Kurtis C. Burmeister, PhD
Kurtis C. Burmeister, PhD


• University of Illinois, PhD Structural Geology
• University of California at Santa Barbara, MA Vertebrate Paleontology
• University of California at Santa Barbara, BA Biological Sciences

Research Intrests

I am a structural geologist and my research focuses on the dynamic processes that deform Earth’s lithosphere. I am also what you might call a “dirty boots” kind of geologist – I love being outdoors and incorporate fieldwork into my research projects whenever possible. I’m currently workin with my students on projects in the central Sierra Nevada near Lake Tahoe, the Hudson Valley of upstate New York, western Ireland, and southeastern Japan.

I actively incorporate undergraduate and graduate students in my research activities. These experiences provide students with opportunities for travel and train them to think scientifically – to identify research questions, manipulate data, and interpret results. Student researchers working under my advisement are lead authors or coauthors on the majority of my professional meeting presentations. Several of these student-led presentation received prestigious awards including the Sigma Gamma Epsilon Austin A. Sartin Best Undergraduate Poster and the Sigma Gamma Epsilon National Council Best Undergraduate Poster awards.


The only thing I love more than geology is sharing what I know with students – especially in the outdoors. In addition to introductory level courses, I teach upper-division courses in Structural Geology, Geologic Field Methods, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). I enjoy these courses because they allow me to work closely with students on applied concepts in the classroom, lab, and field. I am also the co-Director of the Wasatch-Uinta Geology Field Camp, a 6-week long capstone course taught each summer in the vicinity of Park City, Utah, for graduating geology students.

I challenge students in my classes – I am fair, but have high expectations. I believe that cultivating a strong work ethic, self-confidence, responsibility, independence, and leadership are just as important as mastering the earth sciences. I use a variety of technologies in the classroom, but believe that many concepts are communicated more effectively in the field. My courses train students to think critically, solve problems by employing cross-disciplinary approaches, and to be effective communicators.