G.I.S. (Geographic Information Systems) as a tool to document weather patterns and other scientific data.

This software can also be used for more than recording weather. “G.I.S. teaches you how to visually display data,” Carano said, “Emergency managers could show the location of all registered safe rooms and shelters. It’s good for city planners, law enforcement or any business that needs to display data visually.”

Jones said that the G.I.S. program’s initial implementation would be with geosciences, but that eventually its more general applications could be taught to business majors or other students.

Capstones for success

The geosciences degree includes a capstone course as a requirement. Students can choose to write a research paper or work as an intern in their chosen field. Unique options are available for both atmospheric and earth sciences capstone projects. The atmospheric science option capstone involves participating in the planned Rose State Storm Intercept Team.

While Carano acknowledged that storm chasing could be one of the “selling points” of the program, he discouraged students from taking the course just to chase storms. “Don’t get into this degree program just to chase storms,”Carano said, “That’s like buying a 747 just for the peanuts.”

Carano has written a grant that includes a fully loaded science van and other features he hopes will be incorporated into the geosciences program.

OU’s school of meteorology program is, in my opinion, the best in the world, and they want to take our students. That’s a big deal.” Carano said, “And it’s not about me. It’s about every faculty member who teaches on this campus. If RSC didn’t produce good students and good instructors, then OU wouldn’t take them.”

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