Geology major receives recognition after travels to Mongolia


The Appalachian Online

Jordan Boles

An Appalachian State University student traveled to New York City on Sunday to present research findings and personal experience gathered during her trip to Mongolia at the annual Explorers Club dinner, where she was also awarded a $2,000 grant.

Cameron Batchelor, junior geology major was awarded the grant on behalf of the Explorers Club to study geoscience in Mongolia. The Explorers Club is a professional society that is dedicated to the progress of field research and the preservation of the human instinct to explore.

Last year, Johnny Waters, bachelor’s adviser and professor at Appalachian, asked her to join him in Mongolia to conduct research and gather samples from the terrain the following summer. As a member of the Explorers club himself, Waters suggested that Batchelor apply for the grant.

“Being in Mongolia was a great experience,” Batchelor said. “I learned so much about Mongolian culture, and everyone was so nice. It felt like I was in a National Geographic magazine, that’s how beautiful everything was.”

Despite the allure of the foreign culture, when asked about the trip, both Waters and Batchelor agreed that the Mongolian landscape and climate proved to be a challenge.

“We were in a field in the middle of Western Mongolia, and had no communication with the outside world for twelve days,” Batchelor said. “We were spending nine hour days in the field, with many professional international scientists.”

Despite difficulties, Waters said Batchelor remained calm and collected throughout the trip.

“She was not treated as an undergrad among professionals, instead, she was there with a job to do,” Waters said. “Her mission was to collect samples for her undergrad thesis, and we were there to help when it came to the finer details.”

Batchelor’s other academic advisor, Sarah Carmichael accompanied them in Mongolia as well. She is also a geology professor with an interest in both ancient and modern environments.

She said it was exciting to see a student apply what had been implemented in the classroom to real life situations.

“I also think it’s good for [students] to see us in the field, thinking on our toes,” Carmichael said. “There’s not a lesson plan, and it’s not scripted.”

Batchelor said the trip to Mongolia further solidified her decision to be a geologist and to pursue a career in the field after college.

“I would strongly encourage students to study abroad, whether for geology or not,” she said. “The trip opened my eyes to a different culture and to a different perspective. I see the world differently, and it made me more passionate about what I do.”

Story: Jordan Boles, Intern News Reporter