Harper Gerfen rocks the geology field


Cam'ron Hardy

Submitted photo of Harper Gerfen, a junior geology major.

Cam'ron Hardy, News Editor

Harper Gerfen, a junior geology major and described what she does as just surveying land areas.

“Specifically pertaining to the rock types and lithology, which is the types of rock that are in that area,” Gerfen said. “Sometimes they can go into mitigation techniques, which is basically surveying the land for faults, or other disasters.”

When in elementary school, Gerfen thought she wanted to do music therapy until she was in eighth grade until she realized that was not the field she wanted to go into and decided that she wanted to get into the science field.

She realized that she has to consider other people’s emotions and would not want to continue assisting other people’s feelings and looked into other fields that she had a passion in and realized she wanted to go in the geology field.

“I’ve always had an interest in the geology field, on a very basic level since I was younger,” Gerfen said. “So, I decided to look more into that and that is how I kind of fell into that category.”

When she got to college, she knew she wanted to go into that major specifically, and really liked some of her professors including Jake Crandall, Zhiwei Liu, and Diane Burns.

Gerfen said Burns had a “very large impact” on her.

“I’d say she definitely keeps me in line because I typically tend to think like a master student,” Gerfen said.

Gerfen said Burns reminds her to stick to the topics that they discuss, gives her peace of mind, and double checks her work.

Gerfen said she tends to get overwhelmed and focus on a lot of little things, so having Burns around allows her to focus on one thing.

Grefen was a part of an internship that Burns sent to her. She did not think that she would be get into the internship due to her being young, but that she should apply because she was knowledgeable in the topics that would be discussed, such as volcanology, mineralogy, and petrology.

She ended up getting the job and went to Michigan for the summer to work in the upper peninsula at a company called Eagle Mine, which is a nickel and copper mining project.

“I worked under the production geology side of things,” Gerfen said. “So basically, that’s just doing some software work, so they do the mapping of what they call muck bays, which basically is where they house all ore. They black it and then they go down and they sample it, take it back up, and then they send it off to be surveyed and everything.”

She also said that she was able to do a little bit of geotechnical engineering, which is measuring what’s in the mines and making sure they’re not growing at exponential rates.

She was also able to work with bolt tester, which Gerfen describes as a “surveying the integrity of the mine walls and the corrosion that happens there.”

Gerfen said she plans on going back to that company this upcoming summer but going for the geotechnical engineering department.

In her free time, she collects mineral like specimens which she usually obtains from shops. Gerfen been getting into large samples, because she said those are easier to identify and are just more fun.

Gerfen also started a job where she organizes minerals that are in a lab in the Physical Science building on campus with a group.


Cam’ron Hardy can be reached at 581-2812 0r at [email protected].