New Assistant Professors

It’s a great pleasure to formally announce that we have several new assistant professors arriving this summer. They are Drs. Emmy Smith, Meghan Avolio, Maya Gomes, and June Wicks.

Emmy Smith is a field geologist trained at Amherst, Harvard, and now a postdoc at the Smithsonian. She works on Late Proterozoic and Cambrian geology and geochemistry, with broad interests in modern climate change and energy technology too. Her overarching interest is in the coevolution of life and the environment, especially at transitions. Emmy performs field work in Mongolia, Death Valley, among other sites, and will establish an isotope mass spectrometry facility in Olin Hall.

Meghan Avolio is a plant ecologist studying the mechanisms by which global change drivers, including urbanization, impact the diversity of plant populations and communities. Her research addresses the consequences of global change for individual plants up to entire ecosystem functioning. Meghan holds a PhD from Yale University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and will join our faculty from the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, where she currently holds a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship.

Maya Gomes‘ primary research interest is the use of sulfur isotope and other geochemical records to reconstruct the coupled biogeochemical cycling of sulfur, carbon and oxygen during the early evolution of life on Earth and climate perturbations in the Phanerozoic. She studies modern lakes as natural experimental systems to explore the preservation of sulfur isotope and other geochemical signals and apply the results to the geological record. Maya is joining our department from her PhD at Northwestern and a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellowship at Harvard.

And June Wicks will arrive this summer from a post as an Associate Research Scholar at Princeton. June explores the properties of the building blocks of terrestrial planets both within and outside our solar system. She performs measurements of materials at high pressure, either in diamond anvil cells or under dynamic compression, for example using X-ray lasers at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. Her measurements push the frontiers of material science to extreme high pressure and short timescale. June’s training is in Geological and Planetary Sciences from Caltech.

Please join me in welcoming Emmy, Meghan, Maya, and June to E&PS! You can read more about them in the department people directory.