Meet our Geology Ambassadors

The Geology Ambassadors present the department to prospective students, alumni, and guests.  They also promote Geology at campus events.  If you would like to meet with an ambassador, email

Jesse Chavez

Curriculum Concentration: Science and Letters
Bio & Career Goals:  Jesse plans to attend graduate school in the Western US to study mineralogy and petrology.  He would like to either apply his mineralogy skills in the mining industry, or continue studying petrology  and pursue a career in academia researching igneous or metamorphic petrology. Ultimately moving west and living in the mountains is his dream.

Marjie Cone

Curriculum Concentration: Specialized Geology
Bio & Career Goals: Marjie plans to go to graduate school to study paleontology.  She has wanted to be a paleontologist since childhood.  For the past four years, she has had the privilege of working as a teaching assistant for the Biology and Paleontology Summer Field Camps with the Sternberg Museum of Natural History.  Throughout this job, Marjie has traveled the world teaching kids about our Earth.  She hopes to continue to pursue paleontology throughout her life.  She is currently doing research with Dr. Max Christie on brachiopod fossils based out the of the Cincinnati Arch.  Marjie cannot wait to see where the knowledge she has gained at Illinois will take her.

Cam DeSilva

Curriculum Concentration:  Specialized Geology
Bio & Career Goals: Cam transferred to the University of Illinois in Spring 2018 from Waubonsee Community College.  He switched to geology from accounting after taking an environmental geology class at Waubonsee.  Cam is currently doing research in Prof. Willy Guenthner's Helium Analysis Lab looking at zircon (U-Th)/He dating in zircon.  He is most interested in structural geology and geochemistry.  Cam plans to attend graduate school and pursue a career teaching at the high school or community college level.

Brooke Dykstra

Curriculum Concentration: Specialized Geology
Bio & Career Goals:  Brooke is an undergraduate Geology major who is interested in studying structural geology and tectonics as well as geophysics when she attends graduate school.  She enjoys spending her time in the outdoors, and is currently researching "Flexural Uplift Magnitude of the Ozark Plateau During the Paleozoic".  She is also the President of the Geology Club and invites all to bring their coolest rocks and their fun selves to an upcoming meeting.

Ariana Echevarria

Curriculum Concentration: Geology Science and Letters
Bio & Career Goals: Ariana is a senior from Waukegan, Illinois. I transferred from College of Lake County community college in Fall 2018. Her major is Geology Science and Letters and she has an interest in volcanology. Ariana is currently working on research with Trish Gregg modeling the lithosphere of Io (Jupiter's moon)! She plans to attend graduate school for geology to become a professional geologist. 


Garrett Frank

Curriculum Concentration: Specialized Geology
Bio & Career Goals: Garrett is an undergraduate majoring in Geology with an interest in Geomorphology and Climate. Current, Garrett is working with Dr. Alison Anders studying post-glacial river development. He hopes to attend graduate school upon graduation. Eventually, Garrett would like to pursue a career in academia.

Nick Karahalios

Curriculum Concentration: Geophysics
Bio & Career Goals: Nick  is a senior from Winnetka, IL majoring in Geophysics. Particularly fascinated by tectonics and volcanology, he plans to attend grad school focusing on these fields, and ultimately aspiring to work for NASA as a researcher and hopefully an astronaut!

Katie Mandera

Curriculum Concentration: Geophysics
Bio & Career Goals: Katie is a senior in Geology and is working towards a certificate in GIS. She has been a research assistant at the Illinois State Geological Survey since May 2017; currently she works in the Quaternary Department mapping superficial geology and bedrock topography in Illinois. Katie has been involved with Geology Club for the past three years and highly recommends anyone interested in geology reaching out! After graduating, Katie hopes to find a job that utilizes GIS, Sedimentology and Stratigraphy, Geophysics, or Structural Geology.

McKailey Sabaj

Curriculum Concentration: Specialized geology with an environmental geology concentration
Bio & Career Goals: I am a senior currently doing isotope geochemistry research with Strontium on the Mahomet aquifer. I hope to pursue contaminant hydrogeology in graduate school using modeling through MODFLOW, GIS, and python, and my experience with geochemistry. I hope to move to an area with mountains!