Meet Our New Research Intern: Chelsea McCormick

Name: Chelsea McCormick

Hometown: Riverside

Major: Geology/Geophysics

Institution: Riverside City College

How I got interested in my major: I graduated in 2014 with a BA in History and Political Science and enrolled soon after in UCR's Department of Education to pursue a single subject credential and MEd. Though I come from a family of teachers, I soon discovered that teaching was not for me. I took some time to reevaluate my life goals and soon realized that I had subconsciously closed a lot of doors for my future because I had always been told I was bad at math. I withdrew from the teaching program and immediately enrolled in an intro physics course at RCC just to test the waters. I had taken two astronomy courses at RCC when I first started there in 2009 and could never shake how much I had loved them and how much they had changed my everyday perspectives, and I had always regretted that I had never made it to physics in high school. I did well in physics, and the subsequent trig, calculus, and geology courses I enrolled in, and began to believe that I was capable after all and that science was something I definitely wanted to pursue. Outside of school, I have very nomadic tendencies and a reputation for being on the road whenever I have the time and money. As I thought about which branch of science I preferred, I realized geology could combine my interest in science with my love of travel and the outdoors. Discovering geophysics was the match in the powder barrel because I could directly combine geology and physics. Studying geology has presented me with so many wonderful opportunities since, and I have never been happier about my future. 

Why I love geology: I love geology because it helps me to understand the world around me. As a history major with a focus in military history, studying topographical maps of battlefields was common place, and we would frequently discuss events where major turns in history were directly affected by geological events. I learned about volcanoes, tsunamis, ice ages, and so on in the abstract, but studying geology directly has had an even more profound impact on my understanding of just how tied we are to our environment. I love how each and every piece of geology is a reminder of how powerful the processes of nature are, and how in studying them I can also have an impact on helping societies to exist more safely. I love geophysics, specifically, because I can take all of that and combine it with the music of math. It never ceases to amaze me how we can understand things we can't even see deep within the Earth using math and technology, and I look forward to all of the discoveries we have yet to make.