University of Michigan EARTH eNews: July 2021

Dear Alumni and Friends,
Greetings from Ann Arbor. The University is beginning to ramp up for a return to mostly in-person classes this fall. Staff schedules are shifting from remote to a blend of remote and on-campus. Changes in COVID restrictions also allowed us to hold in-person classes at Camp Davis this summer. We expect the events of the last year and a half will impact the operations of the Department for years to come, though how that will play out is as yet uncertain. Nonetheless, as you can see from this newsletter, the Department has carried on in the face of challenges no one could have imagined just a few years ago. The efforts of faculty, students, staff, alumni,family, and our many friends has made this possible. Thanks to you all.

If you have news to share in these eNewsletters or the Department's printed newsletter, please let us know by emailing us at

Sincerely, Adam Simon and Kacey Lohmann

Congratulations to the 2021 Predoctoral Fellow Maria Alejandra Rodriguez Mustafa!
The Rackham Predoctoral Fellowships are part of a long heritage of funding for outstanding Ph.D. students from across varying disciplines dating back to the 1930s. Each spring, graduate programs from across the University of Michigan nominate their most talented scholars to receive this prestigious award. The recipients are advanced doctoral students who use the fellowship to complete their dissertation research and writing.

Dissertation abstract: Geochronology and Source of Metals and Fluids in Iron Oxide-Apatite and Iron Oxide-Copper-Gold Mineral Deposits

Photo by Peter Knoop

UROP Blue Ribbon for MichiganEARTH Major
Sophomore EARTH major Amartya Kattemalavadi was awarded a Blue Ribbon Certificate for his poster and presentation during the 2021 Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) wherein he discussed the research he is doing with PhD student Jackie Kleinsasser, faculty member Adam Simon and colleagues George Hudak III and Dean Peterson of the University of Minnesota to understand the evolution of the critical-metal-rich Duluth Complex, Minnesota. 

Alumni News
Peter Knoop, EARTH alum, is the recipient of the international 2021 Esri President's Award for his work to bring Geographic Information System (GIS) technology into classrooms, labs, and the field, across the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Peter is a Research Computing Consultant with LSA TS working in GIS, Cloud, and eXtended Reality (XR) technologies. Peter has become internationally known for his technological expertise and ability to ideate pedagogically appropriate ways to add technology to the student experience. Peter was previously awarded the University of Michigan Provost's Teaching Innovation Prize for his work with Professor Adam Simon to develop GIS projects focused on renewable energy. 

Photo by Tristan Childress

Professor Adam Simon was appointed as Director of the Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars
Professor Adam Simon was appointed as Director of the Michigan Research and Discovery Scholars program (MRADS) on July 1 for a three-year term.  MRADS is a Living Learning Community that provides incoming first-year students a research partnership with a faculty member in an area of their choosing, as well as a small, diverse & supportive community to call home. The mission of MRADS is to recruit, support, and retain students from diverse backgrounds and academic fields; to introduce them to the interdisciplinary nature of research and the excitement of discovery; to engage students in building a community based on mutual respect and affirmation of diversity; and to enhance students' undergraduate experience by providing them with academic and professional resources as well as engaging extracurricular opportunities to support their academic and personal growth. Adam has demonstrated passion for mentoring students from diverse backgrounds and is excited to add value to the experience of MRADS students. 

Dissertation Defenses

Congratulations to Rebecca Dzombak, who successfully defended her dissertation "What can the geochemistry of fossil soils tell us about Earth's biologic and geologic past?" on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Congratulations to Alessio Capobianco who successfully defended his dissertation "Paleontological Data Reveal Unexpected Biogeographic Histories of Extant Organisms: Bonytongue Fishes (Teleostei: Osteoglossomorpha) as a Case Study" on Wednesday June 30th, 2021.

Congratulations to Sooyeon Kim who successfully defended her dissertation "Exploration of environmental and energy related reactions at mineral-fluid interfaces at the molecular level" on Wednesday July 14th, 2021.

Congratulations to Jenny Bowen who successfully defended her dissertation "Products, rates, and importance of sunlight-driven degradation of dissolved organic matter in freshwaters" on Wednesday July 21st, 2021.

Congratulations to Kirk Townsend who successfully defended his dissertation "Co-evolution of rock strength, erosion, and steep topography" on Wednesday July 21st, 2021.

More news, events, and general interest articles can be found on the department web site. You can follow the field trips, research, and Camp Davis on Twitter and Instagram

To be removed from this email group Contact us