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Ben Fitzgerald Benjamin Fitzgerald
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Major: Geology
Minor: Biology

Congratulations to this week’s #WSGCStudentSpotlight, Benjamin Fitzgerald! Ben is currently a Junior at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where he majors in geology with a minor in biology. He is also the recipient of an Undergraduate Scholarship award.

Ben’s love for geology and the natural sciences began when he was just 8 years old and his parents surprised him with a trip to Chicago’s Field Museum. Staring up at the monstrous fossil of Sue the T-Rex filled 8-year-old Ben with a profound sense of awe and wonder. It was experiences like these, stargazing at campgrounds, and cracking open rocks to study, which lead Ben to study geology at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Since the start of his university studies, Ben has worked his way into Whitewater’s geology department, tutoring students, lab assisting, and becoming a member of their Geo-Science Club. Ben has also been narrowing his academic focus to paleontology and stratigraphy, working with Dr. Rex Hanger to use Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) technology to advance research in two of Whitewater’s astrobiological projects: studying local rocks of Ordovician age (485-445 million years old), and rocks in Texas of Cretaceous age (115-110 million years ago). The Ordovician rocks contain a record of the Great Ordovician Biodiversification Event (GOBE), and the Texas rocks preserve a vast record of Oyster Mass Occurrences. Ben’s research will use GPR technology to study wave propagation through these rocks, collecting previously inaccessible subsurface data.

Congratulations Ben, and best of luck to you in your future endeavors!