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Interview with Erin Camp

Erin Camp— Earth Systems ’10, Amherst ‘11

Research Project: Documenting the Natural and Anthropogenic to Te Awa o Te Atua During the Past 100 Years

Erin is currently a Geothermal Energy Analyst at the Department of Energy, Washington, DC, USA

Why did you choose Frontiers Abroad?
I chose FA because it was one of the few geology/earth systems study abroad programs that offered exactly what I wanted from my semester abroad. It incorporated a field camp component, was located in a beautiful place I had not yet visited, and offered an interdisciplinary education that I could take in my spring semester.


Was the Frontiers Abroad experience what you expected?
Absolutely… and more. I didn’t know exactly what to expect upon arrival, but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. It was very well organized, I learned an incredible amount of information, and though I visited an English-speaking country, I still felt as if I’d had a moving cultural experience.


What was your favourite part of Frontiers Abroad?
Field Camp! Though I loved my time in the city of Auckland, my time in field camp with our very small group of 5 students (led by an amazing professor in the field) was truly the height of my experience.


What was your favourite aspect of New Zealand?
I can generally say that the breathtaking and every-changing scenery (across both islands) was my favorite part of New Zealand. I felt as if I could travel an hour in any direction and see a completely different, yet equally stunning, landscape.


How did Frontiers Abroad contribute to your career goals / pathway?
I feel very blessed to say that Frontiers Abroad shaped my career goals more than any other educational experience I have had. I was first introduced to the concept of geothermal energy during field camp with FA, and after a few years I have found that renewable energy (specifically geothermal) has become my life’s passion.


What aspects of the Frontiers Abroad experience did you see as defining moments / achievements?
Continuing what I mentioned above, the field camp module that incorporated the analysis of geothermal well fields was likely the most academically influential moments in my FA experience. Personally, however, my most defining experience was the feeling of becoming totally comfortable and independent in Auckland, having recently transitioned from the nomadic field camp lifestyle.


How did Frontiers Abroad prepare you for future endeavours?
The experience sharpened my independence, my interdisciplinary thought process, and my desire to explore the world.


In a few words discuss what you have achieved since Frontiers Abroad, and the influence Frontiers
Abroad has had on your accomplishments.  
After arriving back in the US, one year later I completed a major in Geology and graduated cum laude from Amherst College. Having the research experience from Frontiers Abroad prepared me for the challenges of selecting a senior research topic and completing my research in an independent manner.

Following graduation, I traveled to Washington, DC where I participated in a Geoscience Public Policy internship with the American Geosciences Institute. Prior to this internship I was unsure which direction I wanted to take my career, but while performing work in renewable energy policy, I was reintroduced to geothermal energy and its potential in the US.

After the internship I began working as an Analyst in the Geothermal Technologies Program at the Department of Energy in Washington, DC, and I will be starting an Earth Energy PhD program at Cornell University in the fall of 2012.