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Northwest Missouri State University


Student Spotlight

    Jan. 15, 2016

    Northwest’s Fraundorfer named state’s top geology student for 2015

    Will Fraundorfer, an August graduate of Northwest, recently was named the 2015 O.R. Grawe Award winner, becoming the second consecutive Northwest student and the sixth since 2004 to receive the honor.

    Will Fraundorfer, an August graduate of Northwest, recently was named the 2015 O.R. Grawe Award winner, becoming the second consecutive Northwest student and the sixth since 2004 to receive the honor. (Submitted photo)

    Will Fraundorfer, a Weston, Missouri, native, is the latest Northwest Missouri State University student to receive the O.R. Grawe Award from the Association of Missouri Geologists.

    Fraundorfer recently was named the 2015 O.R. Grawe Award winner, becoming the second consecutive Northwest student and the sixth since 2004 to receive the honor.

    Fraundorfer completed his degree at Northwest in general geology and geography in August. He plans to enter graduate school in the fall to study hydrogeology and geophysics.

    “I find Earth’s history fascinating, and I believe geology has the power to enhance people’s lives by providing natural resources and by contributing to our environmental knowledge,” Fraundorfer said.

    The association annually bestows the O.R. Grawe Award, named for its first president, Oliver Rudolph “O.R.” Grawe, on the top junior or senior geology major in Missouri. Recipients receive an engraved Brunton pocket transit and case, a plaque and certificate of recognition as well as a cash stipend of $300.  

    Winners are selected on the basis of a nomination letter from the applicant’s department chairperson, a written statement by the applicant describing why he or she selected the field of Earth Science and post-graduate plans, the applicant's academic transcript, and letters of recommendation from two department faculty members.

    “The O.R. Grawe award is a high honor because it recognizes students not only for their academic ability but their service to the discipline, and it recognizes in these students their potential to become successful professional geologists and leaders in the field,” said Aaron Johnson, associate professor of geology at Northwest and president of the Association of Missouri Geologists. “In my mind, the O.R. Grawe award is the highest honor that an undergraduate student studying geology in Missouri can receive.”

    Other Northwest students to receive the O.R. Grawe Award are Tim Janousek (2014), Molly Ramsey (2011), David Brett Hamlin (2010), Ashley Leger (2008) and Diana Schnarrenberger (2004).

    Additionally, Dr. John Pope, an associate professor of geology and Northwest alumnus, received the O.R. Grawe Award in 1995. Northwest alumnus Lonnie Cook was one of two co-recipients of the inaugural O.R. Grawe Award in 1972.

    Johnson also is a past O.R. Grawe Award winner, having earned the award in 1997 as an undergraduate student at Missouri State University.

    Johnson says the success of Northwest geology students is a tribute, in part, to unique experiences they gain that may not be available to undergraduates at other universities. Northwest students participate in original research projects with faculty and present those projects at national meetings. They also assist with teaching laboratory courses for introductory and advanced geology courses.

    Northwest’s geology program centers on field-based, experiential learning. Nearly all courses have a field component and three courses – field methods, a fall field trip and field geology of the British Isles – are completely field-based. During four years at Northwest, geology students may participate in as many as 10 field experiences.

    “We believe the best geologists are the ones who see the most rocks in the wild so to speak,” Johnson said. “We take our students to the outcrops and help them learn to read the stories the rocks have to tell. Our combination of classroom, laboratory and field-based education provides our students with a very strong, well-rounded education in geoscience.”

    The Association of Missouri Geologists is a professional organization tasked with promoting geology and geoscience education in Missouri. The association includes professional and academic geologists as well as student members at colleges and universities throughout the state. The association also admits members from other states who are interested in Missouri geology or have academic ties to the state or its institutions.


    For more information, please contact:

    Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
    mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

    Northwest Missouri State University
    215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468