Sonia K. Sanchez Lohff graduated from Appalachian in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology.
This August, she began graduate school at the University of Cincinnati, where she is specializing in thermochronology, a study of the thermal history of rocks and minerals. She’ll do field work in southern Alaska, investigating sediments to learn how varying subduction styles have affected that region since Jurassic times.
This is all pretty heady stuff, but Sanchez Lohff said she feels that Appalachian has prepared her well.
“It was a great experience with the department,” she said, referring to everything from her classes to her thesis and independent project.
“We don’t have a graduate program in Geology at Appalachian. That gives us a lot of opportunities to do research, which I’m really grateful for and helped me a lot. The professors were very supportive.”
At Appalachian, Sanchez Lohff played soccer on scholarship. And the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences gave her research grants as well, enabling her, for example, to attend a conference on paleontology.
In July 2013, she realized how competitive Appalachian was making her for advanced work in geology when she did field work in a program organized by Cornell University. The field work, which lasted a few weeks, entailed geologic mapping in Argentina. Students from several schools participated.
“I didn’t feel underprepared compared to all these Ivy League students,” she said. “I had enough background in certain topics, in addition to fieldwork, to 1) learn a lot and 2) keep up with everything.”