Change of Venue Announcement
San Joaquin Geological Society,
on October 13th, 2015
will be held at;
The Fraternal Order of Eagles
Eagles Lodge 1718 17th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93302
The Veteran’s Hall asked the SJGS to move our monthly meetings to a different night so they could take on a new client who had requested every Tuesday evening. The Officers decided to stay with our traditional second Tuesday meeting times and move to a new venue. We have chosen the Eagles Lodge in the downtown vicinity for our new meeting location.
San Joaquin Geological Society, meeting on 10/13/2015 will be held at the Eagles Lodge, 1718 17th Street, Bakersfield, CA 93302.
Contact: Beckie Burston, cell 661-364-4845
June 14, 2016 DINNER MEETING ABSTRACT
A History of the Geological Sciences at CSU Bakersfield
Rob Negrini, Professor of Geophysics, CSU Bakersfield
Throughout the 47-year history of CSU Bakersfield, the Department of Geological Sciences evolved from an Earth Sciences Department to a Geology Department (1981) to better fit the needs of graduates seeking employment in the local geological community. In response to a petition from the San Joaquin Geological Society a proposal for an M.S. degree was submitted to the CSU Chancellor’s office in 1984. After initial and short-sighted rejections related to the downturn in the petroleum industry at that time, the M.S. Degree was eventually approved (1986) after a hydrogeology emphasis was added and after continuing support (i.e., insistence!) from the SJGS and local community. Shortly thereafter, prerequisites and requirements were strengthened, raising the standards to those of the strongest geology departments in the country. Despite the warnings from other CSUB science departments, the number of majors was unaffected by the increased standards as students rose to the occasion understanding the need for a solid basis in mathematics, computer science, physics and chemistry. To this day, the Department has maintained high curricular standards including a refusal to give up summer field camp as a graduation requirement. In fact, field work is emphasized throughout the curriculum. The vast majority of majors courses include fieldwork and several weekends in the field are part of the Department’s required senior seminar/spring field experience.
Starting in the early 1990s, a series of three severe budget cuts, spaced ~a decade apart, affected the Department greatly, for example, removing the field component of its general education courses and reducing the number of tenure-track faculty. The worst of these cuts resulted in an existential threat to the department and the layoff of a key full-time lecturer. The department rebounded to its present position as, in the current Dean’s words, CSUB’s one “Division 1” department through aggressive, successful grant writing by the faculty from the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Army, the CA Department of Water Resources, the US Department of Agriculture, etc.
The fruits of this external funding consist of a nationally-recognized K-12 outreach program. This includes the institution of a college-credit course taught by qualified teachers in several local high schools and attended by 300350, college-going, high school science majors per year. Also developed were a summer research program in which high school students and teachers join CSUB students and faculty in their research efforts, an NSF-sponsored program that was taken over and expanded with the help of a major contribution by Chevron, USA.
The crown jewel of the Department’s grant activity is the $1M/yr grant from the NSF Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology, the only such grant in the country issued primarily to a geology department. This grant was renewed in May, 2016, for an additional 5-yr period. The biggest expenditure of this grant has been towards student fellowships, research, and travel support culminating in M.S. theses and peer-reviewed publications on seminal topics such as carbon sequestration in mature oil fields, the history of water recharge from the Sierra Nevada into the San Joaquin Valley, etc.
Negrini was born in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts and earned his undergraduate degree (B.A. cum laude in Geology) nearby at Amherst College (1979). After attending UC Davis for a Ph.D. in Geology, he started as an Assistant Professor of Physics and Geology at CSU Bakersfield in the Fall of 1985. He along with his partner in crime, Bob Horton were recruited by John Coash, a geologist and then Dean of the School Arts and Sciences, who promised that CSU Bakersfield was as close to a liberal arts teaching college as possible for a publically funded University. Promoted to Full Professor 8 years later, Rob taught ~30 different courses in Geology and Physics, published 33 peer-reviewed articles, many with his students, in journals such as the Journal of Geophysical Research, Geophysical Journal International, Quaternary Research, Quaternary Science Reviews, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, etc. To support this research he procured more than $12M of grants from highly competitive sources like the National Science Foundation, the CA Department of Water Resources, the US Department of Agriculture, and local industry. His topics of research covered diverse areas such as the behavior of the Earth’s Magnetic Field during polarity transitions, Quaternary paleoclimate and water resources of North and South America, stratigraphy and tectonics of the San Joaquin Valley and environs, tephrochronology, etc. As Professor Emeritus starting September, 2016, Negrini will continue to conduct research with CSUB students both locally and in the Chilean Andes. He’ll also pursue interests in music, and literature, travel widely, spend more time with family and friends, etc. What he won’t do in retirement is engage in campus politics or be told how to teach by CSUB professors who don’t engage in scholarly activities, thereby skipping out on half of their job and depriving their students of the most rewarding of educational experiences.
How to join the society:
The San Joaquin Geological Society has no formal dues, and our activities are open to anyone interested in geology.