The current Accretionary wedge being hosted over at Volcanista's Magmalicious Blog and the topic is:
So July’s topic is about your inspiration to enter geoscience. Was it a fantastic mentor? Watching your geologist parents growing up? A great teacher, or an exciting intro field trip? How did it happen? Deadline of July 10, and leave your permalink in comments when your post is up!
Growing up I had been very interested in dinosaurs. And for as long as I can remember I had wanted to dig them up (although Jurassic Park scared the crap out of me). So I told people that I wanted to be an Archaeologist (since that is all I knew at the time). Until one day when I was probably around 10 I was at a family party when someone asked me what I wanted to be. I told him an Archaeologist. He asked what specifically did I want to dig up, so I told him dinosaurs. Well he corrected me and told me that they were not archaeologists but paleontologists. And from that point on I was set in the right direction.
I started my studies into paleontology with my 8th grade Earth Science class when my professor told me that the best way to become a paleontologist was to either study biology or geology (but being that he was a geologist he kind of pushed me in that direction). So I started to direct my undergraduate school options towards schools with either a paleontology department or a geology department. To help me along I took two summers of the Paleontology Field Experience with the Museum of the Rockies in Montana.
After this I went off to college with paleontology always in mind. I started immediately into the undergrad geology department at SUNY Geneseo, and I worked at it. At first the information came fairly easy to me and the information was pretty straight forward but nothing too complicated, and nothing seemed to fit together. Just a bunch of disjointed information. Then I hit Mineralogy like a lead wall. My worst grade in school to date. Well I studied and I studied hard for it (just ask my wife). And I got through it. Then things started to make sense. And the more classes I took the more they fit together, like giant puzzle pieces. And by the time I was a senior I understood it. I could see the whole picture and it fascinated me. I love puzzles and this one I just finally put together. Well, I then proceeded to study Vertebrate Paleontology in grad school at Texas Tech and that is when I had my first immersive experience as a Geology TA. I started to understand things better because I had to teach them to people who had no clue what I was talking about. From that point on I wanted to teach people geology and have them understand what became so fascinating to me. I have since moved on and am starting my doctorate in regular paleontology (not vertebrate) in the Fall at the University of Utah and have built up a website (Dinojim.com) to help people learn about the basics of geology and I provide some out of the box teaching tools and information to help others learn geology.
So that is my story. Not all that interesting but I always find it fascinating that I started out loving dinosaurs to being more interested in teaching people about geology and finding out what other information there is to be had (but don't get me wrong, I still love dinosaurs).