DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University student Jen Schmitt has spent more than two years conducting fossil research with paleontology professor Keith Mann, Ph.D., in their quest to learn more about an ancient saltwater sea that once covered the state.
Schmitt presented the findings of that research in a poster presentation at the 46th annual meeting of the Geological Society of America North-Central Section. The regional meeting was held April 23-24 in Dayton.
“The poster presentation was the culmination of 2.5 years of independent research with Dr. Mann,” said Schmitt, a senior from Spring, Texas. “It was an exciting experience to be able to present my research, but I think the best part of the entire journey was the research itself. I learned a new methodology for processing a particular type of microfossil and became much more aware of Midwestern geologic trends from a micro perspective.”
Schmitt will graduate May 13 with majors in geology and accounting, and with minors in both women’s and gender studies and economics management. The fossil research was supported by an Ohio Wesleyan Theory-to-Practice grant, which enables students and faculty to seek university funds to support areas of special academic interest.
“The Theory-to-Practice grant gave me the opportunity to pursue research I had not thought was possible [through] the rest of my curriculum,” Schmitt said. “I am grateful for all that Ohio Wesleyan and Dr. Mann have contributed to the quality of my OWU journey.”
Schmitt and Mann used the grant funds to purchase laboratory equipment and to travel to northwest Ohio to obtain limestone samples needed for their research. Samples in hand, they utilized an approach known as High-Resolution Conodont Biostratigraphy to examine fossils preserved in the sedimentary rock. Their work is helping to build a foundation on which to determine when and how quickly sea-level changes occurred in the region.
The Geological Society of America, established in 1888, unites thousands of earth scientists worldwide to study the mysteries of the planet and share their findings. The society also supports the professional growth of earth scientists from all sectors: academic, government, business, and industry.
Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.