“I came to UT Dallas as an undeclared major, but after I took a geology class for a science credit, I fell in love. That’s a common theme with geologists. Some know before college, but most of us accidentally found the field and became hooked.
One of my professors, Dr. Robert Rutford, had a lot of great stories about trips and travels he experienced, and they inspired me.
Once, he and a colleague were walking in Antarctica during a whiteout, which happens when the sun reflects off the clouds and ice to prevent shadows from forming. They sat down for a breather and his colleague picked up a rock and threw it, but they never heard it hit because they were sitting on the edge of a crevasse they hadn’t seen.
Most people might be scared off by that story, but it made me want to visit Antarctica more than any other place in the world.
Before starting work on my master’s degree, I finally got the chance to do scientific work there. Most of my time was spent in the Ross Sea on a research vessel – we did sonar and seismic mapping of a rift system, with dredges of volcanic mounts. The experience definitely allowed me to tap into knowledge gained from my undergraduate classes.
After I got back, I took an internship with a local petroleum company, and that’s when I realized I could have a job in geology and do something meaningful.
After graduation, I accepted a job with ExxonMobil, the largest independent oil company in the world. They have a structured training program that introduced me to almost all aspects of petroleum exploration. I’m currently working on developing oil fields in offshore Nigeria, and while most of the work is done in Houston, I’m looking forward to traveling there soon.
There are so many exciting possibilities ahead, but I wouldn’t be this fortunate without the great start I got at UT Dallas!”
Jennifer Hoyt graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in geosciences and went on to receive her master’s degree in geosciences. While at UT Dallas, she was an Orientation Team Mentor, a Student Ambassador and helped arrange homecoming parades.
- Updated: May 1, 2009