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Josh Lieberman

Energy is what interests Josh Lieberman. Specifically, the global energy sector. So, how did a geology major who hopes to work in the energy field end up tracing the Ganges River in India all the way from its headwaters in the Himalayan Mountains down to its multiple mouths in the Bay of Bengal? Good question.

Josh is a pragmatic guy. He knows that a strong background in geology and environmental geosciences will help him excel in the energy sector. So, as a freshman, he took the intro to geology course. “My professor in that class hooked me up with Prof. Vulava, who studies geochemistry. I ended up working with him on two research projects, and he introduced me to Prof. Callahan, who specializes in hydrology. When those two professors put together a study abroad program to India, I knew I wanted to do it. I love to travel, but I also needed to complete a required field study course for the major, so this was a great fit.

“As a geology major, I have to get out in the field to really apply what I’ve learned in class. It’s very difficult for me to visualize something on a blackboard, but if I can pick up a rock in the field, that’s entirely different. The geology department makes that easy.”

In India, Josh and his classmates studied the entire river. “We took samples and conductedchemical analyses, and then we’d sit in our groups and discuss the data. We’d say, ‘what is the geology of the area, and why do our findings make sense?’ We really were using information from the courses we’d all taken: sedimentology, mineralogy, petrology – all of those courses. To me, that was important because we put our conceptual knowledge to work.”

The experience in India confirmed Josh’s decision about coming to the College. “There were a number of reasons why I considered the College, but I didn’t realize until after I had settled in as a freshman that it was the faculty that really mattered to me. That’s the main reason I’m here. My professors keep me grounded and focused. If you show that you care, that you want to be part of something and apply yourself to the work, they’ll be there for you 100 percent.”

Program Information

Geology majors from the College end up in a wide variety of professional roles. That’s because our program enables them to tailor their studies in the way that best prepares them for the next step, whether that’s graduate study or professional employment. One of the greatest strengths of this department is the emphasis on student research. Our students have the opportunity to work with faculty members on a wide range of projects from seismology to lunar geology and from GIS to marine geology. The world is our laboratory


  • Our graduates attend top institutions worldwide, from the University of Tokyo to Cambridge University.
  • The department is home to NASA’s South Carolina’s Space Grant Consortium.
  • Lowcountry Hazards Center (earthquake sensing and monitoring) is part of our department.
  • The department curates the school’s natural history museum.
  • We also house Project Oceanica (a multifaceted ocean research program).
  • Majors have access to our new GIS training facility and remote-sensing lab.
  • Student conduct research using our state-of-the- art analytical equipment.


  • Our department offers students assistantships and grants to support independent research.

Contact Information

Mitchell Colgan
Department Chair