I took Introduction to Geology with Professor Sunderlin—we all called him Dave. He’s amazing the way he’s so passionate about geology, such an observant person, and also really good at teaching. I learned a lot in that class, and I feel like that was the class where I was the most in awe. He showed that the things surrounding us came from somewhere—learning how old the rocks are, their stories, looking at diamonds, how they form, and just making sense of things that didn’t necessarily make sense to me earlier was fascinating.
My country [Madagascar] is an island, and there’s a mountain range in the middle. There’s wind and rains coming from the east, and the west coast is really dry. That happens because when the clouds full of rain interact with the high lands, they lose all their rain. We learned that, and I actually talked with Dave separately about that.
I guess he made me more of an observant person, and every time I look at a rock, I’ll remember that this comes from somewhere. That’s definitely what the class teaches you, but I think it went above that from how Dave was teaching the class.
Since I am an international affairs and government & law double major, and most of the things that I had were reading, writing, and learning theories, geology was a good break where I was making sense of the natural world. I took classes in 12 departments throughout my time at Lafayette, and that geology class was my favorite! —Mirana Randriamanantsoa ’21