Exploring the area pays huge dividends.

Friends call Lucien Anderson a rock nerd, and he agrees. An inherent sense of finding the next big thing has led Anderson on so many great journeys during his Madison Experience. He expects to carry what he has learned and done—including all the exposure to amazing people and places—with him as he writes the next chapter of his success story.


Lucien Anderson (he/him) - Class of 2023

Major: Geology

Minor: Anthropology

Hometown: Elliott City, Maryland

High School: Howard High

Highlights: Considers himself a New Englander, having grown up just outside Hartford, Connecticut before moving to Maryland in elementary school; Department of Geology and Environmental Science undergraduate learning assistant; Sigma Gamma Epsilon president; Director of JMU’s New & Improv’d; Association of Engineering and Environmental Geoscientists secretary

Q&A With Lucien

Is there much to do around here when it comes to getting outside?

There are numerous amounts of hiking trails and rock climbing spots around the area. There are great camping spots, some of my favorites. Just up Route 33 toward West Virginia, there is a little spot called Switzer Lake. It's a great camping spot up there and we actually went there this fall.


It sounds fantastic.

It is just gorgeous up there. Between the campsites and renting out paddleboards from JMU’s Adventure Rental Center, you can be so ready to go paddleboarding on the lake. It’s a great time.

Do you have a favorite hiking spot?

Some of my favorite hikes we've done or I've done in the area are actually further up the road up Route 33. There's a hike called High Knob that has a fire tower that overlooks a lot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sunsets up there are beautiful and it's a short hike too, so you can get up there and get back pretty quick.

That sounds convenient.

It is, plus with my major being geology, that has taken me to see a lot of the surrounding areas as well, because we go out into the fields and look at the rocks in the natural environments. So we go out to places like Franklin, West Virginia, which are great climbing spots, but also just great outcrops and great areas for hiking and camping and just beautiful scenery all around.


Are there other locations you suggest?

We also go into places along the Blue Ridge Mountains through Virginia and see places along those road cuts and such like that. Another good spot around here is Massanutten Resort for skiing. It has mountain biking trails up there, too. Massanutten is only about 30 minutes from JMU, too, which is really awesome.

What’s next for you?

I would love to have a career as a geologist. Realistically, I would love to just keep exploring. You never know what you're going to find—and as long as you have that willingness to explore, you can keep looking for the unknown and keep finding things that you never thought you were going to find or see. So it’s just taking that step and I think I've found the willingness to take that step through coming to JMU and everything I've done here.

So it’s been a good experience here?

If there's one thing that both my major and JMU has taught me, it's to just continuously keep exploring.


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