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Nontraditional student writes his own future in geosciences

Nontraditional student writes his own future in geosciences

Like many 19-year-olds, Cote attended college after finishing high school. He enrolled at a university in his home state of New Hampshire, and hadn’t thought much about why he was there. It was just the next step in fulfilling what society taught him was the path to success.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Cote said.

Cote decided to drop out and become a self-declared “ski bum” out west. He skied and worked at Crested Butte Mountain Resort for eight years before deciding to attend Western for the Petroleum Geology program.

“I just became really interested in rocks,” Cote said. “[Attending Western] was a no-brainer after I found out how good the [Petroleum Geology] program is.”

Cote’s expectations were met by the frequent expeditions his classes took around the Rocky Mountains to do field work. His expectations were exceeded by the personable professors and the Geology Department’s commitment to staying on top of industry trends with state-of-the-art software used for interpreting subsurface data.

Even though Geology students spend more hours studying outside than most other majors do, the program is very rigorous.

“Being a Geology student takes hard work and passion and Nate embodies all of that,” said Geology professor Elizabeth Petrie, Ph.D.

Cote credits his responsibility and work ethic to the eight years he spent before returning to college. These traits have not only allowed him to persevere through the high demands of being a Petroleum Geology student but also to create and seize opportunities that will make his degree much more meaningful.

Most notably, Petrie hired Cote last summer to be her field research assistant. During that time, he met a Ph.D. student from Oslo, Norway and learned about University of Oslo’s Master in Geosciences program. Cote has since officially been accepted into the program. He will start this fall, following a summer internship with Antero Resources.

“As his professor, I’m on cloud nine,” Petrie said of Cote’s acceptance to a graduate program abroad. “It’s amazing to see him embrace the world as his laboratory.”

“It’s all about being proactive,” Cote said of how he has gone from dropping out of college to now pursuing a bright future in the geosciences. “I wouldn’t have these opportunities if I hadn’t gone above and beyond.”

Story by Peter Noon.

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