Field Geology students rock the class

(06-15-2012)

Eighteen nights camping plus eighteen people plus hiking, rock evaluation and mapping equals Field Geology with Dr. Rob Benson, professor of earth science. Adams State University offers the required course every other year, "every year would kill me," Benson said.

The class lasts 28 days with no breaks, including 8 nights and 9 days in New Mexico and 10 nights and 11 days in Colorado, day trips, and debriefing on campus. "This group of students was fantastic. I had a great time and enjoyed the experience," Benson said.

His students concurred, Katherine Hamilton, took the course through Extended Studies. She is a senior geology major at Eastern New Mexico University, located in Portales. "Dr. Benson was very patient with me when I had problems with my compass. I am impressed with the geology program at Adams State."

Other students, including Adams State junior geology majors Katie Schultz, Chris Reece; and senior geology majors Ruthie Trias and Mathew Sadler have taken several courses with Benson.

Schultz describes Benson's teaching style as "abstract, unique, and incredible." She withdrew from college for the spring semester, due to health issues and was a little wary about the physical demand of field geology. "I had the time of my life. The class is very physical and tiring but I did it. Every time I felt uncertain Dr. Benson provided the leadership and moral support to help me succeed." She said the course was well organized. "Dr. Benson coached us on how to cook for 18 people, and healthy meals high in carbohydrates and protein."

Reece agreed with Schultz saying Benson was very well prepared and always dealt with the students with positive energy and enthusiasm. He described the experience as "great, an absolute blast and Dr. Benson as awesome."

Trias said Benson reaches out to students at their own levels and motivates them to reach their potential. Sadler agreed: "Dr. Benson provides just enough information and lets students figure out the rest."

This year, Lyle Carbutt, Adams State '09 alumnus and adjunct instructor of biology and earth science, accompanied Benson as his assistant. He remembers taking the course as a student and enjoyed the perspective of an instructor. "It was interesting to learn to manage the field camp and a joy to work with Rob. He treated me as an equal and I appreciated his attitude."