Phil Kong '15 Research Chemical Oceanographer

What are you doing now? 

I currently study how trace metal dynamics control distribution of life in the oceans. My work consists of both collecting and analyzing ocean water samples and modeling the distribution of nutrients in the ocean.

When did you realize you were a geoscientist?

During my first field research experience in my third year at W&L. I collected volcanic samples at the Cascade Range in Oregon and analyzed isotopic compositions of the rocks in a lab for my senior thesis work. It was rewarding to witness and experience the volcanic fields I had been reading about during my studies. Conducting the in-person field work provided valuable context that could not be explained or demonstrated with words or images.

What do you hope to do with your Geoscience education and why?

My geoscience education at W&L has allowed me to delve into various aspects of geoscience in my career so far. Since I've graduated, I have been a mineralogist, a greenhouse gas emissions analyst, and a chemical oceanographer. My pursuit of knowledge in geoscience has allowed me to travel to numerous parts of the world and appreciate the complex natural world. I hope to continue my lifelong education in the broad discipline of geosciences and share the knowledge to future generations.

What do you like to do in your free time? What's your favorite hike in Rockbridge?

Over the weekend you can catch me rooting for the Dodgers or reading books not related to geoscience. I also enjoy travelling on my bicycle and have become fully immersed into bikepacking. I have fond memories of hiking Devil's Marbleyard under a full moon with friends in the geology department.