William Paterson University Students Win Best Student Paper Award from Geological Society of America

William Paterson University students Randall Sanders and Alyssa Apryasz have been selected as recipients of the 2015 Geology & Society Best Student Paper Award from the Geology & Society Division of the Geological Society of America.  The Geological Society of America annually recognizes undergraduate, master’s and doctoral students for quality research in the geophysical sciences with these prestigious and competitive awards based on oral and poster presentations at organization meetings. Their paper was highly rated among the judges for the quality of presentation and connection to the concept of geology working for society.

Sanders and Apryasz were honored for their paper, Connecting Grade 3-12 Students to Natural Geoscience Processes in Their Local Urban National Park, which they co-presented at the society’s 2015 annual meeting in Baltimore last November.  The paper outlines a collaborative project between the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, the Paterson Museum, and William Paterson University designed to position the national park as an educational resource for Paterson students in grades 3 through 12. The two students were involved in helping to develop science standard-aligned curriculum packages focused on natural geo-scientific processes such as geology, hydrology, ecology, and the interconnectedness of the natural and human environment specific to Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park in conjunction with a hands-on, on-site visit to the park, a hands-on, on-site visit to Paterson Museum, and pre- and post-lesson plans.

Sanders and Apryasz collaborated with William Paterson University environmental science professors Nicole Davi and Michael Griffiths; Ilyse Goldman, supervisory park ranger at Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park; Bruce Balistrieri, curator at the Paterson Museum; and Betsy Golden, professor in residence, William Paterson University College of Education, to develop a lesson plan package focused on dynamic weathering and erosional processes that have contributed to the formation of the Paterson Falls, topics aligned with the 7th grade science curriculum in the Paterson Public Schools. The lesson plan is the first of several that will be developed through the continuing collaboration.  The project is funded by a grant from the Landsberger Foundation.

Sanders, of Wallington, graduated from William Paterson in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in earth science and secondary education, magna cum laude.  Apryasz, of Hawthorne, is a rising senior majoring in biology and secondary education.