April 24, 2019


Highlights for 2018 can be found here.

Those who won awards the night of the symposium have written personal statements about what this funding will help them accomplish, and why they are thankful! Read below:

Recipient of The James J. and Dorothy T. Hanks Award in Geophysics – Elena Reinisch

I am honored to be chosen for the James J. and Dorothy T. Hanks Award in Geophysics and am grateful to the Hanks family for their generous support.  My research involves developing computational methods for analyzing radar data to better understand surface deformation and its causes.  I focus on monitoring deformation at geothermal fields, which is important for resource sustainability.  This award will go a long way towards helping me finish my last year of PhD studies as well as helping me prepare for a career in deformation monitoring using satellite imagery.  My sincerest thanks again to the Hanks family for their support!

Recipient of The William H. & Virgie Twenhofel Student Award – Nicholas Sullivan

My sincere thanks go to the department for this recognition. I am proud to receive an award honoring the family of such an distinguished member of the University of Wisconsin geoscience community, the man Bob Dott himself called the “Patriarch of Sedimentary Geology” (2000; The Outcrop, p. 15). This critical departmental support will help advance my research on changing environments and faunal overturn in the Antarctic seas during the late Miocene and Pliocene transition to our modern ice house climates.

Recipient of The Thomas E. Berg Excellence in Teaching Award – Nicholas Sullivan

It is an honor to have my work in the classroom so recognized. My gratitude goes out to the family and friends of Thomas E. Berg, who have dedicated this award in his memory. I also thank Shanan Peters and Liz Ceperley, who taught the two courses (Sedimentology and Oceanography, respectively) that I assisted this year. Both were invaluable mentors and role-models for geological instruction.

Recipient of The Stanley A. Tyler Excellence in Teaching Awards – Ethan Parrish

It is truly an honor to have been recognized for the Stanley A. Tyler Award for Excellence in Teaching. I’ve been in many educational roles in my life, everything from coaching varsity high-school athletics to teaching English to middle-schoolers in Thailand. No matter the venue I’ve always loved educating and am honored to be recognized for my passion and efforts here at UW in Geoscience 100.

Recipient of the Verville Award in Paleontology
and James D. and Stella M. Robertson Graduate Assistantship – Brittany Hupp

I’m honored to receive the James D. and Stella M. Robertson Graduate Assistantship and the George J. Verville Award in paleontology. In the coming year, I’ll be using both of these awards to work towards characterizing paleoclimatic and paleoecological response to an ancient hyperthermal event, the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). As part of this work, I plan to conduct secondary ion mass spectrometry analyses at our internal WiscSIMS lab to delineate the magnitude of the carbon isotope excursion marking the PETM and identify the isotopic signature of diagenesis that can overprint it. For this project, I’ll be working with samples extracted from a deep-sea record from the southern Indian Ocean, Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Site 1135. I’ll also be investigating the planktic foraminiferal faunal response to the PETM at Site 1135 with the goal of using this site and other previously published species-level datasets to evaluate the reaction of zooplankton communities at high latitudes to this ancient hyperthermal event. Thank you to the Robertsons and Vervilles for supporting myself and this research!

Recipient of the S.W. Bailey Distinguished Graduate Student Award – Stephanie Napieralski

I am incredibly honored to have been selected as the recipient of the S.W. Bailey Distinguished Graduate Student Award, especially in a department with no shortage of bright, dedicated and talented graduate students. The support and recognition provided by the department and enabled by its generous alumni continues to amaze me. My dissertation research combines metagenomics and geochemistry to address the role of microorganisms in large scale Earth surface processes such as weathering. Through my research, I have been privileged to forge collaborations across multiple disciplines and institutions as well as provide mentorship and training to undergraduate and graduate students. In addition, I have been actively involved in graduate student recruitment, serving three years on the recruitment committee, with the final year as the (now retired) GGSA Recruitment Coordinator. Thank you for this generous award.

Recipient of the S.W. Bailey Distinguished Graduate Fellowship – Yihang Fang

I am deeply honored to receive the S.W. Bailey Distinguished Graduate Fellowship. I focus on studying the formation mechanism of sedimentary dolomite. Part of the long-lasting “dolomite problem” is to understand the discrepancy between abundant ancient dolomite and scarcity of modern dolomite indicate a dramatic shift in ocean chemistry during the evolution of the Earth. This discrepancy could not simply explain by the current microbial-catalyzed dolomite formation model. Therefore, based on lab synthesis and correlation of chert and dolomite in the rock record, I proposed an abiogenic dissolved silica-catalyzed dolomite formation mechanism. Due to the difficulty of precipitation, dolomite could be used as a proxy to provide constraints on the paleoenvironment. Using a combination of mineralogy method (XRD, SEM, TEM, and STEM) and geochemical modeling, I can use this abiogenic mechanism to understand the paleo-ocean chemistry and potential the formation of cap carbonate. Without the dedication and foundation established by Prof. Bailey, none of these could have happened. I will always be grateful for this important recognition and support for my future graduate study.

Recipient of the Jay C. Nania Student Research Assistantship – Allison Jones

I am very grateful to receive the Jay C. Nania Student Research Assistantship for the 2019-2020 academic year. I would like to sincerely thank Sylvia Orengo-Nania for establishing this award in honor of Jay Nania. Although I never had the opportunity to meet Mr. Nania, I am told of his adventurous spirit and enthusiasm for working in nature. Thanks to the generosity of the Nania family and the contributing donors, I will get to continue working on small fault development processes in the Baraboo Syncline in south-central Wisconsin, adding an additional field component to my work in the spirit of Jay’s love of the outdoors.

Recipient of the Thomas E. Berg Award for Excellence in Teaching – Allison Jones

I am honored to be selected as a recipient of a Thomas E. Berg Award for Excellence in Teaching for 2018-2019. This past summer, I had the pleasure of being a teaching assistant for the Wasatch-Uinta Field Camp, the six-week summer capstone course attended by students from not only the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but also the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Minnesota-Duluth, and other institutions across the country. I have a deep love for fieldwork and there are few moments as rewarding for me as observing a student successfully make sense of complex geologic structures in the field. I look forward to learning and teaching more at camp again this summer.