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Anna grew up as a keen observer of minerals from all over the world. Having lived on four continents already at her young age, she has experienced a depth of cultural wealth, and now hones her mineralogy skills at the University of Arizona, studying Geology and Management Information Systems. 

Her love for mineralogy has steadily grown over the past five years since she joined the Society in 2011. She enjoys the Rock Talks as a primary place for her to learn and connect with others. Drawn to the beauty of copper and exploratory geology field, Anna considers herself a "hesitant collector" — mainly in response to the total amount of collected items shown in the picture above. For her, copper has been an important guiding force throughout her family's life, charting them on a global course. 

This past year, Anna was awarded the TGMS Annual Student Scholarship — a scholarship fund used to support and grow the knowledge of minerals at the university level. This summer, she plans on investing it abroad in New Zealand at a field camp, completing a field mapping course. As she collects data and samples, she will be learning how to process and interpret the data in meaningful and useful ways. This field mapping course is her 'real world' graduate program—putting together her two majors of Geology and Management Information Systems to good use.

Anna in her own words:

"I would like to express my great appreciation to the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society for awarding their Scholarship to me. I have been greatly inspired by the club and its members and all the wonderful events and opportunities I have experienced through them. The scholarship will allow me to attend geologic field camp — a mapping course I will complete in New Zealand. Thank you!" 

21 years old
Primary focus: Geology and studies at the University of Arizona
Society Member since 2011


Phyllis inspires you to explore.  She is a self-proclamed "digger", but not a "professional rock-hound."  She loves the hunt.  Over her lifetime she has explored and discovered many wonderful pieces, collected some, traded some and piled many up in her yard on the Eastside of Tucson.  She and her husband enjoy the quiet and also great views of the mountains from their home of 36 years.  After retiring from the Air Force they settled here.  Together they have hunted rocks all over Southern Arizona and beyond, uncovering some really fantastic pieces as well as a little gold here and there for fun.  

Phyllis began her love affair with gemstones as a child.  She remembers watching Snow White and the Seven Drawfs, seeing the drawfs go into the mine and pluck gemstones from the walls.  It took her a while to find out that those gemstones don't grow perfectly for picking right on mine walls, but she still had been bitten by the bug.  She was hooked from Snow White on, and has been now for over 70 years, though she didn't start digging until around 1980.

Nowadays she hunts a little less, but still has fun every time her helmet is on.  She will be the first to tell you she is no expert, but she has learned a tremendous amount from other members.  She loves being a member and part of the TGMS community. 

And now, here is Phyllis in her own words:

As a young child I was drawn to sparkley things and that led to gemstones.  Pictures of Kings and Queens danced in my head.  I remember being absolutely taken by the Disney movie 'Snow White and the Seven Drawfs' who go to their mine and pick rubies.  I was probably a teenager before I found out that stones aren't faceted when found.

My other rock memory was a small book I found in our school's small library, about digging rubies in the Cowee Valley in North Carolina.  I read the book in 1943 and actually dug Cowee Calley rubies in 1975 when we were stationed in Georgia with the AirForce.  I still have a small handful of tiny ones.

The more I learned about gemstones the more I wanted to know about the minerals that produced them.  When we were assigned to Tucson (our retirement choice) and I found out about the Tucson Gem and Mineral Society club from Peter Meagaw at the 1978 show I was delighted to join it and have enjoyed the association ever since.  I found that I am not a collector but rather a 'Digger'.  I would like to say a "finder" but that is seldom the case.  But part of the fun is in the hunt.  I have learned a great deal from the club members, meetings, classes and shows.  The world of 'rock people' is fascinating!!

84 years old
Primary focus: digging & finding
Society Member since 1978


Inspired by a love of science and discovery, Caleb became a member in 2014 upon winning the [TGMS] Award at the Regional Science Fair.  He is quick to describe the bounty he came home with; a trophy, t-shirt, waterbottle, plaque, and his coverted TGMS membership for a year, the most at the whole science fair.  His award winning project ("Caving in the Kitchen") will be on display at the 2015 Show to inspire even more kids.  His experiment compared the capillary actino of fabrics by utilizing an epsom salt solution to form crystals.  He hopes to go to Karchner Caverns as a reward from his parents for his work.

Caleb's interest in minerals and fossils is genuine, and his parents are great proponents of his continued exploration in this area of science.  His mom even loaned him $50 recently to purchase a coveted fossil, which he is paying back by having his own yard sale.  They also took a trip to the Central Coast of California to visit family and explore for some new specimens.  The exploration was a huge success!  His face still lights up talking about his fossil finding in California, describing it as the best day of his life yet.

His room is filled with minerals and fossils, all neated organized and labeled.  His award on display near his sabertooth replica.  Amidst many other science experiments and tools sits his microscope (a gift last Christmas) on his desk, where he does his work.  His interest in the field began while watching a documentary on Netflix.  Since then his parents have helped him cultivate the fascination, hoping and somewhat already believing it'll stick.  Caleb already desires to be a Biologist, palentologist or meterologist when he grows up. 

Look for Caleb at the Show next year with his project, and if he is lucky, at the Society meetings and events.  While he loves being a part of the Society, they live far from the office so his attendance at will have to depend on the transportation of his parents, for now.

8 years old
Primary focus: fossils
SARSEF Award Winner
Society Member since 2014