Alumni Information

Alumni graduating from the Department’s undergraduate or graduate program have gone on to become successful employees in many Geoscience companies or academic programs.

Below are highlights of some of our past students.

Alumni Contact Form:We value keeping in touch with our Alumni! Use this online form to submit your current information to the Department.

Theses and Dissertations: 1984-Present

Jeff Pompeo
New Mexico Office of the State Engineer, Water Master
M.S. Water Resource Management, 2008

I attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) from fall of 2003 until fall of 2008. I earned a Masters Degree in Water Resources. While I was in school, I held internships at the Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority as a Conservation Aid and a Hydrologist Assistant. The knowledge I gained from course work at UNLV and the hands on experience during school helped me further my career. I am currently employed by the New Mexico Office of the State Engineer as the Santa Fe / Nambe, Pojoaque, and Tesuque Water Master. As a water master, my primary focus is groundwater management. I am the lead field person for a domestic monitoring well project that is the first of its kind in the state of New Mexico. I work with settlement agreement well owners to ensure they comply with agreement rules and regulations, monitor surface diversions and use of the water on a daily basis during irrigation season, and ensure equitable distribution of water for those who have adjudicated water rights in the Santa Fe, Nambe, Pojoaque, and Tesuque Basins.

Matt McKelvey
Austin Peay State University, Adjunct Faculty
M.S. Geology, 2008

I obtained my Masters degree in May 2008. Since then, I have began working as an Adjunct Faculty member, teaching Physical Geology and Physical Geology lab, at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee. While attending the UNLV Geoscience Department, I obtained the knowledge and teaching experience that prepared me for this faculty position.

Matt Faust
M.S. Geology, 2005

Abby and I left Las Vegas and headed straight to Galore Creek in remote, northern British Columbia to take seasonal jobs working for NovaGold, a Canadian junior mineral exploration company. We’ve had a great summer, enjoying both our work and the scenery very much.

I have been working as Drill Geologist, filling an environmental technician role. Most of my time is spent surveying and helping to coordinate drill rigs and to reclaim drill pads. Abby has been working as a Core Logger this summer. She is definitely one of the projects best new loggers and has been recognized as a very valuable employee. Unfortunately for NovaGold, she still wants to become a helicopter pilot.

As this season winds down, we are still considering our next move. Most likely we will return to Alaska to buy a house and settle down for a while. Hopefully, we should be able to find jobs in the exploration, environmental, or geotechnical fields in Anchorage.

Anna Draa
Converse Consultants, Project Geologist
M.S. Geology, 2004

I earned my M.S. in Geology (concentration in hydrology) from the Geoscience Department at UNLV in 2004. Since then, for nearly 5 years, I have played a major role in developing and applying geologic and hydrogeologic interpretations to address and fulfill various study needs throughout Nevada working as a Project Geologist for Converse Consultants in Las Vegas. I have been extensively involved in groundwater analyses throughout southern Nevada. My work has included several shallow groundwater evaluations supported by complex recharge, water balance, and groundwater contamination studies as well as oversight of the siting, designing, construction management, testing, and analysis of numerous hydrogeologic projects.

Tammy Diaz-Martinez
New Mexico State Environment Department, Hazardous Waste Bureau
M.S. Geology, 2004

I graduated from UNLV in 2004 with my MS in Geosciences. I moved back to New Mexico shortly after I graduated and was hired on with the New Mexico State Environment Department, Hazardous Waste Bureau. I am the project leader for the cleanup efforts and environmental restoration project at Fort Wingate Depot Activity which is located in Gallup, NM.

I married my husband Matthew Martinez in June 2006; he is a detective with the City of Santa Fe Police Department. In August 2007, we had Liliana Martinez. Currently, I own two dogs, Zeus and Simon; I lost my Mason in September. We live in Santa Fe, New Mexico which is where we both work.

Jonathan Zybala
ExxonMobil, Geologist
M.S. Geology, 2004

Jonathan is currently employed by ExxonMobil in Houston, TX. He graduated with a MS in Geology from UNLV in August of 2004 and started his employment in October of the same year. As part of ExxonMobil¡¯s New Hire Development Program, Jonathan spent his first 8 months with the company in an Exploration rotation integrating various datasets including well logs, visual core descriptions, and 3D seismic data to help better constrain the structural history and its effects on the stratigraphy present in the Doba Basin of Chad, Africa. At present Jonathan is in his second 8-month rotation where he is working in Geophysical Recourses. This Technical rotation includes a subset of mini-projects and/or formal training in Geophysical Operations and Applications, Seismic Processing, Gravity and Magnetics. Jonathan is scheduled to complete his third rotation in the Production Company in October of 2006, after which he will choose a Skill Area to focus his career development, training, and future assignments within ExxonMobil.

Jared D. Lubben
Placer Dome Exploration, Geologist
M.S. Economic Geology, 2004

I completed my M.S. in Economic Geology in August, 2004. The main objectives of my thesis were to identify geochemical and isotopic characteristics of ore fluids at a prominent Carlin-type gold deposit. During the course of my thesis I integrated such tools as petrography, electron microprobe analyses, ion probe analyses, and microthermometry.

I am currently employed as a project geologist with Placer Dome Exploration in Reno, Nevada. Placer Dome is one of the world¡¯s largest mining companies and has interests in 17 mining operations on five continents. I started with Placer Dome as a contract geologist in May, 2004. On January 1st, 2005, I was hired as a full time geologist initially given responsibilities surrounding field data acquisition including geologic mapping, field sampling, and drill core/chip logging.

In April, 2005, I was promoted to project geologist and charged with the added responsibilities surrounding exploration project management. These new responsibilities include the design of surface geochemical and geophysical surveys, oversight of sampling crews and other hired contractors, design of exploration drill programs, and budget management.

During my time at Placer Dome, I have been able to integrate geologic mapping with several geochemical and geophysical techniques with the common goal of discovering gold deposits of economic importance. I have also been able to use state-of-the-art technology surrounding digital field data acquisition and 3D modeling, tour some of the most profitable gold mines in the world, and work with several influential people in the mining industry.

The mining industry has recovered strongly since it’s downturn during the late-90’s. Due to the recent elevation of the gold price, exploration activity in Nevada as well as across the world has increased and great jobs are available. Mining jobs are very attractive in that they offer world travel, above average salaries, and most importantly a challenging working environment where all of your geologic skills will be tested and elevated.

Ilsa Schiefelbein
ExxonMobil, Geologist
M.S. Geology, 2002

I am currently employed by ExxonMobil – US Production as a geologist located in Houston TX. I am working a fractured clastic tight gas reservoir in Piceance Basin, northwest Colorado. My responsibilities include understanding the structural history of the basin, how fractures may or may not contribute to production, bringing forward drillable prospects, and working with Joint Venture partners to incorporate learnings from their drillwells.

Joel Rotert
QGX, Ltd., Geologist
M.S. Economic Geology, 2000

In late May 2004, my girlfriend, Joanna Lipske, and I left the U.S. to work for QGX, Ltd. (, a Canadian Junior mineral exploration company perusing licenses exclusively in Mongolia. As contracting geologists, we typically spend our workdays doing field work (geologic mapping and/or sampling), drafting cross-sections, planning drill holes, writing reports, or logging core and RC chips. We communicate daily with management who are scattered between Canada, the U.S., Ireland, and Australia.

Project assignments range from regional prospecting to district-scale exploration in various stages of development. We explore for a wide variety of deposit types such as volcanogenic massive sulfide, porphyry Cu-Au, low-sulfidation epithermal Au, sediment and vein-hosted Mo-W, and metallurgical coal. Our work schedule is always flexible, but generally we work every day for six consecutive weeks and take two-week breaks in between where we either visit family and friends at home or travel elsewhere.

Our field exploration camps consist of a few to many tens of gers, or yurts, the traditional mobile dwelling of the nomadic Mongolian people. Camps are rustic yet comfortable with cooks trained in Western foods and employees housed in private gers. During the hot summer days, the side of the ger is rolled up to let the breeze flow through. Diesel or wood/dung stoves do their best to keep us warm in the frigid Mongolian winter. Our bathroom is even a pair of gers outfitted with flush toilets and showers. The office is linked by satellite communication to the outside world and contains computers, a plotter, binocular microscope and other equipment necessary to maintain the workflow.

While the length of consecutive workdays can be draining, this job is exactly what we had hoped for as students. We feel fortunate to work together in such a beautiful, culturally unique, and remote location while interpreting challenging geology. The opportunity is one we won’t soon give up ­- as long as the metals and minerals market agrees!

Dr. Anthony Feig
UTEP Department of Geological Sciences, Faculty
M.S. Geology, 1998

Anthony completed his doctorate in Educational Administration and Foundations from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in 2004. His dissertation research was in the area of science education policy and reform.

Anthony currently works in the UTEP Department of Geological Sciences, where he conducts research on the cognition, professional development and barriers to completion for geoscience graduate students.

Anthony teaches graduate courses in geoscience education for the department, and also teaches graduate courses for the UTEP College of Science’s Master of Arts in Teaching Science program. He also designs and oversees introductory and distance-learning geology curricula, and mentors the department’s thirty-six graduate teaching assistants. Prior to his work at UTEP and after graduating from UNLV, Anthony served as Residential Faculty and Director of the Service-Learning Office at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Arizona.

Anthony is married to Dr. Cathy Willermet, a physical anthropologist and also the Faculty Coordinator of Learning Communities for the UTEP Entering Student Program. Anthony and Cathy had their first child, Pierre William, in November 2003. They are expecting their second child in January 2006.