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Faces of DePauw

Danielle Sommerman ’25 Student

DePauw professors genuinely care about you, your well-being and your academic journey.

Discovering Connections

I chose DePauw because I wanted a school with a small student body where I could make personal connections with my peers and professors while being able to explore what fascinates me. DePauw professors genuinely care about you, your well-being and your academic journey. 

From a young age, I felt a deep connection to the rocks, plants and animals that surround us. I knew that it was my place to further environmental and earth research and advocate for change in current environmental injustices. 

What I consider to be the most transformative academic experience in my life took place during a field trip with Professor Wilkerson and my peers in our structural geology class to visit the Baraboo Syncline, a massive quartzite formation, in Wisconsin.

In class, we were learning about strain ellipses, stress factors, plumose structures and all sorts of other topics. At first, these concepts were mainly abstract to me, and although I understood them, I had not yet connected them to real rock formations. 

Using what we learned in class, we could use small-scale structures and concepts we could see above ground to determine what the strata looked like below ground. No longer were concepts restricted to books or classrooms; for once, I could truly apply the knowledge I had gained to tangible formations.

Because of this, I intend to pursue structural geology in graduate school. 

Major: Geology
Minors: Biology and anthropology
Involvement: Sustainability Leadership Program; Lilly Scholar and Honorary Rector Scholar; Environmental Fellows Program; Science Research Fellows; Cofounder of DePauw Neurodivergence Inclusion Association
Post-graduation: Plans to pursue a Ph.D. in structural geology