Professor, Commissioner, and Community Volunteer

Karen Fryer, Ph.D.

OWU geology professor Karen Fryer loves the outdoors, so her field work in structural geology is a natural fit. (Photo by Linda O’Horo)

Twenty-four years ago, Karen Fryer started teaching at Ohio Wesleyan University after earning her bachelor’s degree in geology at Wellesley College and both her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign).

“I love teaching. I love interacting with students—whether they are geology majors or if they are brand new to geology,” Fryer says. “I teach introductory geology every semester and never tire of it.”

Her field work in structural geology has taken her to places near and far. Students in her classes explore geology nearby in Delaware County, as well as in other states.

Geology professor Karen Fryer visited West Virginia in September with her Geological Techniques class. Shown (from left) are Fryer, Jessica Rhoads ’12, Molly Johnson ’11, and Eric Mumper ’12. (Photo courtesy of Karen Fryer)

In addition to teaching and formerly chairing the Geology-Geography Department for 12 years, Fryer keeps busy with various other pursuits. She is in her second year of a five-year appointment as a member of the Ohio Oil and Gas Commission. She was appointed to the position in July 2009 by Governor Ted Strickland. The commission receives and hears appeals from any person claiming to be aggrieved or adversely affected by an order by the Chief of the Division of Mineral Resources Management.

Fryer attends hearings “as needed,” but conducts much related business for the commission by phone or e-mail. “Serving on the oil and gas commission has been great experience,” she says. “I’m learning about oil geology and Ohio’s modified drilling laws. The political process and economics are interesting, and I really value learning from my colleagues.”

Much of her spare time is filled with outdoor activities, which include hiking, bike riding, and downhill skiing. Most are with her husband, Cameron, and son, Gavin, a high school senior now in the college search process.

Fryer grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, and Erie, Pennsylvania. She maintains ties to the strong Wellesley College alumnae community and is past president of the Columbus Wellesley Club. She has been an active volunteer for many projects. When at home in Dublin, Ohio, she also enjoys reading, music, and cooking.

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