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This Scientist Plans to Make Waves

Dan O’Hara came to IUP from Ebensburg. A first-generation college student, he joined up with the McNair Scholars program on campus, which encourages such students to aspire to obtain a graduate education and to work closely with professors on research projects.

The Geoscience and Computer Science dual major has a passion for understanding earthquakes—what causes them, how they can be predicted. Research he conducted with his professors, Dr. Katie Farnsworth and Dr. Jon Lewis, led to his acquisition of a National Science Foundation internship at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

Through the Geoscience Department, Dan also has studied in Taiwan and Newfoundland, and he received honorable mention for the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the study of science and mathematics. He is applying for the competitive scholarship again this year.

Dan finances his education with federal student loans, but in recent semesters, he has qualified for less. The alternative would have been to seek private loans, but then he received a Dean’s Merit Scholarship.

Dean’s Merit Scholarships are awarded at the discretion of the dean of each college and are meant to help students meet the financial obligations of stretching further academically. In Dan’s case, that has meant travel and extra supplies, like a hard drive to store his research files.

Dan plans to pursue a doctoral degree and become a professor of Geophysics, passing on to the next generation his vast knowledge of the earth and its scientific wonders. 

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