Michelle Tebbe (BS Geology, 2007; MS Geology, 2012)

Graduate Student at Central Washington University

After graduating from CWU in 2007, I began working on a Master's degree in geology. I am privileged to have Dr. Wendy Bohrson as my advisor. The focus of my Master's thesis is the post-caldera eruptions at Crater Lake, Oregon, "the deepest lake in America". After Mount Mazama cataclysmically erupted ~7700 years ago, subsequent eruptions occurred on the caldera floor prior to and concurrent with the partial filling of the caldera with water. Wizard Island, the only visible volcanic edifice (seen in the background of photo above) is only one of four volcanic eruptions that occurred after the caldera forming eruption. I have rock samples from each of these eruptions (courtesy of the USGS), and my research involves analyzing the elemental and isotopic composition across single plagioclase crystals and correlating these data with the varied micro-textures of the crystals in order to gain insight on the evolution of a large shallow silicic magma chamber after a climactic eruption.

I feel my experience at CWU prepared me well for my current endeavor of getting an MS degree. Some of the people who were instrumental in my success as an undergraduate student are Dr. Paul Hoskin, who gave me the opportunity to be involved in undergraduate research studying agates and who mentored me in the Science Honors Program; Dr. Charlie "Earthquake" Rubin, who always had an encouraging word and always made time to stop and say hello and chat with us students; and of course Nick Zentner, who is the reason I became a GEOLOGY major instead of a biology major because he convinced me that there were indeed jobs for people with degrees in geology. All of the faculty at CWU are wonderful and care about their students. I feel fortunate to have gone to a small school with a small geology department where the students are known by name. As is the case for most of us geology undergraduates, the field trip to Bishop got me hooked on geology and the field trips we took in classes were interesting and kept my interest in geology. We were so lucky to live in the middle of the State with quick access to the Columbia River Basalts, Yakima Folds, Mount Stuart batholith, Mount Rainer and Mount St. Helens, and my very favorite - the Channeled Scablands carved by the Missoula Floods. I would not have loved geology had I stayed in Illinois where mountains were hills (not volcanoes) and the only floods you ever heard about was the water rising in the Mighty Mississippi River.

I look forward to completing my Master's thesis and receiving my MS degree sometime in the late spring of 2009. I am the only person in my family to have earned a science degree, and the only one to earn MS degree. I am very proud. When I was growing up, women were nurses, teachers, secretaries, and hairdressers - not astronauts and geologists. I encourage anyone who is thinking of getting a MS degree to do so. You get to study and research in depth a really cool geology topic, work with professors who are in the top of their field, and get paid to go to school. After I graduate, I plan to get a job in the Pacific Northwest or Alaska. My DREAM job would be to work at the USGS and have a title that reads Michelle Tebbe, "USGS Volcanic Hazards Team". I just like the sound of it - USGS Volcanic Hazards Team - maybe I can just get the hat that says it. But in reality, a position in the mining industry (I do love rocks and minerals), or consulting, or working in a research lab analyzing samples would suit me best and be more attainable. But I am open to any opportunity to work in the field of geology.

Information last updated on Aug 26, 2013