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Bane_Lauren_2015University of Wisconsin Oshkosh senior Lauren Bane, of Mukwonago, is leading the way as a geology major.

Bane recently was chosen as one of 15 undergraduate geology students—and the only undergraduate in Wisconsin— to participate in a national competition of the Geological Society of America/ExxonMobil Bighorn Basin Field Seminar.

This one-week, field seminar offered 20 students and five faculty members a chance to receive a high-quality, educational experience in the Bighorn Basin of Wyoming. The award covered all expenses.

The Bighorn Basin Field Program seeks to energize and enhance the education of geology students and faculty by introducing them to the breadth and challenges of integrated basin and petroleum systems analysis.

“This year, they had over 300 applicants and they only accepted 25 people,” Bane said. “Those who were chosen were undergraduate students, graduate students and professors from all over the country.”

Eric Hiatt, a UW Oshkosh geology professor, said Bane took the initiative and contacted him about applying for the field course.

“Only the best geology students are chosen from across the U.S., and I was very happy to recommend Lauren because I knew that she would prepare, work hard and excel in the course,” he said. “It is great that Lauren represented UW Oshkosh in a group of the best geology students in the country!”

Beyond being selected for the seminar, Bane also will present her research at the 2015 Geological Society of America (GSA) annual meeting in Maryland from Oct. 30 through Nov. 4. Bane said this professional meeting highlights geological research and  provides an experience for geoscientists to enhance professional development in research.

“I am definitely honored to have this opportunity to present at GSA,” she said. “Dr. Hiatt and I have devoted the past couple of years toward working on this particular project.”

Headshot of Geology professor Eric HiattBane is studying phosphate deposition under the supervision of Hiatt, who is her adviser. Bane said she owes a lot of credit to Hiatt as he has contributed toward many of the opportunities she’s been given.

Hiatt said Bane understood complex geological concepts in his introductory courses, therefore he recommended she consider becoming a geology major.

“I asked her to help me with a small research project, and now she has been working on research projects for the last two years,” Hiatt said. “In science, doing research is the best way to learn, and it makes the biggest possible impact in a student’s academic life.”

Beyond her time in the classroom formally studying geology, Bane is the president of the UW Oshkosh Geology Club and she recently started the UW Oshkosh student chapter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.

Bane said she is appreciative of all the opportunities she’s been exposed to at UW Oshkosh.

“The experiences are more than I could have expected and I feel extremely fortunate to have been selected to participate and to gain a better understanding of petroleum systems and the industry,” Bane said. “Most importantly, this experience has allowed me to envision myself applying my passion for the geosciences toward a future career in the petroleum industry.”

Bane plans to pursue a master’s degree in geology after she graduates next spring. She hopes to continue studying biochemical sediments, enhanced oil exploration and energy resources.

“I very much enjoy doing research, so I hope to have the opportunity to research novel techniques that can be applied to expanding the accessibility of oil reservoirs and for expanding the U.S.’s energy resources,” Bane said. “As a long-term goal, I hope to pursue a doctorate in the geosciences, and I see myself working for an energy resource company that employs innovative technologies to develop the country’s energy resources, which hopefully leads to energy independence.”

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