About Us

Whether you are interested in studying the world beneath your feet, or worlds farther away, the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences provides the tools for understanding the processes that shape our planet and other solar system bodies. Our faculty are leaders in their fields, and they are passionate about their work and training the next generation of scientists. Our state-of-the-art laboratory facilities allow our faculty to push the boundaries of their fields and give our students the chance to do their own research. We apply geology, mineralogy, petrology, biology, chemistry, physics, and math to investigate diverse topics such as early life on Earth, the structure of Earth's deep interior, the nature of contaminant transport, and the evidence for water on Mars. Our alumni are uniquely poised to help solve some of society's most pressing problems through careers in government, non-profit organizations, academia, and industry.

Maggie Osburn, AB 2007

Maggie Osburn has been going to the field since she was a little girl. Now, she shares the joys of field geobiology with her students as an assistant professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Northwestern University.

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Kirsten Siebach, AB 2011

"I'm so excited to understand the history of water on Mars. If Mars could have been Earth-like, it can teach us about the early times on our own planet."

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Ryan Zeigler, PhD 2004

Ryan Ziegler spend his days looking after rocks. Normally, rocks don't require much care, but lunar samples are a different story entirely.

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Awards & Notables

Complete List of Awards

Jeffrey G. Catalano

Professor Catalano has been appointed the next executive editor of Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, the official journal of the Geochemical Society and the Meteoritical Society. He also received multiple research awards from NASA. An award from the Department of Energy also supports Catalano’s study of trace metal dynamics and limitations on biogeochemical cycling in wetland soils and hyporheic zones.

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Bronwen Konecky

Assistant Professor Konecky received the Nanne Weber Early Career Award from the Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The award recognizes significant contributions in paleoceanography and paleoclimatology from researchers within 10 years of completing their PhDs. Honorees are selected on the basis of outstanding research impact, interdisciplinary work, leadership, and mentoring.

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Rita Parai

Assistant Professor Parai was awarded grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy for research on isotopes and experimental geochemistry.

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Degrees Conferred


Bachelor's Degrees

AB in Environmental Earth Sciences

  • Porter Abbey
  • Katherine Belfany
  • Harrison Scott Banner
  • Anton Beer
  • Elena Gates Downs
  • Cecily Alexandra Hibbs
  • Isabelle Sara Kornblau
  • Heather Lynn Lee
  • Marissa Lerner
  • J'Laan Pittman
  • Sylvie Emma Skene
  • Hammy Sorkin
  • Dylan Daniel Wallace
  • Sydney Ann Welter
  • Margaret Meiqi Weng
  • Edward William Wintergalen

AB in Geophysics

  • Christopher W. Blagg
  • Michael Dubus
  • Sydney Nicole Dybing
    Magna cum laude
  • Alaina Berlanga Fierro
  • Christian Vincent Fogerty
  • Richard John Hathaway
  • Yantao Luo
    Cum laude
  • James Michael Schisler
  • Annabel Shu

AB in Geochemistry

  • Ethan Campbell Kuehl
    Cum laude
  • Jeremy Max Pomerantz
  • Benjamin Hayden Tiger
    Cum laude

AB in Geology

  • Jacob Tarr

Master's Degrees


  • Thomas Condus
  • Andrea Goltz
  • Charis Horn
  • Anna Schonwald
  • Brenna Tuller-Ross

Doctoral Degrees


  • Scott Beeler
    Controls on the Formation and Morphogenesis of Microbialites
  • Michael Bouchard
    Quantifying Lithochemical Diversity of Martian Materials Using Hierarchical Clustering and a Similarity Index for Classification
  • Roger Bryant
    Environmental Controls on Sulfur Isotope Ratios in Sedimentary Sulfide Materials
  • Chen Cai
    Seismic Structure near the Mariana Trench and Deep Earthquake Triggering in the Tonga Flat Slab
  • Andrew Lloyd
    Seismic Tomography of the Antarctic Continent
  • Kathryn Powell
    Spectral and Stratigraphic Mapping of Layered Sulfate Deposits on Mars Using Advanced CRISM Data Processing Techniques
  • Jocelyn Richardson
    Determining the Effects of Depositional Environment and Diagenesis on the Speciation, Spatial Distribution, Abundance and Isotopic Composition of Sulfur in Carbonates
  • Tingying Xu
    Fundamental Controls on the Reactivity of Aluminum Oxide and Hydroxide Surfaces: Contributions of Surface Site Coordination States and Interfacial Water Structure

Crossey was selected as the 2019 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Professor for the Geological Society of America Hydrogeology Division.

Laura Crossey

AM 1979

Gillers was recently named one of Jewish Week's "36 under 36" for his work founding and developing his organization, GrowTorah, part of the inaugural cohort of the Orthodox Union's Impact Accelerator.

Yosef Gillers

AB 2010

Shiro has had a busy year monitoring earthquakes, the Kilauea eruption, and the aftermath of the eruption. His team published their first summary paper in Science and won several awards, including the Department of Interior Unit Award for Excellence of Service, the USGS STAR Award, and the Samuel J. Heyman "Sammie" Service to America Medal.

Brian Shiro

AM 2002

Yue graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and began his residency in internal medicine at Walter Reed in Bethesda, MD. In April, Yue rotated at NASA Johnson Space Center for a clerkship in aerospace medicine, where he worked on a project updating cardiovascular screening protocols in astronauts.

Michael Yue

AB 2013

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Catch up on all our alumni updates from 2019.

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