In the Spotlight: Abah Omale, Department of Geology & Geophysics

Graduate Student Spotlight, October 2017


            Abah Omale   

1. What factors influenced your decision to attend LSU?

My decision to attend LSU resulted from a combination of my career goals and my research interests. My career goal is to be an exploration geologist, and to teach geology at the higher education level. I wanted to enroll in a geology studies program that is directly applicable to the oil and gas industry, so I went online and found that LSU has a program offered at the graduate student level. I visited the department’s webpage, read about professors and their research interests, and I found a professor whose research interests aligned with mine.

Also, coming from Nigeria where the environment is tropical, I checked for universities in the southern United States where the weather is similar. I wanted to avoid relatively cold parts of the United States.


2. What is your involvement with the graduate student community?

I am a member of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), and I always try to attend the academic and social functions. Even through the social programs, we develop friendships and discuss research ideas. I am secretary of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, which is an organization that provides students with an interest in geophysics the opportunity to interact with each other. Outside of the department, I am very involved with the International Cultural Center and the International Student Association. The aim of those bodies is to enforce acclimatization to the American culture. And, I try to stay involved with the graduate student association.


3. Tell us about your primary research interests in the Department of Geology and Geophysics.

 My main interest is to understand the interaction between tectonics and sedimentation. I study areas in the Gulf of Mexico, and in October I’m going on an expedition to the Mediterranean Sea. Since I’d like to teach geology, I’m primarily driven by the idea of being an exploration geologist. I dream about the idea of discovering oil and gas in a place and how that contributes to the world’s increasing energy demand.


4. How does receiving the Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies contribute to your research?

 I submitted a proposal on using fault reactivations to indicate changes in the strength of the lithosphere. The funding will support my research by helping me overcome the challenges in acquiring the appropriate data to generate results that will solve the problem identified in the proposal. When you have professors or people in the academic world to review your proposal and see that it’s worth funding, it is encouraging that people believe in me and find my ideas substantial.


5. What is a cause you are passionate about in both higher and graduate education?

I am passionate about how graduate students can produce excellent research to advance knowledge on how the earth can be understood in terms of survival and safety. By survival, I’m referring to the idea of making the world as safe and comfortable as possible by using our resources.

Also, I would like to see graduate students express more interest in research. Some graduate students attend school as a means to get a job afterwards, but while you’re here, make the most of it and be excellent at what you do. It’s a challenge for me to see graduate school as more than a transition, and we can all work on that. Through excellent research, we contribute to the scientific community by increasing the knowledge and understanding of the world. Whatever we produce is what the community gets.

In my department, I am passionate about seeing the interaction between faculty and students. I love how the professors are approachable, open to research development, and ready to share ideas.