Fascinated by paleontology early on, Carthage student explores new horizons

Fascinated by paleontology early on, Carthage student explores new horizons

Larson photo

At the Wyoming Dinosaur Center in Thermopolis, Wy., Adam Larson, a senior at Carthage College, holds a Diplodocus cervical rib that he excavated.

Usually, what a person studies in college and what a person wanted to grow up to be when they were in kindergarten are two different things.

But for me, paleontology was the answer to both questions.

Like many young kids, I was known for my love of dinosaurs, visiting museums, checking out countless books from the library on prehistoric life and helping adults pronounce the names correctly.

As time went on, though, I didn’t think I would pursue paleontology. I have always enjoyed history, and went to LakeView Technology Academy for high school, where I studied engineering. And casually coming across a sociology textbook in high school, I discovered the fantastic world of sociology, which I am still active in.

But there were hints that I would end up pursuing paleontology. In eighth grade I picked up a battered, used copy of the novel “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton, and that reminded me of the wonders of natural history.

A few years later, looking for extracurricular opportunities, I started volunteering at the Dinosaur Discovery Museum, where I still volunteer today.

I was lucky to receive good scholarship offers from Louisiana Tech University, where I could study civil engineering over 800 miles away from Kenosha, or Carthage College, where I could study paleontology in my hometown.

I had quite the decision to make, but after learning about opportunities in paleontology from Nick Wiersum, the curator of education at the Kenosha Public Museums, I went with pursuing passion over money.

Since then I’ve learned a lot from my professors, in all of my subjects, and I’ve spent two summers interning at the Wyoming Dinosaur Center, learning how to dig for dinosaurs, prepare fossils for study and educate the public about science.

This past semester, I finished my undergraduate thesis on bone fusion patterns in elephants and mammoths and presented part of it at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology’s annual meeting in Brisbane, Australia.

With all that I’ve learned in the past few years, I’m excited to explore new horizons with the skills I’ve developed in paleontology.

Adam Larson is a senior at Carthage College.


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