Michelle Abriani:  

CLASS OF 1989
Greencastle, IN
Terre haute, IN
Reelsville, IN

Michelle's Story

Life In Feb. 1999, married Matt Abriani from Indianapolis (also has a lot of family in Clinton)...had our son Jacob (Alexander Primo Abriani) in Feb. 2000, and our daughter Kaylie (Elizabeth Rose Abriani) in September 2001. I went back to school in May of 2002 at ISU to finally get my degree...started out in accounting (thought it would be good money...hated it), and by November I had switched to Geology (you would be surprised how much there is know about rocks and the Earth...). While working on my degree, I focused on oceanography and did research on microscopic creatures called foraminifera that live in all the oceans...the ones I worked on were collected from the seafloor in submarine canyons off the southwest coast of Australia. I was a participant on oceanographic research cruises off San Diego and south of Alaska's Aleutian Islands (we spent several days before and after being at sea in Dutch Harbor where they film the Discovery Channel's 'Deadliest Catch' series). I also went on numerous field trips to many national parks and places of geologic interest, with the highlight being a 6-week field camp in the summer of 2005 spent in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming (ask me about the fun stuff I did with rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and grizzlies). I finished my B.S. in 2005 and applied to go to school for my PhD in geology/oceanography. I was accepted at Scripps Institution of Oceanography near San Diego, University of California Santa Cruz, University of California Davis, and Oregon State University in Corvallis...I chose UC Davis due to better job opportunities for Matt and also it had a more family friendly atmosphere. I moved to Davis in August 2005 with Jacob so he could start kindergarten - I drove the 26 foot moving truck across country on I-80 while towing the car...Matt and Kaylie stayed behind in Indiana until he could get a job in...Expand for more
California; they moved out in November, so only a few months later. At this point, Matt and I decided we were really just good friends more than marital partners, so we ended up divorcing...not a sad thing at all, as we are very good friends and the kids are very happy...we all still do things together on a regular basis, we just don't live together. (His mom lives in San Jose 1 1/2 hours away, and his sister in down in LA, 7 hours away) After deciding to separate, I made a choice to change my school focus, as I knew I would not have enough time to be a mom and work on my PhD classwork and perform all the geochemical research I needed to do. It was an easy decision with regard to my kids, as they are what are the most important to me, but it was still hard to let go as all of my schooling was paid for, I received a stipend to do my research, I was working with a world famous scientist, and I was going to be missing out on a couple of trips to the ocean depths in a manned submersible. But, I did change my focus to have more time for Jacob and Kaylie and I switched to the school of education so I could teach Earth Science in high school rather than at the college level. I just finished my work for my credential and master's (June 2007) and will be starting as a teacher in August in a brand new high school in the town of Elk Grove south of Sacramento. I spent the last 9 months student teaching and never knew how much I would love working with the kids...I teach freshman age (14-15), and things certainly have changed since we were freshman. I plan to stay here in California...I've always wanted to live out west, particularly somewhere that I could be near the mountains and the ocean so I could do all the things I love. I am 1 1/2 hours from the ocean, and less than an hour from the mountains, 2 hours to Lake Tahoe, 3 hours to Yosemite, and a giant redwood grove is a little over an hour away...I'm very happy!
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Photos

Jacob during a Lassen hike
Mapping in Utah north of Arches National Park
Looking out over the Bering Sea
Exit Glacier near Seward, Alaska
Snowshoeing in the mountains
On the farm
Jacob and Kaylie (my kids)  Oct 2006
Mother's Day 2006 weekend in Monterey

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