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UC Glacier Course Offers New Opportunities for Northern Kentucky Students

Date: Aug. 29, 2001
By: Chris Curran
Photos by Colleen Kelley
Contact: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Archive: Research News

Josh White and Josh Cooper share a lot more than a first name and alma mater. Josh Cooper, centerThe students are taking part in Glacial Field Methods, a course taught by UC geology Professor Thomas Lowell up in the icy, snow-capped mountains where glaciers form.

Both were encouraged to take the course by NKU faculty member Rick Bullard, a former student of Lowell's. They both agree they needed the field experience UC offers to further their development as professional geologists.

"Professor Bullard told us it would a great opportunity to get out in the field and see what was in the geology textbooks," said Cooper.

"It's very challenging," added White after a rugged hike up a steep, rocky slope. "But the hardest part is the mental part."

Josh White

White grew up outdoors, helping to take care of horses on the family farm and riding through the mountains of West Virginia, Tennessee and his home state of Kentucky.

"I always wondered why the rocks were so different, and the different caves formed by wind and rain. I wanted to know how they got that way," he said, explaining his early interest in geology.

Josh Cooper has had a crash course in geology. When it appeared NKU might abolish its geology program, he crammed all his junior and senior level courses into his first academic year. "It's been rough, but I worked through it," he noted.

In the same way, he's savoring his accomplishments during the Alaska glacier course. "Climbing Exit Glacier (a steep, three-mile hike) was a personal goal I set for myself. It took a lot of human will, but I beat the odds." Matanuska Glacier

The Boone County graduate and Florence resident now has an even higher goal in life. He wants to emulate the famous dinosaur hunter Jack Horner and work in the field as a paleontologist.

"I know I can do field work now," said Cooper. "It's been a growing experience as I keep pushing myself. It's been 'it's just over that ridge, just over that hill.'"

"One of my goals was to walk on a glacier. I told my adviser, and she was skeptical. But here I am...walking on three or four glaciers. It gives you more confidence when you have to do it by yourself."

Matanuska Glacier

Both Josh Cooper and Josh White say they're grateful for the opportunity to take part in the University of Cincinnati course and to share their experiences with a new group of classmates. "It's a good diversity," said White. "They're taught in a different way and have a different thought process. Bringing different great minds together accelerates the class."

The two Joshes are already planning their next long-distance adventure. If all works out, they'll be in Peru together later this year.

"I can't wait, and this time my parents can let me go and not worry," laughed Cooper, an only child.

White, the Kentucky country boy from Camp Springs and Campbell County High School, has been around the world already, including trips to Perth, Australia and Indonesia. He offers this bit of advice he learned early in life.

"Life is short. Do as much as you can, but take it slowly, so you don't miss anything."

Read about other Alaskan adventures.

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