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Career Series: EGLE geologist inspires students to think deeply about all things underground

Ahead of Geologist Day, MI Environment today highlights the experience of Brandon Alger, a senior geologist in the Warren District Office of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE).

Brandon Alger, EGLE geologist, at Career Day at Rogers Elementary School in Berkley, Mich.

Brandon Alger, EGLE geologist, at Career Day at Rogers Elementary School in Berkley, Mich. 


Ever since working with the Utah Mining Association, many years ago, Brandon Alger, a senior geologist in the Remediation and Redevelopment Division at EGLE, has loved chatting with kids about geology. “When I'm at their school, my son and daughter love to bring over all their friends to see my rocks and show off their dad's ‘cool’ job,” he says.

Alger recently participated in a Career Day at Rogers Elementary School, in Berkley, Mich., where he explained to students all aspects of the work of a geologist.

“The kiddos played with rocks, looked at my colorful cross section figures, and asked questions about dinosaurs, diamonds, or the game Minecraft,” Alger recounted. “I did my best to answer them, but then I sneak in something like, ‘These are all great questions to ask a geologist, because that's what geologists do! We answer questions about anything that's underground, and there are a lot of things underground.’

“Then, they'll get thinking. They might ask about infrastructure, mining, groundwater, earthquakes, volcanoes, old buildings, new buildings, contamination, oil and gas, the layers of the Earth, and I tell them, ‘Yes, geologists do all of that!’ And I try to elaborate on their specific interest.”

Alger sometimes ponders how he ended up so far removed from the mining world in a place where there are no “cool” rocks. “Admittedly, there are no ‘cool’ rocks in Southeast Michigan,” he notes. “There aren't, no matter how I try to slice it, but geologists get to work with so much more. It really is a rewarding career, and not only because elementary-aged kids think it's ‘cool.’”

Geologists at EGLE work on a variety of tasks, such as:

  • Demolishing a contaminated factory.
  • Facilitating or overseeing work for a brownfield redevelopment.
  • Working with a private party to assure their contaminated property can be used or reused.
  • Taking over an orphaned property to perform environmental work.
  • A myriad of tasks that require someone to be an expert of all things underground.

EGLE is a great place to work for anyone passionate about public service and protecting Michigan's environment. Check out the current job postings.