Meet a Sean Gallen!

Sean Gallen
Sean Gallen
























Sean F. Gallen was recently awarded first place in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences category at the 2012 Graduate Student Research Symposium. A doctoral candidate with a degree concentration in geology, Gallen's winning poster is entitled Assessing Fault Activity Using Quaternary Marine Terraces: Testing Models for Earthquake Hazards and Topographic Development above the Hellenic Subduction Zone Crete, Greece.

Originally from Syracuse, New York, Gallen received his B.A. in geology and political science (double major) from the University of Vermont. He says that he was ". . .a late comer to geology." But after taking an introductory course at Vermont, he was hooked! He declared a second major and knew that he wanted concentrate on geology. Gallen then earned his M.S. in geology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. So, how did he end up at NC State?

Gallen says that there were three main reasons to pick NC State to pursue further graduate work. He thought that the geology program in the interdisciplinary department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences was a good fit for him. He liked his advisor's (Dr. Karl Wegmann) mentoring philosophy that allowed him to develop and pursue independent project ideas while at the same time collaborate with various researchers, both domestic and abroad. Gallen also found the research projects that he has been offered to perfectly fit his interests, thus making the decision to come to NC State easy.

His graduate research is now focused on ". . .studying the impact that plate tectonics have on the development of landscapes." More specifically, Gallen hopes that by 'reading' the tectonic imprint on the landscape, we can ". . .come to a better understanding of earthquake hazards associated with a given region."

Gallen is concentrating his efforts on ". . .seismic hazards posed by active faults in the Eastern Mediterranean." His study of this area, however, is two fold. First, he believes that through constraint of seismic hazards in this area, people in that region can ". . .be better prepared for any impending earthquakes." Also, Gallen wants to know how these same faults relate to the development of off-shore basins in the region ". . . as they may be future targets for natural resource exploration."

He says that the most fulfilling part of his graduate studies at NC State has been pursuing research that is both interesting and has practical implications. And his studies have been enriched further when he is able ". . .to travel internationally, study great geology, and meet wonderful people. . . ."

Additionally, Gallen says that he has really enjoys participating in the Graduate Student Research Symposium. He thinks the symposium is ". . . an important event as a graduate student because it is one of the few events in which we have the opportunity to share our research with a more general audience." He doesn't find the poster preparation overwhelming, but it helps him organize his data and provides an outline for professional publications. And that's his advice to future symposium participants -- organize your presentation and communicate effectively so that your research is understandable to people who are unfamiliar with your field.

And when he's not working and studying, Gallen says that he likes to relax by spending time with his girl friend and by running. He hasn't tackled the Krispy Kreme Challenge yet, but hopes to participate next year. Gallen also likes to travel whenever possible -- right now, he travels mostly to visit friends and family. But after graduation, he's planning a trip to northern India.

Click here to view archived Graduate School stories.