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A neighbor invited Ellen to the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show where she was ‘in awe” of the new world of rocks and minerals she discovered there. Not long after, Ellen’s husband overheard Andy Anderson talking about minerals and Andy encouraged Ellen to join a weekly micromount meeting hosted by the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society.

There Ellen discovered her love of thumbnails — minerals that fit in cubic box that is no larger than 1”. Her first was an Annabergite. Then, in the first gem and mineral book she bought, she happened upon a page that mentioned Laurium, Greece, and Annabergite. In that moment it clicked for Ellen. Gems and minerals are not only full of wonder, but they are formed all over the world, each unique to its geographical location.

Ellen became a Society member in 2000, and since then, has served in a variety of positions. Ellen has a logical approach and so it was natural that she would help manage the Society’s fiscal affairs and be the Show’s treasurer. She is credited with taking the process digital and creating new holding fund accounts, both of which have helped the society stabilize and grow. The Society continues to rely on Ellen to manage these accounts. Thanks to her insight and ‘can do’ attitude, Ellen continues to support the Society, setting it up for success into the future.

In her own words:
“Volunteer! Remember we are a volunteer organization. Without volunteers the show literally does not go on.”

Focus: Thumbnails collector
Society member since 2000


From an early age, Jessie always knew she was interested in the outdoors. Growing up, she spent most of her time outside with her family in Northern California. When she entered high school, Jessie realized her love of rocks and taught herself 130 different rocks and minerals by name. Now, as a senior at the University of Arizona, she is studying Geology and has been awarded a scholarship for her academic excellence by the Tucson Gem & Mineral Society.

Jessie chose the University of Arizona because of their reputation as a leader in geological science. Her freshman year she joined the Society of Earth Science Students and has worked her way up from outreach coordinator to president. She hopes to use her role as president to reach out to other clubs and societies and collaborate further.

The scholarship will fund her field camp trip through the western part of the United States this summer. This mandatory trip is a five-week excursion mapping, hiking, and camping with other students also studying geology. She is grateful to TGMS for giving her the opportunity to participate in the program and is looking forward to her future with the Society.

In her own words:

“Thank you for Tucson Gem & Mineral Society's role, not only in paying for the [field camp] aspect of my education, but for what they do in the community. Working with them and getting to know them over the past three years at the Show has been amazing.”

21 years old
Focus: Studies Geology at the University of Arizona
Society member since 2014


From a young age, Mike has been a student of life. He started out in construction, serving as a job site cleaner, but quickly rose up the ranks becoming the youngest foreman in company history. Much of his rise he attributes to a can do attitude and a willingness to work hard. His humble approach has served him in his career, but it wasn't until he met Dr. Peter Megaw (a long time TGMS member) that his passion for minerals began.

Three years ago, Mike took a job remodeling Dr. Megaw's home. Seeing his mineral collection and asking a lot of questions, Mike took an interest in minerals. Through Megaw's recommendation, Mike joined TGMS and now serves as the clubs acting Vice President. Dr. Megaw has proved an inspirational mentor in Mike's life, fostering a deep curiosity about the mineral world.

Mike has taken the time to give back, having had the opportunity to recently teach a class on minerals at a local school. His excitement about the wonderful world of minerals and how we use them in our everyday life, left a lasting impression on the kids. Mike continues to grow his collection and enthusiastically support TGMS with his contagious excitement.

In his own words:

"I want to thank my loving wife for her patience, allowing me the time it takes to deal minerals and volunteer for the TGMS. I owe a huge thank you (which isn't enough) to Dr. Peter Megaw, who has been a great mentor/supporter to me. I hope to be just like him in the mineral world. All those in the TGMS who have inspired me and welcomed me to the family. And a warm hug and thank you to the club's backbone the special Ladies upstairs!"

41 years old
Primary focus: Collecting
Society member since 2012