Undergraduate research presentations and senior awards ceremony

In a ceremony held April 28, 2022, the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences recognized outstanding research by undergraduates and presented top departmental honors to two graduating seniors.

The Department of Earth and Planetary Scienes proudly welcomed four graduating seniors to present their senior theses:

  • Rowan Behnke presented "The Function and Phylogeny of a Duplicate Squalene-Hopene Cyclase Gene in Methylobacterium extorquens CM4." Behnke was advised by Alex Bradley.
  • Flora Perlmutter presented "Hydroclimate Responses to Volcanic Eruptions in the Common Era." Perlmutter was advised by Bronwen Konecky.
  • Maria Schmeer presented "Searching for Topographic Signatures of Hillslope Diffusivity across Landscapes." Schmeer was advised by Claire Masteller.
  • Judy Zhang presented "The Coupled Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere, Continental Crust, and Upper Mantle from Noble Gas Isotopes." Zhang was advised by Rita Parai.
From left, advisors Bronwen Konecky and Claire Masteller with undergraduate award winners Flora Perlmutter and Maria Schmeer. (Photo: Phil Skemer)

In addition to the senior thesis presentations, the department also presented two outstanding seniors with named awards:

Maria Schmeer won this year's Ernest L. Ohle, Jr. Award. The Ohle Award is presented to the outstanding senior judged to have the greatest promise for a successful career in the Earth or planetary sciences and who has demonstrated superior academic achievement. The prize is funded by endowed donation from Dr. Ernest L. Ohle, Jr., an alumnus who compiled a distinguished career as a mining geologist.

Flora Perlmutter won this year's Courtney Werner Memorial Prize. The Werner Prize is awarded to a senior student who has majored in Earth and Planetary Sciences and who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement. Courtney Werner was an associate professor in the Department Geology and Geological Engineering at Washington University. He joined the Department in 1923, having worked as a geologist for Gulf Oil Company. The prize is funded by endowed donations from his friends and former students.

This year's event also featured a research symposium, including posters by Emmett Ela, Miriam Gammerman, Ian Hutchison, Sam Lance, and Jordan Neeley.

We applaud this year's outstanding presenters and honorees!