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April 28, 2016
Four years ago Adam Lane arrived at Northwest Missouri State University as a deciding major and was placed in a general geology course with Associate Professor of Geology Dr. Aaron Johnson.
Until then, Lane had been ambivalent about attending college. Neither of his parents pursued a college degree, and his grandfather dropped out of school in the ninth grade to go into farming. Lane enlisted with the Missouri Army National Guard in 2010 as a junior in high school and benefitted from the Montgomery G.I. Bill as well as some federal and state assistance, giving him access and motivation to pursue a college degree.
The proximity of Northwest to his home outside Stanberry made it an easy choice for Lane. He had been a regular visitor to the campus for FFA contests, Science Olympiad and band and choral activities.
Lane did well enough in Johnson’s course that it prompted him to become a geology major.
Now he has completed his bachelor’s degree at Northwest and will pursue a master’s degree in biostratigraphy at Kansas State University.
“If I hadn’t been picked out by Dr. Johnson, I don’t know what I’d be doing at all,” Lane said. “I don’t even know if I’d be here anymore.”
Lane participated in Northwest’s honors program, worked as an Earth science and geology tutor and teaching assistant, and was a technology support assistant. He was vice president of the Sigma Gamma Epsilon Earth science honor society chapter and a treasurer for the American Association of Petroleum Geologists.
He did all of it while continuing to fulfill his National Guard duties. Lane was a signals intelligence analyst and rose to the rank of Sergeant.
He also became a skilled academic researcher and presented his research this month with Associate Professor of Geology Dr. John Paul Pope at the North-Central Geological Society of America meeting in Champaign, Illinois. Their research, “Petrology, Petrography, Conodont Biostratigraphy and Correlation of an Unknown Pennsylvanian Cyclothem from an Outcrop in South-Central Iowa” analyzed microfossils to find correlation between two different rock outcrops.
Among his favorite memories as a Northwest student are geology-based trips to the British Isles and the Colorado Plateau.
“It was fantastic – the opportunities that we got to go on for those field trips,” Lane said. “I went to the British Isles for three weeks with a study abroad program. I did a Colorado Plateau trip that was three weeks long, too. We camped out at a lot of national parks, looked at a lot of rocks, and it was really fun.”
Lane says his student employment positions played a valuable role in preparing him for a career.
“Being a tech support assistant, I’ve had to interact with thousands of people,” he said. “Those situations have prepared me for when I have to deal with a bigger issue that I’ll have with an oil company or with U.S.G.S. (United States Geological Survey).”
Interactions with faculty also had a positive impact on Lane at Northwest. But it’s the relationship he founded with fellow geology major Allie Richard that proved to have the most significant impact. The couple was engaged last July; Richard completed her degree at Northwest during spring 2015 and also will attend Kansas State to pursue her master’s degree in geomicrobiology.
“I’m a completely different person than I was in high school,” Lane said. “I gained lots of experience and I’ve gained lot of great relationships.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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