Rebecca Springer (BS Geology, 2011)

Well Site Geologist in Billings, Montana

Well Site Geologist & Geo Steering Consultant Sunburst Consulting, Inc. - Billings, MT (Williston Basin, ND)

The motto of my last three years? Geology - get paid to see the world! What a whirlwind! I have covered approximately 50% of the US and Canada since graduation from CWU in 2011.

Three days after returning from Summer Field Camp, I went to work as an exploration geologist for Midas Gold, an early to mid-phase gold/antimony exploration project in Stibnite, ID. Joining this project while there were only 8 geologists afforded me countless opportunities to learn different aspects of the exploration and mining industry, and in the course of a year and a half I held positions such as Exploration Geologist, Site Environmental Geologist, Rig Geologist, and Core Facility Geologist. I oversaw drilling activities on Diamond Core, Reverse Circulation, Geotechnical, Sonic, and Air Rotary/ODEX drill rigs and learned the corresponding logging procedures. I was involved in a district wide silt sampling program, trench sampling, baseline/monitoring surface water studies, stormwater/erosion control systems, and the environmental regulations/logistics of a winter drilling program which focused on how to "leave no trace" while we continued drilling operations during the majority of saturated seasons. I miss the project every day, but made a move back to WA to be closer to the nieces and nephew who have stolen my heart.

I spent just over a year working as a Field Engineering Geologist for In Situ Engineering in Snohomish, WA. In Situ Engineering is one of two companies in the world that perform Electronic Pressuremeter Testing. A pressuremeter is a dilatometer style instrument that is placed down a pre-bored drill hole or advanced on its own with a self boring apparatus (in softer soils). It has a membrane covering it that can be inflated (using either compressed air or nitrogen) to up to 2000psi. A computer chip within this instrument displays real time readings of the rock or soil's response to the application of particular pressures. A stress vs strain curve is created utilizing the gathered data. I would then analyze the data (in collaboration with our engineers - I had to learn A LOT of engineering principles) to determine parameters for engineering design of the planned structure. Some parameters gathered include friction angles, shear modulus, and lateral earth pressures. While the testing procedures were very similar in all areas, the variety of sites I was exposed to was INCREDIBLE! Some of the best places I got to experience include San Francisco, Miami, Long Beach, B.C., Jasper (Alberta), Montreal (Quebec), and St. John's (Newfoundland & Laborador). Sites included nuclear sites, active mines, wetlands, and a solid ballast offshore project. I wouldn't trade this experience for the world.

I have positively thrived on the diversity of my experiences in this short time and the ability to continue to learn new areas of geology every day. This, in turn, has inspired me to return to academia. I will be applying this winter for BS-PhD programs with an eventual goal of becoming a research professor.

To help facilitate this financially, I took a job working in the Oil & Gas industry. I consult (through Sunburst Consulting) for companies like Hess and Marathon Oil. I analyze gamma signatures to advise directional drillers on our proximity to and/or position within target zone. The goal here is to successfully install a 20,000 foot well that the oil companies will later frack for increased production. I also log shaker samples for lithologic characteristics, and monitor a gas chromatograph that measures C1-C4 coming off of our well. There are incredibly stressful days, but also days where, admittedly, watching a fly swim in my cold coffee seems relatively interesting.

I have been so blessed by these opportunities and only hope that I may never stop learning and growing. I cannot express the positive impact that Central and all of the CWU Geology Department Faculty and Staff have had on my professional life!

Information last updated on Sep 17, 2014