When I was very young, my mother and I would pick up my father from work at the U.S Bureau of Mines near Las Vegas, where he worked as a research chemist. In the lobby, while waiting for my father I would stare with wonder at the odd looking minerals in the display cabinets. One in particular I can still remember looking like a bunch of purple grapes. I realized later in life this was my first exposure to geology. I spent much of my childhood summers touring the western National Parks with my family all the way from Glacier to Death Valley. My grandfather, a biology teacher, founded the Dishman Hills Natural Area Association in Spokane and taught me much about the natural world. However, in school in Oregon, math and physics were my strengths and I enrolled in engineering classes and won several design awards that took me to the national competitive level. By the time I graduated I had many opportunities in engineering programs in schools throughout the country including Vanderbilt but chose the closer Santa Clara University in the San Francisco area. After my first year in the school's civil engineering program I knew I had found something I was good at but did not enjoy enough to continue studying. It was not until several years ago after I moved to Tennessee (to see what it was like on the other side of the Mississippi) when I returned to school determined to finish a degree in something that I rediscovered my fascination for the " rocks". I needed to complete a sequence of science classes for a math major and chose Physical/Historical geology. After buying the textbook and thumbing through it, a rush of happiness overwhelmed me and immediately I tracked down a geology professor to advise me and changed my major to geology. After being a geology student for three years I still love it and plan on combining it with engineering when I eventually get to grad school and study Geological Engineering. I will be taking mineralogy and petrology this coming year at MTSU and hope to finally solve the mystery of the purple grapes! Thank you for helping me accomplish this with your scholarship donation!
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