Jennifer Johnson Barson (BS Geology, 2001)

Geology Instructor in Spokane, Washington

It is about 1:00am...I have just finished my second cup of coffee, while listening to music and working on homework. If you remember me from my CWU days, I haven't changed much except that I am now grading homework from my Geology 101 class. Now that I am an instructor, I would like to apologize to my CWU geology instructors (you know who you are and you most likely know why). Let's go back a few years...

Upon graduating with my B.S. in Geology from CWU, I worked with Graeme Aggett in the Center for Spatial Information. The following fall, I accepted a position as a graduate teaching assistant within the University of Nevada's Hydrologic Sciences Program. I studied hydrothermal core deposits (about 2000 feet) to build a fluid-event history for a region outside Reno, and eventually received an M.S. in Hydrogeology. I am happy to say that I graduated with a 4.0 gpa (yes, I am still anal about grades and proud of it)! I worked in consulting for a few months and found the long, tedious hours didn't fit with my new family addition (see family stuff below). John and I decided to move back to Ellensburg; although the closest we got was Spokane, WA.

I am now a tenure-track instructor of my very own Geology department at Spokane Falls Community College. I currently teach Geology 101, Geology 115, and FSCI 101/102 (an inquiry-based, interdisciplinary, 3-quarter science class for K-8 future educators). I love teaching geology! I've taken students on field trips in big, white vans and even invited my first guest speaker to the college this quarter. I hope to teach Historical Geology and Geology of the Pacific Northwest someday. I occasionally wonder if I would enjoy actually working in the industry...we'll see.

So, on the homefront, while transplanted in Reno I married John Barson (fellow CWU geology grad) in Lake Tahoe where most of our CWU grad-friends joined us for the festivities. 'We' had our daughter just as I was finishing up lab work for my thesis in June 2004. Sophia is a force to be reckoned with as she is a blend of intelligence, attitude, willfulness, and independence. What were we thinking? Everett joined the family two days before Christmas 2006. He is moving swiftly into toddlerhood and his good-natured personality is shining through. I could literally go on and on about how they are the center of our universe. They are Wildcat Babies!

My days within the fold of the CWU geology department are filled with memories of all sorts. I sincerely believe that the field experiences required of us really put me on a different plane than many of my fellow M.S. graduate students. Not only did I learn real application, I also retained the information more thoroughly. I enjoyed my presidency (CWU Geology Club) and often wear the sweatshirt to my Geology 101 rocks lab at SFCC. Remember..."Don't take life for granite, schist happens, so always be gneiss!"

I also felt the CWU Geology student-instructor interactions were incredibly supportive and encouraging. I am pleased to report that many of the relationships that were formed during late-night study sessions are still strong. I regularly keep in touch with Kim Whipple, Miryha Gould, Bridget (Dieffenbach) August, and Ross Hendrick.

The photo enclosed: August 2007 at the Nisqually Glacier on Mt. Rainier. The kids have been hiking since before they could walk. Sophia will get her first pair of hiking boots this spring! By the way, she LOVES dirt, oops, I mean soil. She'll be licking rocks and minerals in no time.

Information last updated on Mar 6, 2008