Jackson Stiles

Major: Earth Science

Many of us haven’t gone on a field trip since elementary school. For Rice Earth Science majors, though, the era of field trips never has to end.

“My favorite thing about my major definitely has to be the field trips. Most classes have a field trip portion that includes going to places such as Southern California, Hill Country Texas, New Mexico, Seattle, Hawaii, or Belize, to name a few,” said senior Earth Science major Jackson Stiles. “I would recommend Earth Science to an incoming environmentally minded student because no other major so easily and accessibly allows you to independently explore the natural world.”

Geological Techniques (ESCI 334) exemplifies this. “The class is centered around a field trip to New Mexico,” explained Stiles. “Before the trip we review the geological history of North America as well as the current terrain. Then we go on the trip and independently explore an area, mapping it and understanding the modern day implications of geological history. Then, after the trip, we use geographical information systems (GIS) software to map our findings in a digital and accessible medium.”

Outside his classes, Stiles plays intramural sports, participates in student government at his residential college, and serves as president of the Rice Undergraduate Geosciences Society (RUGS). “Being a part of the undergraduate earth science club improved my experience not only by helping foster a community but also by increasing my awareness and understanding of research and employment opportunities related to my major,” said Stiles.

Through exposure to these opportunities through RUGS and impactful mentorship by one of his professors, Stiles has developed a unique career plan. “Professor Helge Gonnermann openly and honestly communicated with me not only about academia but also his life story and perspective. In doing this he built a relationship of trust with me and helped me decide my own career path for the future.”

After graduation, Stiles wants to continue applying his knowledge to real-world problems. He plans to work as a strategy consultant focused on the energy industry for a company called EY-Parthenon. He explained, “I want to gain a better understanding of what the industry looks like outside of the classroom.”

Stiles then hopes to use what he learns as a consultant to help change industry from within for the better. “I plan to get an MBA focused on sustainability and strategic planning so I can work on helping make companies more environmentally friendly in a cost-effective manner,” he said.