Exploring Mars, 50 years and counting

In early September, EPS hosted a career celebration for Raymond E. Arvidson, now the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor Emeritus. The multi-day event included a departmental open house, a reunion for alumni of the Pathfinder Program in Environmental Sustainability, and a public lecture where Arvidson shared highlights, reflections, and driving lessons gained from a half century of investigating the red planet.


Nancy Akerman

Akerman, PhD 2009, implements environmental protection at the United Nations.

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Crystal Gammon

Gammon, AB 2005, shows the impact of WashU research as the director of communications for Arts & Sciences.

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Deia Schlosberg

Schlosberg, AB 2003, advocates for environmental and social justice through her award-winning documentary films.

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Awards and Notables


Claire Masteller

Assistant Professor Masteller won a grant from the National Science Foundation for collaborative research on separating the climate and weather of river channels. Masteller also received an award from NASA’s Equity and Environmental Justice program to support a community feasibility study on urban flood modeling using a data-driven, community-centered approach in Centreville, Illinois.

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Rita Parai

Assistant Professor Parai won a CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for her project “Heavy Noble Gases in the Azores Archipelago.” Parai also received a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

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Kun Wang

Assistant Professor Wang received a grant from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Sample Analysis Participating Scientist Program. The award supports Wang’s investigation of moderately volatile element isotopic compositions of asteroid Bennu as well as their implications for the asteroid’s volatile depletion history.

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Degrees Conferred


Bachelor's Degrees

AB in Environmental Earth Sciences

  • Josie L. Alexander
  • Jonah Harry Bernstein
  • Miriam Gammerman
  • Maria Anna Hyrc
  • Jonathan Kacvinsky
  • Sam Lancaster Lance
  • Eric Justin Lapointe
  • Aida Zyba

AB in Geochemistry

  • Rowan Behnke
  • Flora Lynn Perlmutter
  • Judy Zhang

AB in Geology

  • David Henry Massey
  • Maria N. Schmeer

AB in Geophysics

  • Gary Dale Centennial Bowen

Master's Degrees


  • Katherine Josephine Billings
  • Alessandro Antúnez de Mayolo Mauceri
  • Samuel Edward Patzkowsky
  • Megan Forest Balemian-Spencer

Doctoral Degrees


  • Kaushik Mitra
    Iron and Manganese Oxidation by Oxyhalogen Species: Implications for Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction on Mars
  • Zhen Tian
    Potassium Isotope Cosmochemistry
  • Michael Keith Sly
    Low-Temperature Plasticity of Rock-Forming Minerals
  • Andrea Elizabeth Goltz
    Petrology, Geochemistry, and Experimental Studies of Mafic Enclaves and Amphibole at Shiveluch Volcano, Kamchatka
  • Jinshu Yan
    Trace Metal Speciation and Impacts on Iron Oxide Transformations and Biogeochemical Cycling

Mines spent time in southeast Alaska looking at sites damaged by a major storm in 2020 under FEMA’s permanent rehabilitation program.

Aine Mines

AB 2007

Niosi was promoted to manager of the Planning and Environmental Quality Division for the National Park Service’s Intermountain Regional Office in Lakewood, Colorado.

Dan Niosi

AB 1999

Schalders-Burton is continuing in her 16th year as the executive director and lead clergy member at Living Earth Church in Denver, Colorado.

Joy Schalders-Burton

AB 1995

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