Official newsletter of the LSU Department of Geology & Geophysics
January 2017
Geology & Geophysics Quarterly Spotlight
Sophie Warny Named AASP Endowed Chair in Paleopalynology

Congratulations to Dr. Sophie Warny for being named the first AASP Endowed Chair in Paleopalynology by the Board of Regents!

AASP - The Palynological Society was founded to promote the science of palynology. Sophie has clearly established an excellent international reputation in the field of palynology and her research is advancing the science of palynology. Sophie's research productivity is outstanding as she has published 32 refereed articles, has served as a book editor, has published three book chapters, and has published 14 articles as a member of large multi-disciplinary science teams, all since 2008. Dr. Warny has received ~$1.7M in research funding (as a PI) and has been awarded an additional ~$300K in grants (as co-PI). Dr. Warny was awarded a highly competitive NSF Career Award. Sophie has mentored numerous graduate students to successful career paths of their own. She leads the field of palynology and has a forward-looking vision for the LSU Center of Excellence of Palynology. Her vision for the Center will foster development of the new generation of palynologists and promote the science of palynology.

Seismologist Patricia Persaud is the latest addition to the G&G faculty. A native of Guyana, Patricia has always been curious about natural occurrences and how these events impact our world. She began her undergraduate career at the University of Houston as a physics major, but decided that she wanted to apply physics in a less traditional way. She was drawn to the geosciences and the challenge of uncertainty that comes with studying the Earth.

Paige Jarreau from the College of Science sat down with Patricia to learn more about her exciting work uncovering the mysteries that lie beneath the Earth's surface.

Q&As with Patricia Persaud

Dr. Sam Bentley received the prestigious Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professorship from the LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College. Established in 1996, the professorship is the highest award conferred to faculty by the Ogden Honors College.

Recipients of the professorship are required to have outstanding academic credentials and qualifications; an excellent teaching record; impeccable moral and ethical character; and to promote trustworthiness, leadership, patriotism, and racial and religious tolerance. In addition, the Sternberg Professor participates in teaching and the general life of the Ogden Honors College during the tenure of the award.

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Barb Dutrow is the recipient of the 2016 Outstanding Educator Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists, or AWG. This is AWG's premier professional award for women geoscientists honoring well-established women college or university teachers who have played a significant role in the education and support of geoscientists within and beyond the classroom, in advancing the persistence of females and underrepresented minorities in geoscience careers and in raising the profile of the geosciences by teaching to and for the broadcast audience of students.

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Nicki Button is a graduate student in the Planetary Science Lab. Here, she studies Martian geology, including the geology of volcanoes and impact craters on Mars, with assistant professor Suniti Karunatillake.

When she isn't studying images collected by Mars rovers and the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), or traveling to remote locations on Earth to explore features that might appear on Mars, she is playing rugby, serving as v ice president and creating social media content for disaster relief organization Rugby Relief, tutoring students at the LSU Academic Center for Student-Athletes and volunteering for various science education outreach groups, including EnvironMentors.

But while Nicki has many interests and talents, her ultimate goal, her dream, is to become an astronaut.

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David Susko and Don Hood Awarded LaSPACE GRSA Grants

David Susko and Don Hood were each awarded an $8,000 grant from the LaSPACE GSRA to pursue their research projects during the summer of 2017!

The Louisiana Space Consortium's Graduate Student Research Assistance (GSRA) Program provides small supplements for research / study for graduate students who are U. S. citizens, and who undertake a curriculum of space or aerospace related fields of study in math, science, or engineering at a college/university that is a Designated Member of the Louisiana Space Consortium. A new initiative under the LaSPACE Fellowship/Scholarship Component, introduced in the Fall of 2005, the GSRA Program helps address the challenge of strengthening the educational base among member institutions, in concert with state and NASA needs.

David doesn't need an advisor to promote him, because his work already does this. Since joining Dr. Karunatillake's lab in August 2015 for graduate study, he has one manuscript on Elysium Volcano's geochemistry currently under review at Scientific Reports, and another nearing submission. He also presented one abstract at the primary venue for the planetary community, the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in 2015, and already completed his abstract for the 2016 LPSC.

Don has progressed rapidly in his PhD program since joining Dr. Karunatillake's lab in August 2014 for graduate study. J. Geophys. Res. recently published his work, which assessed competing models of a continental-scale landslide versus primary igneous processes in the Greater Thaumasia region of Mars. He also presented two abstracts at the primary venue for the planetary community, the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC) in 2016, the maximum allowed.
This past November, Sophie Warny was invited to teach an advanced palynology class at the Universite de Lille 1, in northern France. Her host, Professor Taniel Danelian, helped organize the exchange to promote and re-enforce the partnerships between LSU and Lille 1.

This summer, Abigail Heath, a junior geology major at LSU, joined the more than 300,000 U. S. college students who left the comforts of home to embark on a study abroad experience. The Franklin, New Hampshire native spent seven weeks in Iceland as part of the Iceland Renewable Energy, Technology and Resource Economics program through the School for International Training, or SIT, which offers nearly 80 programs in more than 30 countries worldwide. Read on to learn about Heath's summer abroad.

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