After Graduation

There are a wide variety of careers in the geosciences, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of available jobs will continue to grow over the next decade. 

Geoscientists are on the forefront of studying, solving, and educating people about the significant environmental problems facing society today. Our understanding of climate change, natural hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes, pollution of soils and water, and the distribution and extraction of natural resources, comes from the work done by geoscientists.

Geoscientists work in academia, private industry, nonprofit organizations, education, and the government. Some geoscience careers require a graduate degree for entry; many geoscience graduate programs will waive tuition, provide health insurance, and pay a stipend for teaching and research assistants.

The focused geosciences curriculum at Holy Cross provides students with an understanding of how the Earth system operates and gives students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to complex and important topics where society and the geosciences intersect. Combining coursework in watershed hydrology, geomorphology, freshwater ecology, paleoclimatology, oceanography, and GIS with their major, students minoring in geosciences at Holy Cross are well-prepared for careers and graduate opportunities in societally relevant and in-demand environmental fields. 

Pursuing Graduate Studies

If you are interested in attending graduate school in the geosciences, we recommend majoring in science (biology, chemistry, or physics), environmental studies, or mathematics and completing the minor in geosciences. When choosing geosciences courses, try to take as many 200- and 300-level GEOS courses as possible, and talk to the geosciences faculty about research opportunities both on and off campus. Most geosciences graduate programs require a year of study in calculus, chemistry (typically CHEM 181 and 231), and physics (PHYS 115 and 116) for admission regardless of major. We urge you to consider taking these courses even if they are not required for your major or the geosciences minor.

Most medium to large universities have Geoscience (or related) graduate programs. Read an excellent summary (PDF) written by Nathan Toké and Ramón Arrowsmith of Arizona State University on how to approach looking for an appropriate grad program. You are also encouraged to consult with the coordinator of the geosciences program (Prof. Sara Mitchell) and discuss your plans.


Students completing the geosciences minor or who have taken several geoscience classes have successfully entered a variety of related careers and graduate programs. 

The following is a list of recent alumni, their major, which faculty member they did research with at Holy Cross, any graduate degrees, and current position (if known). If you were a geosciences minor or “friend of the program” and you would like to be added here or your information has changed, please contact us — we would love to hear from you! 

Class of 2021

  • Michael Federico, Mathematics, financial services
  • Alexandra Nazzaro, Earth and Environmental Science self-designed major, Mitchell Lab, Jesuit Volunteer Corps 
  • Kate O’Donnell, Biology and Environmental Studies, Mitchell Lab, environmental scientist

Class of 2020

  • Sydney Grosskopf, Biology, McAlister Lab, marine biology M.S. program at Stony Brook University
  • Mikayla Manyin, Biology, environmental biogeochemistry research technician
  • Timothy Nsubuga, Physics, REU in geophysics at Purdue University, environmental and water resources engineering Ph.D. program at UMass Amherst

Class of 2018

  • Liam Howard, Chemistry, Quinn Lab, environmental scientist

Class of 2017

  • Xinyi Zeng, Environmental Studies, Mitchell Lab, geomorphology M.S./MBA joint degree from Boston College, GIS intern

Class of 2015

  • Nickolas Bradley, Environmental Studies, Mitchell Lab, geomorphology M.S. from Missouri State University, climate change risk analyst at consulting firm
  • Adrienne Randall, Biology, Claessens Lab 

Several Holy Cross alumni who graduated before the minor became available in 2015 also pursued graduate education and/or careers in the geosciences and related fields.

Class of 2014

  • Casey (Dannhauser) Chatelain, Environmental Studies, oceanography M.S. from University of Rhode Island, project manager for environmental non-profit organization

Class of 2013

  • Craig Connolly, Biology, Ober and Sobczak Labs, marine science Ph.D. from University of Texas, postdoctoral fellow in environmental biogeochemistry at Columbia University

Class of 2012

  • Elizabeth (Humphries) Altenau, Environmental Studies, Mitchell Lab, hydrology and remote sensing M.S. and Ph.D. from UNC Chapel Hill, hydrography data scientist
  • Robert Nazarian, Physics and Mathematics, Garvey, Narita and Roach Labs, oceanography M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University, physics professor
  • Peter Zaidel, Environmental Studies, environmental conservation M.S. from UMass Amherst, analyst/intern for state environmental agency

Class of 2011

  • Jonathan Jones, Biology, Sobczak Lab, marine biology and biological oceanography Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara, J.D. program Gonzaga University School of Law

Class of 2009

  • Christopher Amante, Environmental Studies, geography M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, research scientist
  • Neil Shea, Biology, Mitchell Lab, geomorphology M.S. from UConn, watershed restoration program director for nonprofit organization

Information About Geoscience Careers

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