Field notes: Making it work
Last spring's undergraduate field geology trip was nearly derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. Nimble organizers and adaptable students made it work.
Greetings, alumni and friends,
This year has been unprecedented to say the least. The ongoing pandemic has affected and continues to impact the department in many ways. In March, research activities were shut down and have been cautiously revived since early June. Also in March, faculty, staff, and students had to switch from in-person to remote instruction within just a couple of weeks. The college and the university worked hard to resolve numerous issues ahead of the fall semester and prepare for various scenarios of how the future might unfold.
During the fall semester, I have been heartened to see our community working together to maintain a safe and productive educational environment. Everybody is striving to adhere to health and safety guidelines; our instructors and their assistants are finding new ways to teach, both in person and remotely; and our staff is making sure we all have the tools and support we need.
Concurrently, the Black Lives Matter movement has had a major impact on how we understand social justice. Why do we, as a department, need to actively address racism and what actions can we take? As Chancellor Andrew Martin noted in a message to the WashU community, moving toward diversity and inclusion is not just the right thing to do, it also improves performance and makes us “more empathetic, better problem solvers, better communicators, better teachers, better friends, better colleagues, and better citizens.”
As a department, we are committed to making our community more diverse and inclusive. Actions that we plan to take include attracting and supporting faculty, staff, and students from Black and other minority communities; inviting more speakers from minority communities; and continuing to educate ourselves about racism and how to address it. I also encourage you to advocate and vote for social justice measures in your own communities. Finally, I urge all of us to learn how to have a meaningful and respectful dialogue with people who hold views different from our own. This is not easy, but I believe that, in the long term, this is the only path toward a diverse and inclusive community.
With warmest regards,
Bethany Ehlmann describes her journey from WashU to leading mission teams and shaping science policy.
For Rachel Gesserman, science education and outreach is a passion as well as a practice.
Keith Koper keeps busy as a professor of geology at the University of Utah as well as Utah's primary state seismologist.
Undergraduate field geology trip at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, an incised meander into the Colorado Plateau
Graduate students Andrea Goltz (left) and Yuanyuan Liang (right) in Mike Krawczynski's lab
Research scientist Martin Pratt uses the Fossett Lab's GeoXplorer app to examine protein 6VSB, also known as the SARS-CoV-2 "spike" protein
James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor Arvidson and the Mars Exploration Rover (Spirit and Opportunity) team received the Distinguished Science Award from the Huntsville chapter of the National Space Club.Read the Story
Research Professor Hofmeister won a 2020 Professional Excellence Award from the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG).Read the Story
Scott Rudolph Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences Jolliff was awarded the 2020 Eugene Shoemaker Distinguished Scientist Medal by NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI).Read the Story
Research Professor Lodders was selected for the 2021 Leonard Medal by the Meteoritical Society.Read the Story
Assistant Professor Wang won the European Association of Geochemistry’s 2020 Houtermans Award.Read the Story
Professor Wysession was appointed editor in chief of Perspectives of Earth and Space Scientists, a new peer-reviewed journal from the American Geophysical Union (AGU).Read the Story
Catch up on all our alumni updates from 2020.Read more alumni news