Congratulations to our Undergraduates

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The Johns Hopkins Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences congratulates five graduating seniors from the class of 2018 who completed honors theses.

Eric Chan: A graduate of John Foster Dulles HS in Sugarland, TX Eric worked with Prof. Sarah Horst to examine the impact of changing carbon monoxide concentrations on the chemical composition of hazes. He found that increasing carbon monoxide significantly changes what compounds are found in haze particles. This work has implications for understanding the atmospheric chemistry of early Earth, Titan, and extrasolar planets. Eric will be applying to medical school over the course of the next year.

Sydney Riemer: A graduate of the NYC Lab School in New York, NY, Sydney worked with Prof. Maya Gomes examining microscale morphologies of microbial mats. She found no significant differences in the biological assemblages between modern mats with differing macroscale morphologies, suggesting that conspicuous differences in microbial mat appearance is primarily controlled by environmental conditions. This work has implications for how we understand the history of early life on Earth, which is thought to be recorded in morphological signatures from such deposits. Sydney will be starting a master’s degree program at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel in the fall.

Naomi Rodgers: A graduate of University School of Nashville in Nashville, TN, Naomi worked with Prof. Kevin Lewis to test whether a laser sensor similar in concept to one used on the Mars Curiosity Rover could find periodic changes in chemical composition in a well-studied sedimentary record on Earth, the Newark Basin in NJ. Her work shows that chemicals in the basin show variability on time scales consistent with changes in the tilt of the earth and shape of earth’s orbit, supporting the use of such techniques to look for similar forcing on Mars where such changes are even more extreme. Naomi will be starting a Ph.D. program at the University of Southern California in the fall.

Emily Stoll: A graduate of Carver Center for Arts and Technology HS in Baltimore, MD, Emily worked with Prof. Kevin Lewis to analyse the variability of the color of a sequence of sediments from the Green River Formation in WY. While previous work using oil yield as a proxy had suggested that variability in the recovery of oil and gas from these sediments reflected periodic changes in the earth’s tilt and orbit, her analysis casts doubt on this result. Despite these doubts, the method of greyscale variability matched that of the oil yield which implies it could be a viable method of determining solar fluctuation. This is helpful for regions such as Mars where remote imaging is the only dataset we may have access to. Emily will be beginning a Masters at Stanford University in the fall.

Megan Sullivan: Coming to us from Texas, Megan worked with Profs. Anand Gnanadesikan and Tom Haine to develop a one-dimensional numerical model of biological and chemical cycling at the Bermuda Atlantic Time Series Station (BATS). Her work showed that a relatively simple model was able to reproduce the annual cycle of oxygen and nutrients but not the annual cycle of productivity- a result that mirrors a long-standing conundrum at BATS and which provides a starting place for future studies to resolve it. Megan will be following up on this research and applying to graduate school in oceanography over the course of the next year.

We congratulate these five students on their accomplishments and wish them success in their future endeavors!