Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Anna Glen Brody

Name: Anna Glen Brody
Age: 27
Education (UR and additional): B.A. in Geological Sciences, University of Rochester, 2006; California State University, 2011.
Current city/state of residence: Santa Rosa, CA
Job Title: Staff Geophysicist
Employer: NORCAL Geophysical Consultants
Family: Martin and Beth Brody (parents)

When and how did you choose your major?

My decision to major in Geology was actually the result of a scheduling issue. I needed a final class to fill my schedule during the fall of my sophomore year, and my advisor spoke very highly of the “Introduction to Geology” course. I have always enjoyed the outdoors and thought it might be a good fit for me. The class was great and the materials really seemed to “click.” Subsequent courses became more and more interesting, and it really took off from there. I will forever be appreciative of that scheduling issue in 2007!

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

I decided to continue my studies in graduate school. One of my professors at the U of R was collaborating with a faculty member at California State University, Fresno, and implored me to check out the opportunities there. I visited the school several days after graduating from the U of R, and was excited by the work at CSU, Fresno. By August 2006, I was on a plane to California and starting a new chapter in my life. The knowledge and academic discipline gained from my degree in geology proved invaluable during my transition into a new department. I was able to assimilate into a new department quickly and begin a Master’s project easily.

What do you do now and why did you choose this career?

My Master’s thesis project involved the use of geophysical techniques to investigate a particular region of Yosemite Valley. This type of work is fairly specialized in terms of equipment and processing techniques, and I was incredibly fortunate to have been able to incorporate it into my work. As my final semester was finishing up, I attended a field expo that was held by the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, which showcased several leading local companies in the industry. There I met several individuals from NORCAL Geophysical Consultants, a very notable company out of Santa Rosa. I was immediately impressed with their work, and handed someone (who I would later learn was the President of the company and a CSU, Fresno alumni) a resume on the spot. Several weeks later, I was offered the position as a Staff Geophysicist with NORCAL just four hours after I successfully defended my Master’s thesis.

How do you balance your work and personal life?

Since starting at NORCAL this past August, I have continued to learn the balance between work and my personal life. One thing that I really strive for is the ability to leave work at work, and I accomplish that with a strong work ethic that I developed at the U of R. There are times when my schedule is busy with field work (going out for 3-4 days at a time), and there are times when I’m handling office work. No matter the work load, when 5 pm comes around, unless there is a pressing deadline, my workday is done. That means my computer and work phone are turned off. There is a lot to do in Santa Rosa, so my weekends are spent doing any number of things in the local area. And I try to keep up with my friends from Rochester, too. I think it’s very important to keep a healthy balance of work and play!

What advice do you have for current students?

Try to take as many opportunities as you can in college, both academically and extracurricular wise! There are so many venues at the U of R for students to explore, and there is definitely something for everyone. I really enjoyed my experience with the various clubs (Students’ Association Appropriations Committee, Cinema Group, Campus Activities Board) and the friendships that grew out of them. And I took so many interesting classes that I probably would not have normally pursued (Psychology and Buddhism to name a few) – Clusters provide a great way to explore different academic areas and can open your eyes to so many new things! Enjoy all that Rochester has to offer!