Class of '84
TU alumnus Mark Marra never intended to pursue a career in geology. As a student at Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., his revolved around playing football, but when the time came to make some serious life decisions, an encouraging professor provided direction.
“I was fortunate to have had a professor who convinced me that I had an aptitude for geosciences,” Marra said. “It turned out to be a good call.”
The Syracuse, New York, native who was raised in Daytona Beach, Fla., received his bachelor’s degree in geology from Catawba College in 1981. Shortly after graduation, Marra hit the road for Tulsa to pursue a master’s in the same field.
“The reason I chose to attend TU’s graduate school was that a requirement for my undergrad degree was to attend an eight-week summer field camp co-hosted by Phillips University and TU in the Colorado Mountains,” he said.
While at camp, Marra was introduced to several TU professors and became lifelong friends with the late Steven Bellovich, then dean of the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences. Bellovich convinced Marra to apply to TU’s grad school, and Tulsa has been Marra’s home ever since.
“I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything in the world,” he said.
As a graduate student, Marra worked as a teaching assistant and was hired by the small, independent oil firm Indian Wells Oil Company.
“Working as a teaching assistant gave me the best opportunity to learn, and there’s no question those years prepared me for the rest of my career in geosciences,” Marra said.