The GWU Foggy Bottom campus is located in a metropolitan area that is rich in geology-related institutions and this proximity offers many benefits to students pursuing degrees in geology. Geological resources of the Washington, DC region include government agencies, private laboratories, museums, private firms, universities, and societies.
The Geological Sciences Program is located in the Foggy Bottom campus within walking distance to Natural History Museum of the Smithsonian Institution and close to the many other geology-related institutions of the greater Metropolitan region. The area centered on the Nation’s Capital contains a large concentration of geologists and geologically related professionals who collectively enrich the educational experience of undergraduate majors in geology at GWU. Many of these practitioners actively participate in the Geological Sciences Program at GWU through teaching courses, actively mentoring students in their research projects, offering and supervising internships, or simply being available for consultation and advice.
The following list contains information and contact information for some of the major geologic resources of the region.
The Smithsonian has geologists on staff at both the Natural History and Air and Space museums. Geoscientists at the Natural History Museum have traditionally made significant contributions in paleotology, mineralogy, petrology, and volcanology whereas those at the Air and Space Museum are generally focused on planetary studies. Staff members from both museums have taught at GWU from time to time, and GWU students have occasionally worked as interns on various projects at the museum.
U.S. Geological Survery
The headquarters of the U.S. Geological Survey are located in nearby Reston, Virginia where a large number of geologists and hydrogeologists are on staff. USGS scientists carry out geological investigations throughout the world and collectively have expertise that spans most of the geological realm. Students from GWU often work on projects sponsored by the USGS as part of their senior theses and some students have been selected for USGS sponsored internships. Others have found employment at the USGS where they have been the beneficiaries of continual interaction with geoscientists with a wide range of expertise.
National Park Service
A bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Park Service (NPS) has its headquarters close to the Foggy Bottom campus in Washington, DC. The NPS has geologists on staff who are primarily concerned with maintaining the NPS mission throughout the National Park System and related areas. Several GWU geology students recently worked on a project that helped supply needed geologic mapping of Shenandoah National Park and environs, located in the Blue Ridge mountains west of Washington.
Geological Society of Washington
The Geological Society of Washington, a learned society dedicated to “the increase and diffusion of geological knowledge”, has met at 8:00 PM on the second and fourth Wednesdays of September through April since 1893. Meetings take place a short distance from the Foggy Bottom campus and typically involve three 20-minute talks of geologic interest followed by discussion. The meetings are attended by many geologists and other scientists from throughout the Washington area and often involve lively discussion. The Society also sponsors an annual spring field trip to a nearby area of geological interest. Student participation in both the meetings and field trips is always welcome.
American Geological Institute
The American Geological Institute (AGI), founded in 1948 and located across the Potomac River from Foggy Bottom in Alexandria, Virginia, is a nonprofit federation of 46 geoscientific and professional associations that represents geologists, geophysicists, and other geoscientists. AGI provides a range of publications concerning geology including the well known Glossary of Geology which is currently in its fifth edition. AGI also serves as a conduit for information between policy makers on Capitol Hill and the geoscience community. A GWU geology student recently completed an internship involving scientific writing for an online AGI publication.
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
The Goddard Space Flight Center, located in nearby Greenbelt, Maryland, is home to a large concentration of scientists and engineers that build spacecraft, instruments, and new technology to study the earth and other celestial bodies. Geoscientists with expertise in geophysics and remote sensing are particularly appropriate as possible mentors for GWU students. Staff members from NASA have taught at GWU in the past and are expected to do in the future.