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EC student presents research at national geology conference

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With steady movement from the plates in the Himalayan region, it’s predictable that earthquakes and landslides would plague the area. What isn’t quite as predictable is how consistent natural disasters would inspire a third grader to shake things up in a whole new way.

Javaria Aziz, 20, geology major, grew up in Pakistan with mountains and “constant” earthquakes before moving to Los Angeles with her mother at 16 years old.

She recently accomplished something many in her field do not accomplish until they are graduate students.

Aziz was invited to present her research on a bulk sampling of 30 different fossil beds from a field site near Santa Barbara at the Geological Society of America Seattle Conference.

“Presenting at the biggest geologist conference in the country was a prestigious honor,” Aziz said.

As one of the youngest researchers there, the only community college student, and the only western participant, Aziz also received the Paleontological Society Student Ambassador Scholarship, funding her entire trip.

While she is accomplishing the extraordinary, people around Aziz recognize her riveting understanding of the magnitude of her accomplishments.

“We’re happy for her professionally, but we’re also excited for her personally because she’s not taking this for granted,” geology professor Sara Di Fiori said.

According to earth science professor Joe Holliday, what Aziz has already accomplished is considered “unprecedented.”

“She is our most amazing geology major,” Holliday said. “She’s the president of the Science Club (so) she’s already influencing other geologist majors.”

Aziz also works at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles where she was able to build relationships and provide internship opportunities for EC students.

“I try to get people to have the same opportunities as I did,” Aziz said.

Aziz said she is inspired by the fact that she is able to be a woman of color promoting diversity in a field where it is lacking, along with the fact that in her native country, Pakistan, most are steer towards being doctors and engineers.

Because of that, Aziz is on a mission to talk about geology on as many forums as possible.

“I am looking forward to giving a talk (soon) at South Bay Mineral Lapidary Society as an outreach source for getting more people to work in research collections,” Aziz said.

The fire burning inside of Aziz began blazing long ago and she’s now harnessing the flame to begin her journey as an established geologist.

“Geology is my passion. It’s not just a career choice because I am passionate about studying the earth, specifically (doing) field work,” Aziz said.

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The student news site of El Camino College
EC student presents research at national geology conference