Noah Van Hartesveldt (Student)

Noah Van Hartesveldt snorkeling

From his first semester of classes to his latest academic advising meetings, Noah Van Hartesveldt has benefitted from the guidance of deeply-invested, knowledgeable faculty at Mississippi State.

“Mississippi State radiated the feelings of family and a personal interest in my success,” recalled the Grand Rapids, Michigan, native who originally discovered the university while researching geology programs at higher education institutions in the South.

“The geosciences department as a whole has been a strong influence,” he emphasized. “All of my professors have challenged me to succeed through their careers and personal work in the field, and I want to reflect that dedication through my work.”

Concentrating in professional geology, Van Hartesveldt recently participated in the prestigious National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program. During his eight-week stay on the Cayman Islands, he studied coral reef biodiversity and resilience at the Little Cayman Research Centre.

“My work focuses on Elkhorn coral, a highly threatened species with decimated populations in the Caribbean,” he said. “I learned new analysis techniques to better explain why Elkhorn has clumped distributions on the reef. My mentor and I also used GIS mapping to create a comprehensive local reef profile to emphasize our findings.”

Glad to be back at MSU, Van Hartesveldt said he is grateful for his summer research experience, one he describes as “an incredible honor with great responsibility.”

“Being selected to do scientific research is an attestation to all of those who’ve helped me along the way,” he said. “I’ve been able to utilize the skills I’ve gained from the classroom and apply them in the field, which is exciting.”

After graduation, Van Hartesveldt plans to attend graduate school to pursue a doctoral degree. He aspires to conduct research on the biogeochemistry of corals and gain a better understanding of the role geology plays in paleo and present marine life.