"Dinosaur Discovery" Launches Harrison Resident on Geology Career
Date: Aug. 20, 2001
By Chris Curran
Photos by Colleen Kelley
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: Research News
Rebecca Reverman was barely five years old when she dug up some twiggy-looking bryozoan fossils in her backyard. Convinced they were dinosaur bones, the young scientist immediately began sorting them, using a twine-based grid system she had once seen on TV.
Leg bones in this compartment...arm bones over there. Her first scientific "expedition" ended with a trip to Cincinnati's Museum of Natural History and another discovery for Becky.
"When I saw how big the dinosaurs were compared with the tiny, little 'bones' I dug up...that's when I realized how completely wrong I was. I was never impressed by dinosaurs again!"
Becky was impressed by geology, however. She even uses the mineral moniker "feldspar" to send e-mail. And today, at the age of 21, she's probably had more adventures than many people two or three times her age.
She graduated from Harrison High School in 1998 and entered Wittenberg University. After transferring from Wittenberg to the University of Cincinnati in 1999, Becky has participated in two field schools and a field methods class which have taken her from New York, through the Nevada deserts and California's rugged coast up to the great glaciers of Alaska.
This summer, she's spending three weeks climbing through three mountain ranges in Alaska (The Chugach, The Wrangells, and the Alaska Range) tracking the advance and retreat of glaciers over time.
The course, organized and taught by UC geology Professor Thomas Lowell, gives students a chance to see for themselves if glaciers can serve as "canaries" for global climate change.
Although Becky's main interests are in structures and tectonics, she says she has no regrets about spending the month of August tromping across Alaskan ice sheets.
"We've gone to some amazing places," she said. "And every professor at UC is very good about pointing out things that interest you. There's a lot of structures you can tie in with the glaciers."
Becky also said she prefers UC's hands-on learning style to lab-based and textbook-based classroom instruction.
"I transferred to UC because they have a better program and more hands-on field work.
"I don't think you could ever understand geology in class. We spent three hours once working on a problem. People were in tears when it was over. In the field, it was, 'OH! That's what he meant.' Geology doesn't come off books very easily."
This summer, Becky has seen a lot of geology up close and personal. A six-week field camp took the UC senior through Utah, Nevada and California. It even earned her an invitation to apply to graduate school at the University of Nevada-Reno.
She'll sort out her options throughout the coming school year. In the meantime, she has something more important on her mind. After days of nothing but tent camping and simple campfire grub, she readily admits. "I want a pizza!"
Click here for additional reports on the trip