University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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Oct. 15, 2004


Software Grant Boosts Geoscience Courses at UW-RF

The University of Wisconsin-River Falls Plant and Earth Science Department is the recipient of a software gift valued at more than $60,000 from Seismic Micro-Technology (SMT) in Houston, Texas.

The department received the SMT's Kingdom Suite+ software package, including several SMT software applications such as TracePAK and EarthPAK, which makes geoscience interpretation more efficient and thorough.

The software will be used in such classes as geophysics, structural geology, senior research experience and sedimentation and stratigraphy, according to Ian Williams, professor of plant and earth science at UW-RF.

"This software is a three-dimensional imaging package that is used in the oil industry," says Williams. "Our geology students will learn sophisticated analysis techniques and get experience using an industry standard, that helps us find subsurface resources such as oil traps. We plan to get our students involved using the software as part of research projects and upper division classes. We also hope to illustrate seismic surveying using the software in our introductory classes too."

Robert Baker, chair of the UW-RF plant and earth science department, says, "It is critical that students gain exposure to such cutting-edge technology whether they look for jobs after graduation or go on to graduate school. Last April we had a visiting petroleum geologist in our classes and she recommended that we apply to the grant program because she was so impressed with our students and the quality of instruction as compared to the students and schools she normally visits.
Although in Wisconsin we're not on the 'oil patch,' this can make our students viable for future employment in the petroleum industry."

Since 1984, SMT has provided computer technology to the geoscience industry. Its Educational Gifts Program puts software in the classroom so students graduating from universities are equipped for the job market with relevant experience.

Beginning in 2001, the company has donated almost 6,000 software licenses for university teaching/research labs and professor/instructor use in classes along with three-year grants that include maintenance support and updates. The estimated value of gifts through SMT's program since its inception totals $80 million. The software is used by both teaching and research centers at more than 188 academic institutions around the world.

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