Hands-On Experiences Shape Career Goals

An introductory class in geology during his first year at Millsaps College changed Nathan Brownstein’s mind about what he wanted to pursue as a career.

Brownstein was initially attracted to Millsaps by the small class sizes and academic reputation, particularly in the business department. He was planning to major in economics, but those plans changed after his exposure to geology. A 2019 graduate from Columbus, Brownstein earned his bachelor of science degree in geology and a minor in archaeology, and will continue his studies at the graduate level.

“I was recently accepted at Kansas State for a master’s program in soil geomorphology, where I will be studying and mapping soils on hillslopes as part of a USDA-funded project exploring agricultural robotics and its potential applications on hills,” Brownstein said. “Ultimately, I would like to enter academia or a government research position.”

In addition to his studies on campus, Brownstein took full advantage of the opportunities at Millsaps to study abroad.

“Starting in 2017, I went to the Yucatan to support Dr. (George) Bey’s archaeological research in the Maya lowlands,” he said. “I was there for a total of 6 weeks, learning everything from scientific drawing to surface collecting. From May-July 2018, I spent another 6 weeks in the Yucatan to collect data for my honors project, in which I used X-ray Fluorescence to collect geochemical data from obsidian artifacts from 3 sites and modelled a possible obsidian trade route by comparing my data with historical information and geochemical studies from other sites.”

From Mexico, Brownstein headed across the ocean to a different project.

“Later that summer, I spent two weeks in Scotland with Dr. (Jamie) Harris as part of an advanced geology field course, where we learned survey techniques, geologic mapping, and the geologic history of the Scottish Highlands.”

From an introductory class in geology to studying abroad in Mexico and Scotland, and now to graduate school, Brownstein is headed in an exciting direction toward his career goals.

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