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Alumni Spotlight - Columbus State University

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Department of Earth and Space Sciences

Alumni Spotlight

Find out what some of our recent graduates are doing now.

If you are a graduate of CSU's Earth and Space Sciences program (or former Geology program), we would love to know what you're up to and add you to our "Where are they now?" page. Contact Clint Barineau (

a female student standing in front of lava

Cheryl Wilkes-Coker

B.S. Earth and Space Science, Geology

After graduating from Columbus State, Cheryl Wilkes Coker was accepted to Auburn University as a Mars volcanology graduate student under the direction of Dr. Shawn Wright and Dr. David King Jr. NASA selected Cheryl for the NASA Planetary Volcanology Field Workshop in Hawaii that educates students on field appearance of lava flows and how they appear in remote sensing and satellite images. Cheryl's research focused on using photographic and thermal data to determine the origin of a Martian feature, previously suggested to be a supervolcano.
After earning a M.S. at Auburn University, Cheryl accepted a position with EOG resources in Midland, TX.

a female student standing with her arms crossed

Katherine Lodder, Class of 2013

B.S. Earth and Space Science, Secondary Education

After missing her graduation to travel in the Galapagos Islands, Katherine returned to Bryce Canyon National Park for a second internship working in Interpretation. She then returned to Columbus and accepted the position of Curriculum and Parent Coordinator for an afterschool arts enrichment and tutoring program called Empowered Youth of Columbus. In summer 2014, she moved to Milwaukee, WI to begin a 2-year commitment with Teach for America to teach Chemistry and Physics at a Choice School in the Milwaukee School District.

Advice for Current Students: Pick a direction and focus on it. Take every opportunity that seems the least bit relevant along the way.

a male student standing in front of a building

Matthew Perry, Class of 2013

B.S. Earth and Space Science, Astronomy

Since graduating from Columbus State University, Matthew Perry has been accepted with full funding as a geophysics graduate student at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology under the direction of Dr. Glenn Spinelli. Matt's current research focuses on how hydrothermal circulation within subduction zones affects the overall thermal structure and, thus, the seismogenic zone. His area of focus is the Mexico subduction zone and he is investigating the effects through finite-element numerical modeling. Matt has also recently accepted an internship offer for summer 2014 working under the direction of Dr. Fredrick Schult and Dr. Jiakang Xie in Nuclear Explosion Monitoring Seismology at the Air Research Laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

a male student and a black dog sitting next to a river

Bryan Victor, Class of 2013

B.S. Earth and Space Science, Geology

Bryan is currently working at Innovar Environmental, Inc. in Fort Moore as a watershed technician. This is a field position monitoring the storm water and streams under the Clean Water Act. After graduating, he spent the summer visiting 11 national parks and rock-climbing in 27 states.

a male student wearing a hard hat

Zachary Edwards, Class of 2012

B.S. Earth and Space Science, Astronomy

Since I graduated CSU in 2012, I have entered Louisiana State University's physics graduate program and I am currently working towards pursuing a PhD. In the interim of graduating CSU and entering LSU I got involved with open-source software development with the AstroPy team and contributed to their innovative software. At LSU, I'm apart of the Observational Astronomy group working on various projects, but mainly preparing for the qualifying exam as well as teaching!


Ross Tucker, Class of 2009

B.S. Earth and Space Science, Geology
Licensed G.I.T.

After graduating in 2009, Ross received an M.S. from Auburn University in 2011. He is currently working at TTL in Montgomery, Al as a Staff Geologist/Project manager.

Ross Tucker's advice to current students: "Get active in everything you can. Clubs, activities, events, everything. It really helps to build a resume. Also, start thinking about and gearing yourself towards a specific field. This was hard for me, because I really enjoyed every aspect of geology. You definitely want to be versatile, but it helps when looking at grad school and/or jobs when you have specialized knowledge of a particular field or subject."

Ask Cody

Ask Cody