Geology student bringing girl power to her field

KINGSVILLE - December 01, 2017

Contact: Naissa Lopez
Email: naissa.lopez@tamuk.edu
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At quick glance, Morgan Glynn Pope, 25, seems like a typical college student.  Smart, driven and excited to be graduating this fall.  However, those aren’t the only tools Pope carries in her arsenal.  Her field bag full of tools and research is often beside her.  The San Antonio native is set to graduate this fall with a Bachelor of Science in Geology, further proving that women can get their hands dirty as much as the boys can.

“We usually go out in the field to do a lot of work in the woods, or wherever it is we need to be,” she explained.  “You can call it a backpack, but I call it a field bag because it is always in the dirt.  It holds my tools, paperwork and notes.”

With a passion for the world around her, Pope chose to focus her college studies on the science of our planet.

“I never wanted an office job where you do the same thing every day,” she began.  “I have always wanted to travel and I have always loved nature.  I wanted to know the cause of mountains and land formations.  Geology put all of that into perspective.  You learn how the earth was formed and why it looks the way it does.  It was the best field for me to study because I wanted to know everything and continue learning things I might not have known yet.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while women make up 47 percent of the total U.S. workforce, they comprise just 28 percent of environmental scientists and geoscientists. Pope says being a woman in geology did make her feel a little subdued once upon a time.

“It’s male dominated, so I did get intimidated.  I wondered whether expectations were higher or if they’d be lower.”

Pope soon overcame those insecurities, and now, she proudly acknowledges the fact that she is part of the generation that is continuing to demolish the glass ceiling not only for women, but also for minorities, as well.

“I don’t see a lot of other black geologists, so I do feel like I am breaking barriers.”

Even though her time in Javelina Nation is coming to an end, Pope is grateful for the memories she has made here and the guidance she has received from faculty.

“Last spring, we went on a field trip.  It was the last field trip where everybody in my class was together because half of us were graduating.  We had a huge barbecue and the next morning we all took a large group photo.  That was definitely one of my favorite moments.”

Geological field trips aren’t the only memory Pope will carry with her after she walks across the stage at graduation.

“This university taught me to socialize, they taught me that it’s okay to make mistakes.  Professors expect great work from me, and you learn the traits needed to work well with other students.”

One professor in particular—another woman in the STEM field— also had quite the impact on Pope.

“Dr.  (Veronica) Sanchez is a newer professor.  She’s been here for two years and she’s amazing.  The work she does is great, and she’s not afraid to admit when she might not have the answer to a problem.  She’s a big inspiration not only because she’s an experienced geologist, but because she is a woman in geology, and that’s something this field is lacking.”

Dr. Veronica Sanchez is hopeful that Pope will set out to make a difference in her field.

“It was a pleasure working with her in my classes,” said the assistant professor.  “I know nothing will stop her along the way to a great career.”

Pope is also not afraid to share her first-hand experience with future generations of female geologists.

“Go for it.  Do what you love to do because there is no better job than one you absolutely love doing.  Don’t let anybody else influence you, and don’t care about what other people think about you because of what you look like or where you came from.  Do you.”

For more information about Texas A&M University-Kingsville’s geology degrees, visit http://www.tamuk.edu/artsci/physics_geosci/geosci/academics/degrees.html.