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

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.

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!

Lily Lucas

Curriculum Concentration: Geophysics
Bio & Career Goals: Lily is from Plymouth, Michigan in metro-Detroit and is a major in Geology with a specialty in Geophysics. She plays for the University of Illinois Women’s Soccer Team and when she is not playing soccer or studying, Lily loves to go on hiking trips and try to find some cool rocks. Lily currently works with Prof. Trish Gregg on a project studying subglacial volcanoes, specifically Westdahl in Alaska! As of now, she would like to be a professor. Lily enjoys talking about volcanoes and rocks with fellow Illini and prospective students!

Cynthia Ochoa

Curriculum Concentration: Geology Science and Letters, minoring in Secondary Education
Bio & Career Goals: Cynthia transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Fall 2019 from Morton College.  She decided to major in Geology after taking an introductory Geology course taught by a wonderful and passionate professor at Morton College, Professor Sleeth, who was an influential educator that ignited Cynthia's passion for Geology driving her to pursue it as a career. Growing up, the popular video game “Minecraft” introduced her to common rocks and minerals through a fun and easy way of mineral and rock exploration sparking an interest in Geology at a young age. Cynthia is also a Secondary Education minor as her time volunteering at the Adler Planetarium in downtown Chicago for 4 years made her realize her passion for teaching. She is pursuing to become a high school Earth Science teacher. Cynthia hopes to continue growing and blossoming the excitement in students to learn about the Earth.

Ryan Oeste

Curriculum Concentration: Geology Science and Letters
Bio & Career Goals:  Ryan Oeste, serves as the Vice President of the geology club. He is currently working with the Conroy lab, writing a senior thesis on Delta 18 oxygen data gathered from the shells of Foraminifera.  When Ryan is not looking at rocks you can find him riding one of my bikes. He is an avid cyclist who loves anything with two wheels. Ryan built and designed his own custom motorcycle and has rebuilt his pedal bikes a few too many times. Feel free to ask him about them! After undergrad, Ryan intends to go to grad school to research Paleoclimatology!