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HU Geology Graduate Accepted into Doctoral Program at University of North Dakota

Richard Ashu

HU Geology Graduate Accepted into Doctoral Program at University of North Dakota

After Richard Ashu graduates with a master’s degree in environmental geology from New Mexico Highlands University May 8, he is headed for a geology doctoral program at the University of North Dakota.
Ashu’s graduate studies at Highlands University emphasized geophysics. The University of North Dakota has a national reputation for its strong geophysics program. 
The 28-year-old native of Cameroon also earned a master’s degree in engineering geology from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium, along with a bachelor’s degree in geology from the University of Buea in Cameroon.
Ashu secured three grants to help fund his master’s research at Highlands, a study of geophysical characteristics of the Galisteo Basin to help assess its hydrocarbon potential. The basin is in a region south of Santa Fe, N.M.
“We uncovered several potential targets for hydrocarbon exploration in the Galisteo Basin, and future studies can be done to quantify the amount of hydrocarbons,” Ashu said.
While at Highlands, Ashu earned a 3.77 GPA.
“Richard is an exceptional student, and his excellent academic track record speaks for itself,” said environmental geology professor Michael Petronis. “He has all the motivation and potential to be an outstanding Ph.D. candidate. I expect him to go on to contribute greatly to the geosciences.”
Ashu was a graduate teaching assistant for two of the courses Petronis teaches, including introduction to geology, and GIS and surveying.
Petronis chaired Ashu’s master’s thesis committee. Geology professor Jennifer Lindline and chemistry professor David Sammeth were also on Ashu’s thesis committee. 
For his doctoral studies, Ashu said he is interested in two geophysics specialties, and will make a decision by the second year in his Ph.D. program.
“As a geology reservoir engineer, I would quantify and estimate the amount of oil in hydrocarbon reservoirs,” Ashu said. “I’m also interested in the economic geologist field, which is mineral resource exploration for minerals like diamonds, copper and gold.”
Ashu said he received a solid foundation at Highlands University for his Ph.D. studies.
“My time at Highlands was well spent, and I had very good professors to guide me,” Ashu said. “They taught me how to apply for grants, how to develop my research, how to achieve good results academically, and how to apply to doctoral programs.”
Ashu said that at Highlands, he also learned how to use more modern geology research instruments than he’s ever used before.
As an international student far from home, Ashu said he enjoyed the atmosphere at Highlands University, and the small class sizes.
“At Highlands there is vast cultural diversity, and the people are friendly here,” Ashu said. “I’ll miss my professors, my friends in the geology club, and all the geology field trips throughout the region.”

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