OCT. 3, 2003
CONTACT: Becky Zelinski at661/664-2138 edubzelinski@csub.edu
Mike Stepanovich at 661/664-2456 mstepanovich@csub.edu

Two California State University, Bakersfield geology graduate students have been chosen to present their work at the 115th annual meeting of the Geological Society of America to be held Nov. 2-5 at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center in Seattle.

Michael Johnson and Luz Sophia Cobos will join 7,200 geoscientists who are expected to attend the meeting, which promoters say will be the largest annual meeting in the society’s history.

Both students will be presenting papers on tectonics, and both of them are teaching assistants at CSUB who came here from other universities to obtain their master’s degrees in geology.

Jan Gillespie, chair of the CSUB geology department, believes that her department’s ability to attract students from around the world speaks volumes about the program.

“Most of our grad students are local but Mike came from Utah and Sophia came from Venezuela to go to Cal State,” Gillespie said. “I think people are beginning to regard Bakersfield as the hub of the West Coast petroleum industry, which makes our program very attractive when recruiting students.”

Cobos came to CSUB from Caracas, Venezuela, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in geology from Simon Bolivar University. She also worked as an intern for PDVSA, one of the world’s largest state-owned petroleum companies located in Venezuela. Cobos is now completing an internship at Occidental Elk Hills.

Johnson came to work on his master’s degree at CSUB from Utah, where he received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah.

Gillespie said the GSA research competition is very competitive and it is a prestigious honor that these students’ work has been accepted.

The Geological Society of America was established in 1888 and provides access to elements that are essential to the professional growth of earth scientists at all levels of expertise and from all sectors: academic, government, business, and industry. It unites thousands of earth scientists from around the world to achieve its mission to advance the geosciences, enhance professional growth of its members and promote the geosciences in the service of humankind.