Faculty & Staff Blogs
December 10, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! Our Early Decision Committee deliberations are complete, decisions have been released, and we are on to Spring Transfer Committee. So transfers, it’s your turn to get an inside look at our process as it applies specifically to your applications.
Overheard in Transfer Committee Today: She’s one of the students who would need freshman housing.
We were reviewing the application of a second-semester transfer freshman (a student currently enrolled in their first semester of college who is hoping to enroll at W&M for their second semester of college and beyond). At William & Mary, we require all freshmen to live on campus (and approximately 75% of all students live on campus as the residential component is a very important part of the W&M experience). We of course fill all of our freshman residence hall beds when we enroll our entering class from our freshman applicant pool each spring. So any student who is applying to transfer who is still classified as a freshman (someone who has yet to complete two full-time semesters of college) must be housed on campus in one of our freshman residence halls.
Because all of our freshman residence halls were filled from our freshman applicant pool, whether or not we can admit any second-semester transfer freshmen applicants is based on whether or not any current W&M freshmen have chosen to withdraw or leave campus. Generally speaking, only a handful of students do so which limits our ability to admit second-semester transfer freshmen. We share this part of our process not to frighten away any prospective second-semester transfer applicants but to help manage expectations and explain that part of our process. Oftentimes we have to deny great applicants simply because we do not have anywhere to house them as spring transfer applicants. However, such students are encouraged to apply again for the following fall when the housing restriction would no longer be in play.
So there you have it spring transfer applicants: an inside look. This will likely be our only blog for Spring Transfer Committee (the small number of Spring Transfer Applicants makes that Committee a relatively easy one to get through). More on the conclusion of both our Early Decision and Spring Transfer processes to come through our Decisions, Decisions blog series.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
December 6, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! The time has come. We are in the process of sending decisions via email to Early Decision applicants. Please be patient. It usually takes several hours (2-3 hours) for us to launch each of the 1200+ emails to each individual applicant. Plus there’s no way to predict how quickly your particular email server/client will receive and download the email we sent. But we can tell you some of the decisions are already on their way and more are in the queue. Here’s what you need to know about how decisions are released and what each decision means.
Receiving Your Decision
- Decision are sent via email to applicants only (parents do not receive a copy).
- They are sent to the email address you provided in your Common Application.
- The sender will be College of William & Mary.
- The subject line will be either “Good Things” or “William & Mary Admission Decision”
- Note that depending on your email server/client, our email might be sent to your spam or junk folder so please check those folders in addition to your in-box.
- Those admitted will receive both an email and a mailed letter. Those not admitted will receive an email only.
If you do not receive an email, and you’ve checked your spam and your junk folders, do not panic. There are a variety of reasons why this could happen. Please just call our office on Monday morning and let us know you didn’t receive a decision. We will investigate why that happened and will give you a call back. If a decision was sent and somehow didn’t get to your in-box, we will resend the decision email using a different email tool that evening (provided you call prior to 4:00pm) and we will send a hard copy in the mail. If a decision wasn’t sent we will let you know why and will move forward from there.
Types of Decisions
ADMIT: Congratulations and welcome to the Tribe! Yes, the “Good Things” email means what you think it means. You are the first members of the W&M Class of 2018. Pat yourself on the back, shout it from the rooftops, be proud of yourself – you’ve earned it! Break out your W&M gear, wear it to school on Monday; show your Tribe Pride to the world at large. You can be on the lookout for an official letter (signed by Dean Broaddus himself – he literally personally signs each and every offer of admission) in your mailbox in the coming days. The link in your decision email will take you to our admitted student website where you’ll find more information on W&M, how to submit your enrollment deposit and how to spread the good news on social media (be sure to use the #wm2018 hashtag). Again, congratulations and welcome to W&M!
Note: if you also applied to the Joint Degree Programme, those decisions are not made until the spring once we can review the entire applicant pool. You’ll receive a decision on that part of your application in the spring when we release regular decision results.
DEFER: We are truly sorry the decision could not be more positive. We know that W&M was your first choice and that you really love the College. We understand this news will be disappointing and likely also frustrating. We get it. You are bright, accomplished, stellar individuals and we wish we were able to admit every great student who applies to W&M. Unfortunately, we cannot. This decision is in no way a reflection of any wrongdoing or misstep on your part. It instead reflects the incredible strength of our applicant pool. This year more students applied for Early Decision than any previous year in W&M’s history; that means there was increased competition for a relatively similar number of spaces in the incoming class (we bring in about 35-37% of our class through ED).
Your application will be reviewed again in its entirety during our Regular Decision process. We certainly encourage you to make us aware of any new academic information (first-semester grades, new standardized test results, etc.) as well as any new high-level awards. You are also welcome to submit a letter/email/statement of continued interest. We will include that information with your original materials and review it all in the spring. We will send you another decision when we release results to our Regular Decision applicants (if you also applied to the Joint Degree Programme we will provide you that decision in the spring also).
DENY: We know there’s little we can say (and likely nothing at all) that will make this decision palatable. Please know that we take no joy in turning away any student, especially those who apply Early Decision. This decision in no way a reflection of any failure or fault on your part; nor does it mean you will not be admitted to or thrive at another college or university. It simply means that we were choosing from the best of the best, and we had to make some difficult decisions. This decision is a final one for your freshman application (likewise if you also applied to the Joint Degree Programme that decision is included in your email and is also final). We know that you will have other great options for next year, and those institutions will be lucky to have you as part of their incoming class. We wish you all the best in those pursuits.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
November 26, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! Committee is moving along well. In fact we have more behind us than in front of us. We’ve enjoyed digging back into reading season and laying the foundation for the Class of 2018. We’ve also enjoyed numerous snacks (the fruit snacks have been devoured, the Cheeze-Its are half-way gone, one bag of frosted animal crackers has come and gone and multiple cookie packs, chip packs, granola bars and candy bars have been consumed – for those of you concerned for our health, the bag of dried fruit is also empty). For the last “Overheard in Committee” blog from the 2013 Early Decision review, we thought we’d address an often discussed Committee topic.
Overheard in Committee today: That’s an impressive upward grade trend.
We were discussing a student who had improved from mostly Bs in 9th grade to all As in 11th grade. In GPA terms he had earned a GPA of 3.4 (weighted) in his freshman year and a 4.3 weighted GPA for his junior year. That’s a significant improvement to say the least. And his grades continued to improve as the course work got harder (he had only a few honors classes in 9th grade when his GPA was the lowest but had all honors and AP classes in 11th grade when he earned his best GPA).
With grade trends, we’d much rather see them on an upward trajectory than a downward one (that probably goes without saying). Oftentimes, outlier grades or significant blips in an academic record are accompanied by an explanation. However, many upward and downward trends are not (which is perfectly fine). In the case of upward trends we generally assume the earlier low grades are due either to the transition to high school and/or an underdeveloped work ethic (the increased work ethic tends to come with increased maturity which is a natural part of development during high school). Downward grade trends are most often caused by the transition into more challenging courses and the accompanying workloads and increased teacher expectations. Some students will dip initially and then rebound, others will continue the downward trend year after year.
What we’re evaluating here is a student’s overall work ethic and achievement record and whether both are at a level that will allow them to be successful at William & Mary. And of course we’re comparing those with both upward and downward grade trends to those who have maintained consistent academic records (remember, there are students who have demonstrated incredibly strong grades throughout high school). Of course, grades/grade trends are just one piece of this puzzle. Sometimes those with upward trends may have great other qualities (standardized testing, extracurricular activities, academic potential, intellectual curiosity, etc.) that help to balance the less stellar early grades. Likewise for those who have slight but not worrisome downward grade trends. At the end of the day, what the Committee is considering is whether we believe the student has adequately prepared themselves to be successful academically at W&M and how that student compares (both academically and personally) with the other great students applying for admission.
With that, we will head back to Committee (these decisions won’t make themselves after all). We wish everyone a wonderful holiday weekend and look forward to being in touch in December.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
PS: We know Early Decision applicants are eager to receive their decisions. While we do not have a release date as of yet, we do know that decisions will be released after December 1 (in other words at some point after the Thanksgiving holiday). We continue to appreciate everyone’s patience as we make our way through the review and Committee processes.
November 21, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! It’s time for Early Decision Committee. Each morning, all dean staff gather in our windowless conference room armed with application files, caffeine, sugar (our Early Decision Committee snack cart consists of Sam’s Club-size Cheeze-Its, Fig Newtons, Lays snack-size bags of chips, candy bars, trail mix, dried fruit, animal crackers (both regular and frosted), chewy granola bars and fruit snacks) and enthusiasm to begin shaping William & Mary’s Class of 2018. As we engage in our committee deliberations throughout the year (Early Decision, Regular Decision, Spring Transfer, Fall Transfer), our “Overheard in Committee” blog series will continue. In this blog we take our readers inside our discussions to help you understand how and why we make the decisions we make.
Overheard in Committee today: What does the profile say? (PS: we’d like to thank a loyal Admit It! follower for proposing this topic…it’s overheard in Committee almost every day, but we had never thought to blog about it until he suggested it.)
Almost every high school produces what’s called a profile: a detailed description of that school’s curriculum, grading policies, community and often times much more. It helps admission officers to understand CONTEXT. Context is crucial to how we review applications and to how we make decisions at W&M. Whether it’s cultural, educational, geographic, socioeconomic, or any one of numerous other varieties, context is important. It helps us to understand the environment in which you’ve achieved the results demonstrated in your application.
School context helps provide guidance for evaluating your transcript. What classes were available to you and which ones did you take? Does your school use a traditional 10-point grading scale or something different? Does your school weight your GPA and class rank (if provided), and if so, to what extent? If your high school doesn’t rank students, does it provide context clues related to rank (decile parameters, a high GPA, a median GPA, etc.). How many students from your high school go on to two and/or four-year colleges after graduating?
Each of us at W&M has specific regions for which we read. As a regional dean, it’s our job to know the schools in our regions (along with their curricula, relative competitiveness, grading scales, specialty magnet programs, etc.) and provide that context along with general geographic context to the second read each file receives (each application we receive is read at least twice – generally the second read is conducted by the regional dean). While we are familiar with A LOT of high schools, we cannot possibly keep up with every individual high school in our region. In those cases, and even in those cases where we are familiar with the high school, the profile can help us provide great insight into how competitive academically your school might be, what if any limits are placed on your scheduling process (are APs limited for example or are students required to take specific classes each year or is there block scheduling) and the kind of academic environment of which you’ve been a part. Armed with this information, we can make more informed evaluations of your academic achievements relative to your individual high school environment.
We hope that this particular blog helps our readers to understand that individual context is one very important component of our evaluation process. We know that each high school and each individual applicant has been shaped by various outside forces. Part of our process is to understand those forces and evaluate each applicant in the appropriate context. That context will then help to inform the bold, dynamic, engaging class we bring together.
Stay tuned next week for more insights from our Early Decision deliberations!
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
PS: We recognize that commencing committee will lead our eager ED applicants to ask us to forecast a decision release date. Unfortunately, as we’ve mentioned several times, that’s simply not possible. There’s no way to put a time on our Committee deliberations and the steps taken once that concludes to actually releasing decisions. As soon as we know when we’re releasing decisions (which we usually don’t know until we push the metaphorical button and release the emails) we will be sure to let everyone know. In the meantime, we thank you for your continued patience…especially this year with our extended application deadline and working with the new Common App.
November 14, 2013 by Chuck Bailey
This post begins what I plan to be a recurring series on drainage basins and watersheds. For earth scientists interested in landscapes and surface hydrology: drainage basins are a fundamental component of these natural systems.
A drainage basin consists of all the terrain that contributes water to a particular stream or river. For instance, rain that falls on the Geology building at William & Mary runs off into College Creek, College Creek flows south into the James River, and the James River debouches into the Chesapeake Bay at Hampton Roads. Drainage basins are diverse, ranging in size from near continental portions (i.e. Mississippi/Missouri and Amazon) to modest creeks that drain a few square kilometers, and small drainage basins are nested inside progressively larger basins. In what drainage basin are you reading this post?
I grew up on a patch of rolling upland terrain near Ivy, Virginia about 10 km west of Charlottesville in Albemarle County. I spent much of my youth in the local creek that meandered across the rural landscape. This was Ivy Creek. It is a small stream, typically a meter or two or three wide, with a sandy to gravelly bottom and steep muddy banks (1 to 2 meters high).
My friends and I had many adventures in Ivy Creek and its tributaries. We traipsed through the creek on hot summer days searching for cool water and deep shade. After snowfalls we’d build a snow ramp on the edge of Ivy Creek Branch, take to our sleds, glide down the nearby hill, hit the ramp, and often land askew in the partly frozen creek – good times!
Fond memories aside, Ivy Creek and its drainage basin are quite ordinary. Because the Ivy Creek drainage basin is so typical (or perhaps classic) it makes a nice embarkation point for an ongoing discussion about drainage basins.
The Ivy Creek watershed encompasses nearly 60 square kilometers (23 sq. miles). The stream begins along the northwestern slope of the Ragged Mountains and flows in a northeasterly direction for over 20 kilometers (~13 miles) where it joins the South Fork of the Rivanna River (a tributary to the James River).
The Ragged Mountains are a group of subdued and rounded hills underlain by granitic bedrock that solidified about a billion years ago. For a not so subdued and phantasmagoric story of this range read Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Tale of the Ragged Mountains” which ostensibly takes place here. All things considered, the old granitic bedrock in the Ivy Creek watershed is relatively uniform and homogeneous. As such, Ivy Creek flows across bedrock with a similar strength and erodibility throughout its drainage basin.
Consider Ivy Creek’s gradient: at its headwaters near Taylors Gap the stream has a steep gradient (~40 meters per km) that gradually lessens (~2-3 meters per km) near its confluence with the Rivanna. The longitudinal profile of Ivy Creek is steep near its headwaters and becomes progressively less steep further downstream. This concave up profile is very typical of many stream systems. Why do streams typically have such a profile?
Since the bedrock in the Ivy Creek basin is similar throughout the basin it is unlikely that the bedrock is exerting much of a control on the stream gradient. In a future post we’ll examine a stream that crosses bedrock of varying hardness and erodibility, but let’s get back to Ivy Creek.
Near Taylor’s Gap, Ivy Creek is perhaps 1 meter wide (~3’) and quite shallow; near its confluence with the Rivanna, Ivy Creek is upward of 5 meters wide (~16’) and plenty deep. As Ivy Creek flows downstream, traversing its basin, tributary streams join the main stem adding their flow to Ivy Creek, enlarging the channel and increasing the stream discharge.
These relations hold true for many stream systems:
- Stream channel slope (S) decreases downstream
- Mean stream discharge (Qm) increases downstream
Essentially, the gradient of a stream channel is proportional to an inverse function of its mean annual discharge. Perhaps a stream’s discharge plays a major role in controlling a stream’s gradient. I’ll leave it at that for the moment, but I am curious as to your thoughts.
November 12, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! The application engine needed a little bit of a kick to get started, but now it’s humming away. Early Decision and Spring Transfer applications are rolling in and making their way through our processing area (being downloaded from Common App, being matched with accompanying materials, etc.). There is still a bit of a backlog due to some of the technical glitches students, high schools and colleges have been experiencing, so we continue to ask for your patience.
Every 24 hours we update our system. So each day, any newly downloaded application from the Common Application will trigger the initial “we’ve received your application” email to both you and your parents. Likewise, any application completed in the past 24 hours will trigger the follow-up “your application is now complete” email to you and your parents. Remember, there can be a one to two week (and maybe even longer) delay between the initial and second email during Early Decision/Spring Transfer timeline and a three to four week delay during the Regular Decision timeline. Keep in mind we are also focusing our efforts first on Early Decision applications, than spring transfer applications, then Regular Decision applications and finally Fall Transfer applications. So if you’re a Regular Decision or Fall Transfer applicant, we may not process your application at this point as quickly as someone who’s applied for Early Decision or Spring Transfer.
If we get through processing every application and every accompanying document we have and your application remains incomplete, we will send you an email to let you know what we’re missing and how to submit it. So please check your in-boxes frequently.
We still do not know to what, if any degree, the extended deadline will alter our review timeline for Early Decision and Spring Transfer applications so please don’t press us for a release date. We will launch those decisions as soon as our process can run its course. We likely won’t know when we’re releasing decisions until we’re ready to send the emails but we promise to keep everyone posted.
Stay tuned for more on our Early Decision and Spring Transfer processes through our “Overheard in Committee” blog series in the weeks to come.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M. Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
November 6, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! Applications are rolling in and we couldn’t be more thrilled. We know that the anxiety doesn’t disappear the second you click submit, so we want to provide a detailed account of how applicants can keep up to date on the status of their W&M application.
Our first step is to download your application from the Common Application. Once we do, we will send an initial email to you and your parents letting you know we’ve received your Common App and that your application is being processed (we will email you and your parents at the email addresses provided in your application). Usually we are able to do this within a few business days of you clicking submit. That is not always the case however especially given some of the technical difficulties both students and colleges are experiencing at this time. Additionally, as we get closer to application deadlines, more and more students submit which causes a little bit of a back-log in our system. So please, BE PATIENT. Note: any materials we receive prior to the submission of your Common App (recommendation letters, transcripts, test scores, etc.) we simply hold on to until we receive your actual application. So it’s perfectly okay for application components to come in one at a time or altogether. Either way, we will begin a file for you once we receive your Common Application and work on matching that with other materials received prior to or after submission at that point.
Next we begin to match your application with the other required materials (application fee, transcript, standardized test scores). This can take several weeks and even up to a month for those who apply Regular Decision and who submit close to the January 1 deadline. Once we do match your application with its other components and we complete your application, you and your parents will get a second email to notify you that your application is complete. Again, please BE PATIENT. We simply need time to receive, open, alphabetize, match and compile tens of thousands of separate documents into 14,000 complete applications. Please note that we are not able to confirm receipt of optional materials (art submissions, recommendation letters, etc.). We receive thousands of such documents each year and in order to complete and review applications in a timely fashion, we cannot account for every individual optional component an applicant submits.
If for any reason we are missing any required component, we will email you, the applicant, letting you know what’s missing and how to submit those missing documents. There is no penalty assessed. We just ask that you respond to that email in a timely fashion.
Finally, decisions are released by email to the applicant only. Please don’t ask us to forecast a decision release date. There are hundreds of moving parts to reviewing applications and compiling our incoming class. As soon as decisions are released, we will make that announcement via our website, this blog and our social media channels.
So, the morals of this story: 1) we have applications – YIPPEE, 2) keep an eye on your inbox for application status updates and a decision when the time comes and 3) BE PATIENT with us as we make our way through this process with you.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
November 4, 2013 by Chuck Bailey
My family has a tradition of going camping about once per semester. Back in the spring of 2011, as the Appalachians were beginning to green up, we headed west to Rockfish, Virginia for a weekend camping trip to my Uncle Joe’s farm. Joe’s farm is located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and I’d call the scenery sublime.
Bedlam reigned as we unpacked and set up camp, so much bedlam that I needed quiet time alone. Off I set on a hike through the woods. A half-mile of hiking brought me to the verge of this old abandoned quarry.
It was a commanding view with spectacular rocks exposed in the walls of the quarry. The bedrock here is a metamorphosed conglomerate, a coarse-grained conglomerate chock-a-block full of clasts, many larger than basketballs. The clasts are fragments of older rocks that were eroded, transported, and deposited long ago.
The conglomerate is stratified, but the layers have been tilted and are lying on end. These layers were tilted past vertical and are overturned – that is, the older layers are structurally above the younger layers (an inverted stratigraphic sequence).
I was giddy with geologic questions. In what depositional environment was this conglomerate deposited? Why are these layers tilted and overturned?
The quarry I’d stumbled upon exposes the Rockfish Conglomerate, a geologic unit in the eastern Blue Ridge first defined by Wilbur Nelson in 1932 for outcrops along the Rockfish River about a kilometer to the southwest (geologists commonly name stratigraphic units for a particular location where the rocks are first described and typically are well exposed, it’s known as the type location). This curious conglomerate has been studied by a number of geologists, but nowhere could I find any reference to the exposure at the quarry.
Since the “discovery” I’ve taken classes to see these rocks and invited other geologists to these outcrops. Callan Bentley at Northern Virginia Community College wrote a blog post and captured a lovely Gigapan image from an early visit to the quarry. Just last year Zach Foster-Baril decided to tackle the Rockfish Conglomerate as his senior research topic. Zach just presented the results of this work as a talk last week at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Denver.
We have learned much from our field and lab work over the past year. Our geologic mapping reveals that the Rockfish Conglomerate was deposited in a trough that was eroded into the underlying and older granitic basement rocks. The trough was later filled with the coarse sediment that became the Rockfish Conglomerate. Years earlier I’d posited that the contact between the basement rocks and the overlying metasedimentary cover rocks was a fault, but Zach’s detailed field data make it clear that the boundary is an unconformity.
As the rocks in the Rockfish area are tilted into an almost vertical orientation we can turn the geologic map on its side to approximate the original geometry of this sequence.
Instead of north, south, east, and west we’ve got stratigraphic up (top) and down (bottom) with the oldest rocks at the bottom. From this perspective it is clear that the granitic basement rocks (green) originally were beneath the Rockfish conglomerate (orange), which occupies an irregular trough a few hundred meters deep. An intrusive gabbro body (lavender), as sills and dikes, cuts both the granitic rocks and overlying metasedimentary rocks.
In what environment were these sediments (now thoroughly lithified rocks) deposited?
Cobbles and boulders are not easily transported: high-energy processes are needed to move bowling ball-sized rocks. Suitable conditions occur in mountain streams where fast-moving turbulent waters rage during floods. As the torrent reaches the mountain front, the current slackens and the stream’s load of cobbles and boulders is deposited at the mountain front creating a distinctive wedge of alluvial deposits out into the valley.
But fast moving water effectively sorts sediment based on its grain size. Particles of similar size are deposited along with each other; so as pebbles are deposited, the sand and mud (the smaller particles) continue to be transported by the flowing water. The Rockfish Conglomerate is a very poorly sorted rock and lacks many of the sedimentary structures we’d expect in alluvial fan deposits.
In the 1980’s Frederick Wehr, at the time a graduate student at Virginia Tech, studied the exposures along the Rockfish River and concluded that the sequence was not a terrestrial alluvial fan deposit, but rather a subaqueous marine deposit formed from glacial outwash and mass flow turbidites. Our observations at the quarry are consistent with Wehr’s interpretations. A glaciomarine origin for these rocks is compatible with 1) the wide range of grain sizes (boulder to silt/sand), 2) the prominent parallel stratification present throughout the Rockfish Conglomerate, and 3) the conformable nature of the overlying strata in the Lynchburg Group.
After the talk my colleague Michelle Markley from Mt. Holyoke College plaintively asked Zach to show the audience some dropstones.
Dropstones are literally stones dropped from above into sediment layers at the bottom of a lake or ocean. They are inferred to form when rock laden lake or sea ice rafted off glaciers melts, thereby “dropping” the sediment, from boulders to mud, that was entrained in the ice. Dropstones commonly deform or deflect the underlying strata and are draped by younger layers of sediment. These sedimentary features are not only visually stunning, but typically taken as key evidence for glaciogenic sedimentation into a basin.
Michelle’s question was right on point, we’d not offered up any dropstones for viewing.
Individual dropstones (called by some geologists – lonestones) are not common in the Rockfish Conglomerate. The picture below highlights a candidate for a Rockfish dropstone, but it won’t win any dropstone beauty contest.
A few plausible reasons for the lack of readily identifiable dropstones in the Rockfish Conglomerate include: 1) the coarse conglomerate was deposited in a proximal position relative to the glacial ice and as such the flux of coarse-grained sediment was huge, 2) abundant ice-rafted debris falling into a coarse mixture of sand is less likely to stand out as a dropstone when there are lots of clasts (no lonestones here), and 3) these rocks experienced later deformation and metamorphism such that the matrix is a recrystallized mixture of quartz and mica which does not preserve fine-scale details of the depositional environment.
Zach’s research provides new data on the Rockfish Conglomerate, but many questions remain. A few include:
- When was the Rockfish Conglomerate deposited? Stratigraphic relations indicate that the Rockfish Conglomerate was deposited during the Neoproterozoic Era between 570 and 1,000 million years ago. The possible age range for when these rocks were deposited is >400 million years, that’s lousy age control.
- What created the trough in the basement complex into which the Rockfish Conglomerate was deposited? Possibilities include either glacial or fluvial erosion during a low stand of sea level.
- Is the Rockfish Conglomerate associated with widespread glacial episodes that occurred during the Neoproterozoic? The Neoproterozoic was a time of tremendous climate oscillation, some researchers argue for a Snowball Earth in which glacial ice covered much of the planet.
- How much strain/deformation has the Rockfish Conglomerate experienced? Outcrop-scale deformation structures are common. To better understand original sedimentary geology we need to quantify the amount of shortening, stretching, and rotation these rocks enjoyed.
- When was the Rockfish Conglomerate deformed, metamorphosed, and tilted? Regional data suggest these events occurred during the Paleozoic Era, but as with the Neoproterozoic: the Paleozoic encompasses an expansive amount of Earth history.
That is the nature of research – some questions get answered and other new ones arise. The good news is that Gussie Maguire, a Geology/English double major and mystery tweeter, has taken up the charge. Her thesis research is aimed at answering some of the outstanding questions regarding the Rockfish Conglomerate. On we go.
October 31, 2013 by Admit It!
We Admit It! We’re likely all breathing a sigh of relief that tomorrow is just November 1 and not our first application deadline. Just a friendly reminder that we have extended our Early Decision and spring transfer deadlines one week to Friday, November 8.
However, if your application is ready, please feel free to submit it. We know that despite many technical glitches, students are able to submit their applications. Submitting with a few days’ leeway will help to ensure that you have time to work through any technical problems you may encounter. As a shout out to your counselors and recommenders, please give them some lead time also; they will greatly appreciate it. Our next week’s blog will outline our process for updating you on your application status.
Should you have any questions as the deadline approaches, please let us know (by blog comment, phone, email, carrier pigeon, whatever works for you). Remember however, any questions regarding the Common Application itself should be directed to their help center.
No doubt you are excited to get to the submitting. We are excited to get to the reading.
Wendy Livingston ’03, M.Ed. ‘09
Associate Dean of Admission
October 28, 2013 by Melody Porter
Branch Out held a Homecoming reception this weekend to welcome back alumni who participated in alternative breaks while they were here. It was quite a crowd, with people buzzing in from all over the world. Some of those I talked to had come from places as far away as Ireland, San Diego and Tanzania recently.
One student director alumna is working with migrant workers in North Carolina, developing education sessions on health and safety practices to share with them to mitigate the high risks they face in their labors. Another alumnus is studying for his master’s in higher education, and continues to be involved in alternative breaks – no longer as a site leader, but as an adviser. One former site leader talked about her work, which isn’t quite in the field she wants to be in, but she is busy finding ways to connect her experience in environmental sustainability to what she does. Another alumnus, who is now a community partner for one of our national trips, told me about his meeting earlier that day with the site leaders he’ll be working with this March. And one alumna wasn’t part of our program but stopped by to tell us about her recent time in East Africa, and to see about ways that she could support our two international alternative breaks that go to countries where Swahili is spoken.
The vision of Branch Out alternative breaks is to create a community of active and educational individuals dedicated to the pursuit of social justice. Throughout the year, I see this happening in different ways. I see it when our site leaders gather and work together to develop trips that will support community-driven work for social change. I see it when participants on a trip laugh together over simple meals eaten in community center basements, and later struggle together in reflection about how to tutor better tomorrow. And last night, I saw how this community continues even when it is dispersed across the world, as breakers who continue to live out their unique commitments to social justice met up with current program leaders and participants who welcomed them back with gracious hospitality, eager to hear their stories and glimpse into their futures as active citizens.