Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- June 14, 2002

CSU Bakersfield Student Prepares for Master's Fellowhip to Take her to Antartica

College students are usually ready to kick back and chill out after graduation. Sara Draucker is taking that concept literally, as she'll be preparing for a master's fellowship that will take her to a really cool place - Antarctica.

Draucker, 23, is a geology major at California State University, Bakersfield. Her outstanding academic performance and meticulous research work qualified her to receive a prestigious fellowship at the University of Nevada, Reno. She'll be working with Glenn Berger, an internationally recognized expert on quaternary geochronology helping assess the effects of global climate change.

Draucker, who wasn't sure where she'd pursue her master's degree, said it was "just too good of an opportunity to pass up."

"That's one of the main reasons I'm going there (UNR)," Draucker said. "I thought, 'When will I ever have the opportunity to do that again?' I mean, when you think about it - Antarctica - that's pretty mind-boggling."

In addition to her research work, Draucker also received a teaching assistantship, a fee waiver, and $25,000 yearly stipend. She'll be working in the classroom in the fall semester and heading to Antarctica in March.

Draucker will spend three weeks on ship, collecting marine sediments of glacial origin and determining the age of the sediments using thermoluminescence dating - a method that shows the last time a sediment was exposed to light.

CSUB geology professor Dirk Baron said Draucker established herself as an astute researcher at CSUB. She received the 2001 Dean's Award for Outstanding Undergraduate Paper, a CSUB research scholarship in 2000 and won the 2001 CSUB student research competition. Draucker has also presented her work before professional audiences and assisted Baron with numerous research projects.

Selected outstanding graduating student for the geology department, Draucker has a 3.67 grade point average and was a member of the Helen Hawk Honors program.

Baron said it's no surprise that she landed such a prestigious fellowship.

"I think it's an outstanding opportunity for Sara," Baron said. "She's done a wonderful job on her research projects. She's very smart and reliable and very persistent too. These are the kinds of things graduate schools look for."

Draucker, who started college as a child development major, credits Baron and the geology department for sparking her interest in geology and helping her become a successful student.

"I can't say enough for the geology department," she said. "They really take an interest in the students and gave me the opportunity to do the lab and research work that qualified me for this fellowship."

Draucker is from New Cuyama and graduated from Cuyama Valley High School in 1997. She comes from a long line of CSUB graduates. Her mother, Louise Draucker, and sister Rachel Draucker are CSUB alumni. Her younger sister Anne Draucker is currently a junior at CSUB, also in the geology department, and her brother William Draucker plans to attend CSUB next year.

When deciding where to attend college, she said the answer was easy.

"I liked the fact that the classes are small and it was close to home. Coming from a pretty small town, I think I would have been overwhelmed by a big university."

CONTACT: Becky Zelinski, 661/664-2138,
or Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456,

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