BOONE, N.C. — Prior to attending Appalachian State University, graduating senior Annie Klyce was afraid to take most science courses, she said. Now she is planning a career as a geoscience educator, with the goal of communicating complex scientific concepts more clearly, especially to those who may struggle with science.
Klyce, who is from Atlanta, will earn her B.S. in geology from Appalachian this summer and begin pursuing a master’s degree at the University of South Carolina in the fall. There, she will study how spatial and nonspatial thinkers understand Earth’s geometry.
“I started this project because I used to feel inadequate in my math courses,” Klyce shared. “But throughout college, I realized I’m not that bad at math — I just think differently. I hope by learning and discovering new ways to teach, fewer people will feel they are unable to understand science.”
She continued, “I believe if we can discuss science more clearly, our society as a whole can start to make greater strides towards a clean and more sustainable future.”
Becoming a geologist
Klyce enrolled at Appalachian as a business major. “When it came time to choose my science classes for general education requirements, I was too afraid to take physics or chemistry, and I didn’t like biology, so geology it was!” she said. “I had Dr. (Sarah) Carmichael for my Intro to Geology class — and was totally blown away.
“Dr. Carmichael helped me navigate which classes to take to be sure I loved geology before I changed my major. Then, Dr. (Andrew) Heckert helped get me involved and I realized the geology department here is a family. I’ve never felt more at home.”
Klyce said, “The magic of the geology professors is that they go well out of their way to give students every opportunity for success that they can.”
A sampling of Klyce’s Appalachian Experience:
- At the 2019 annual meeting of the Geological Society of America’s Southeastern Section, Klyce presented findings from research she conducted with Heckert and Marta Toran, outreach coordinator in Appalachian’s Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences.
- She presented a research poster during Appalachian’s 2019 Celebration of Student Research and Creative Endeavors.
- Klyce traveled to College Station, Texas, to receive training on a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project.
- Under the direction of Heckert and Toran, she participated in a number of outreach events conducted in Appalachian’s Geobago — a mobile earth and environmental science lab.
- Klyce spent several weeks in the Southwestern U.S. with a group led by Heckert, working on field and museum methods for paleontological preparation.
- She attended a six-week “field camp” study abroad program, studying and constructing geological maps of the Northern Apennines in Italy.
- She received several scholarships and travel grants enabling her to attend field courses and conferences.
Klyce said her love for the outdoors, people, science and learning were perfectly combined in her geology major. “At Appalachian, we are nearby some of the most complex geologic history in the U.S., and we can study these rocks in person out in the field,” she said.
About her field camp experience in Italy, Klyce said, “Learning how to make geological maps was valuable to me, but not as valuable as watching how other people think through these very complex geologic concepts.”
“My professional goals are to find better or new ways to communicate geological concepts to geologists and nongeologists, and to be able to communicate the practical realities of science to nonscientists,” Klyce said.
What do you think?
Share your feedback on this story.
About the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Located in Western North Carolina, Appalachian State University provides the perfect setting to study geological and environmental sciences. The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences provides students with a solid foundation on which to prepare for graduate school or build successful careers as scientists, consultants and secondary education teachers. The department offers six degree options in geology and two degree options in environmental science. Learn more at https://earth.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.