Senior Geology major, Madison (Maddie) Pike, spent a large portion of her summer in the southern hemisphere, where she created geological maps as part of Michigan Technical University’s South Africa Field Camp. The camp took place in Cape Town, South Africa, the Langebaan Lagoon in West Coast National Park near Langebaan, South Africa, and the Cape Fold Belt Mountains near Ladismith, South Africa from early May to early June 2013.

“I decided to attend the South Africa field camp because I have done very little traveling in my life and I wanted to see another part of the world. This field camp allowed me to see the geology of an area that is completely different from central United States that I am familiar with, and it enabled me to learn more about the geological history of the southern hemisphere.,” said Pike.

Pike had always planned to enter the field of geology, and initially decided to attend UNI because of the welcoming atmosphere created by the faculty and students in the Department of Earth Science.

“Classes taken in the Earth Science Department prepared me for field camp by providing me with the knowledge to assess the geology of regions of South Africa and translate that information into a map,” she said.

In her mapping excursions, Pike was able to visit many interesting areas.

“I enjoyed every moment of my South Africa field camp experience. I was able to visit numerous areas in South Africa, but the major areas I studied include Table Mountain in Cape Town, the Langebaan lagoon near the town of Langebaan, and the Cape Fold Belt Mountains near the town of Ladismith,” said Pike. “Some other really interesting areas the camp visited included the West Coast Fossil Park, Botlierskop Day Safaris, the Congo Caves,
and the southern tip of Africa.

While exploring these regions, Pike gained valuable skills, which she plans to use in her future endeavors.

“While in South Africa I learned so much about all aspects of geology and mapping techniques that allow me to think more
critically about concepts, whether they relate to geology or not,” shared Pike.

After graduating, Pike is looking forward to attending graduate school for hydrology or paleontology and using the knowledge that she has acquired from professors at UNI.

“I have had many influential professors. All of my professors have provided me with great advice from learning the material in class to advice on graduate school and life in general. Some of my professors have also really impacted me and have enabled me to find interests in many fields of geology, fields that I will be pursuing further in graduate school.”