Great Collaborations Began with Great Music

Our names are Adriane Lam and Jen Bauer. We both work with the fossil record to discern the relationships between life and climate. We met in the fall of 2014 while working as graduate students at Ohio University under Dr. Alycia Stigall. Although we knew from the start we would be friends because we were both obsessed with fossils, our friendship really took off one fateful day when Adriane jumped in Jen’s car while Jen had a Disturbed album playing. From that moment on, we’ve been conducting awesome science and collaborating ever since!

Adriane (left) and Jen (right) after finding an epic slab of ancient ripples off the side of a highway in Ohio.

We were fortunate enough to attend a university very close to abundant fossil localities. We spent time digging around in marine rocks from the Ordovician and even some ancient beach and terrestrial environments of the Pennsylvanian. This provided us with our own set of wonderful fossils that we can share with our friends, students, and family.

Since our early grad school years, we have been advocates of science and science accessibility, often working with young students and lovers of science. In addition, we are also professional researchers and teachers within our respective universities. We both have extensive experience talking with the general public about science, and love to explain what we do to others. In addition, we’re always happy to answer science related questions!

Adriane Lam (she/her)

Adriane wearing her super cool pumpkin hard hat while sailing on the JOIDES Resolution in the Tasman Sea.

Currently, Adriane is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geological Sciences and Environmental Studies at Binghamton University SUNY.  Adriane earned her Ph.D. at University of Massachusetts Amherst with Dr. R. Mark Leckie.  For her Master’s degree, Adriane worked with invertebrate organisms in the Ordovician (a period in Earth history that includes rocks that are 450 million years old). Now, she works in the Cenozoic (the time from 66 million years ago to today) reconstructing ancient ocean currents, namely western boundary currents, using a type of single-celled protist called planktic foraminifera. In addition, she uses these organisms to uncover unanswered questions pertaining to the rise of new species in our world oceans. As a researcher, she obtains most of her fossils and sediment through the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), and works closely with other scientists involved with the program. Adriane has worked with kids of all ages, and has run workshops at UMass Amherst for local Boy Scout troops to obtain their geology merit badges.  When Adriane isn’t conducting research, she enjoys hiking in the mountains of New England with her husband, cuddling with her cats, and organizing the massive amounts of rocks and fossils she has obtained over the years. Check out Adriane’s posts by clicking here.

Jen Bauer

Jen celebrating National Fossil Day at The Muse Knoxville!
Jen celebrating National Fossil Day at The Muse Knoxville!

Jen is working as a Research Museum Collection Manger at the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology. She cares for the 2 million + fossil invertebrate specimens which means maintaining specimen storage, database management, digitization, and more! She completed her PhD at The University of Tennessee with Dr. Colin Sumrall. She focuses on understanding the evolution of an extinct group of echinoderms called blastoids. Her research has focused on incorporating the internal anatomy (respiratory structures, gut, gonads) into understanding the evolution of the group through the Paleozoic. Jen’s Master’s degree was centered on understanding the evolutionary relationships of an extinct (no longer living) group of brachiopods. Jen has been heavily involved with evolution outreach through Darwin Day events at UT and other projects to provide fossils to local educators. She is an avid volunteer at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture and provides classroom visits to discuss geology and fossils at local schools. In her spare time, Jen enjoys trail running, mountain biking, hiking, knitting Harry Potter scarves, and lounging with her two cats. Check out Jen’s posts by clicking here.

Jen and Adriane enjoying a summer sunset on a beach in northern Estonia, overlooking the Gulf of Finland.

Copy Editor

Susanna Fraass

Susanna Fraass is a lover of the rules of the English language, but don’t ask her to explain them. She proofreads everything her husband writes. (Ask what happened the time she didn’t.) She hopes her contributions to this site will include telling the authors when they have scienced too hard. Susanna wants you to know that she has an irrational hatred of conglomerate.

Site Collaborators

Site collaborators work to contribute six blog posts per year and participate in quarterly team meetings and other Time Scavengers projects.

Kristina Barclay

Kristina recently defended her Ph.D. at the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), working with Dr. Lindsey Leighton. She studies predation in marine invertebrates, mostly between crabs and their snail prey. Her research focuses on the intersection between modern ecology and palaeontology to make connections between the past, present, and possible future. In particular, Kristina investigates how ocean acidification and human activity might affect predator-prey relationships between key species in marine ecosystems. As a result, Kristina spends just as much time working with live animals as fossil ones! She has done research in modern marine labs in Canada and the U.S., including Bodega Marine Laboratory (UC Davis), where she conducted long-term experiments investigating the effects of ocean acidification on snails and their shells. She also did her Master’s degree on the relationships between Devonian brachiopods and their encrusting organisms. Kristina is passionate about science education and public outreach, and has spent several years working in museums and science centres. Outside of work, Kristina likes to go hiking and snowshoeing in the Canadian Rockies with her family, hanging out with her husband and cat, and knitting/crocheting. She is also an advocate for brain tumour awareness, and volunteers for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada, and the Alberta Pituitary Patient Society.

Lexi Bolger

Lexi Bolger is an undergraduate researcher at the University of Florida Department of Geological Sciences. Her research focuses on examining large benthic foraminifera from the Eocene-Oligocene transition period. She is currently majoring in Marine Sciences with a concentration in geology. In the summer of 2019, she did an REU at the University of Delaware and was encouraged by her mentor to pursue science communication.  In addition to research, Lexi is also involved in various outreach programs. She is Lead Mentor for the 2019-2020 PODEMOS initiative, an academic and professionalization initiative for first-year Hispanic-Latinx students offered by UF’s Department of Hispanic-Latino Affairs. She also volunteers for the Natural Resource Diversity Initiative, which seeks to educate grade school students typically underrepresented in STEM in the Gainesville community about the natural sciences.

Linda K. Dämmer (she/they/he)

Linda is currently a PhD candidate at the Ocean Systems Department of the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, but has also recently taken up an industry position as a geologist and environmental scientist to work on contaminated soil and groundwater in addition to their research activities.

Linda obtained her MSc in Environmental Sciences from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where he won the Postgraduate Student of the Year 2015 Award and studied the relationship between ocean currents and the chemical composition of Holocene deep sea coral skeletons. Since then Linda’s research mainly focused on elements in marine biogenic carbonates such as corals, foraminifera or bivalve shells and how their concentrations or isotopic composition relates to the environmental conditions during the growth of the carbonate mineral. If these relationships are known, fossil specimens can be used to reconstruct the climate of the past. Linda first got interested in this topic during their undergraduate studies in Geosciences at University of Bonn, Germany, which she originally started to become a paleontologist after being fascinated/obsessed with dinosaurs from a very young age. Soon they discovered that dinosaurs are indeed very interesting, but that there is so much more we don’t yet know about paleo-environments, so he decided to help filling these gaps. In their spare time, Linda enjoys tabletop games, horror movies or hanging out with her two cats.

Alexander Favaro

Alexander Favaro is a first-generation student who graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Geology. Initially he had no plans for a career in geoscience but after meeting with Dr. Sarah Sheffield, he was determined to follow his life-long passion: paleobiology. He specifically is interested in evolutionary trends among organisms and what forces drove notable changes. He was nominated as a 2020 Student Ambassador for the Paleontological Society and was the 2020 Treasurer for the University of South Florida’s Geology Club. Currently, he is involved as an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Sarah Sheffield in a biogeographic project focused on Paleozoic echinoderm taxa. Alexander hopes to pursue his fascination for paleoecology by attending graduate school with the goal of a career at a teaching and research university. In his spare time, Alexander enjoys trips into nature, video games, and spending time with his family.

Andy Fraass

Andy has a Master’s in Geoscience from the University of Wisconsin and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts. While he’s currently a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Bristol, he’s done time at the National Museum of Natural History (Smithsonian Institution) and Sam Houston State University. He will be joining the faculty at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria in the summer of 2021. He studies planktic foraminifera, amoeba-like single celled marine organisms that produce a ‘shell’ made of calcium carbonate. Planktic forams have been around since the late Jurassic (around 160 million years ago) and are a key way of understanding what the past oceans were like. By identifying specific species we can determine the age of the sediment, what the oceans were like, what the temperature was when they were growing, the community structure, and what the carbon cycle was doing. Because forams been around for so long, we’ve used them to understand a diverse set of past climates. Andy is most interested in studying how evolution, climate, sediments, and oceanography mix together. He has a broad range of experience in cyclostratigraphy, biostratigraphy, paleoceanography, paleobiology, and has enough statistical knowledge to be dangerous. Andy has a wife and two kids, so most of his free time is spent running after his daughters. Read Andy’s posts by clicking here.

Mike Hils

Mike is currently a lab tech for the Department of Chemistry at the University of Dayton. Previously, he taught for at the University of Dayton for the Department of Geology and the Department of Chemistry. He also taught for the University of Mississippi’s Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, and the Department of Geological Sciences at the Ohio University. He earned his master’s degree at Ohio University with research in neoichnology using burrowing spiders as a study animal. Ichnology is the study of fossilized footprints, burrows, and other organism traces. Mike’s work focused on comparing the burrows produced by spiders to burrows found in the fossil record. He also helped develop an online catalog of burrows for the Continental Neiochnology Database. When Mike isn’t in the lab or the classroom, he enjoys looking at old buildings, going through natural history museums, and looking at the night sky. Read Mike’s posts by clicking here.

Jonathan Jordan

Jonathan is the host of the Paleo Policy Podcast and is currently lobbying for the designation of Anchisaurus polyzelus as the Massachusetts state dinosaur. He earned his master’s in Global Public Policy at Suffolk University where he studied institutional approaches to enacting climate change initiatives and the UNESCO World Heritage Site program. He began pursuing his fascination with government and policy by interning for a city manager and working for local recreational facilities in Southern California. In addition, he completed his undergraduate degree at UC San Diego in History and International Relations. However, wherever Jonathan would go he would find a way, sometimes without solicitation, to include dinosaurs and ecology into the conversation. This passion for nature led Jonathan to volunteer at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles as a gallery interpreter so he could find others who wanted to have that conversation as well! Now, as a podcast host, Jonathan analyzes the intersection of paleontology and policy by examining the actors, institutions, and events that shape this study of the prehistoric past. He recently completed his first season of the podcast where he interviewed a museum conservator, a paleo mitigation expert, a public policy professor, a museum collections and operations manager, and a park paleontologist at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. When he’s not reading articles on paleo policy, Jonathan enjoys running, music hunting, and following developments in Star Wars canon.

Whitney Lapic

Whitney is currently an MS Geology student at Miami University in Ohio where she studies the evolution of echinoids (sea urchins and sand dollars) as part of the Echinoid Associated Traces Project (EAT). Whitney received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and completed an internship at the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) where she began her research in predator – prey interactions. At the PRI, Whitney worked on identifying predatory microtraces inside of predatory drill holes on the shells of clams and snails. She is continuing to explore predation in the fossil record during her master’s by observing how antipredatory morphologies of sea urchins change through time in response to the emergence and diversification of different groups of predators. When Whitney is not doing research, she spends time with her cat, who is named Quartz, and enjoys both playing and teaching the game of marbles.

Maggie Limbeck

Maggie is currently working on her Ph.D. at The University of Tennessee with Dr. Colin Sumrall. While getting her undergraduate degree in geology at Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, she fell in love with all things echinoderm (modern sea stars and sea urchins). Her undergraduate research focused on how ocean acidification due to climate change would affect sea urchin taphonomy (how their skeletons break apart after they die). After starting her Master’s degree, that research shifted to understanding the evolutionary history of arguably the craziest group of extinct echinoderms: the paracrinoids. Now that she has started her Ph.D., she is hoping to keep working with extinct echinoderms, but is also interested in looking into what elements are incorporated into sea urchin skeletons and what she can learn about how echinoderms build their skeletons! When Maggie isn’t doing research, she loves to do outreach and show her community that science is fun and accessible to everyone, she volunteers at the local museum, does school visits, and has worked with Darwin Day at the University of Tennessee to share evolutionary science with the campus and community. In her free time, Maggie likes to go hiking, kayaking, read spy novels, and hang out with her cat! Read Maggie’s posts by clicking here.

Cheryl Emerson Resnick

Cheryl began teaching introductory earth science and geology classes at Illinois Central College, East Peoria, Illinois in 1992.  Math and science had always been her favorite subjects in school but like many geologists, Cheryl didn’t enter college planning to study geology. She discovered geology her sophomore year at a community college in California following a recommendation by her father.  He suggested taking a geology class since he knew she enjoyed camping. That one class, with field trips, was all it took to convince her.  She transferred from Santa Barbara City College to the University of Wyoming where she earned her B.S. in Geology and then continued her education at Northern Arizona University earning her M.S. degree in Earth Science. Prior to teaching at community colleges, Cheryl worked for the National Park Service at Grand Canyon National Park and Timpanogos Cave National Monument. Her focus as an NPS ranger and as a community college instructor has been to raise awareness of the importance of science education to the general public. Cheryl believes strongly in the value of experiential learning, especially in general education courses. She has continued the longstanding tradition at Illinois Central College of taking her Midwest students to the Southwest and Rocky Mountain regions on 18-day field courses to learn basic geology principles. In her free time, she enjoys reading, weightlifting, and activities with her husband and friends.

Shaina Sadai (Rogstad)

Shaina Sadai is a PhD Candidate at UMass Amherst in the Geosciences department working with Dr. Alan Condron and Dr. Rob DeConto. Her research uses global climate models and regional ice models to understand how changes in the Antarctic Ice Sheet could impact future global climate as anthropogenic emissions increase over time. She found her way to earth sciences by happenstance after taking a very meandering route. She was the first in her family to attend college, beginning at Manchester Community College before obtaining bachelors degrees in astrophysics and physics. During her undergraduate time she did research into galaxy evolution and gravitational waves. From there she went on to do a Masters in Applied Mathematics studying quantum mechanics and disease spread. She eventually found her way to climate science and now spends her time debugging computer code and doing public outreach to students of all ages and community groups. In her free time she enjoys dancing, gardening, documenting the biodiversity in her local area, and hanging out with bunnies and squirrels. Read Shaina’s posts by clicking here.

Cameron Muskelly

Cam is a recent high school graduate and an avocational paleontologist and geologist. Cam lives in Duluth, Georgia and does paleontology and geology outreach events around his home state. He primarily focus on the geology and paleontology of southeastern part of the United States. He spends a lot of time doing independent research, providing lectures, and collecting fossils from various localities around Georgia and Alabama. Additionally, he is a volunteer for the Fernbank Science Center where two Saturdays a month he sets up a table of fossils and discuss concepts regarding geology and fossil record. He is also a member of the Georgia Mineral Society, Atlanta Geological Society, and the Paleontology Association of Georgia. Cam is working toward becoming a Historical Geologist and Paleontologist. In his spare time, Cam enjoys reading, dancing, and writing. Read Cam’s posts by clicking here.

Sarah Sheffield

Sarah is a visiting instructor at the University of South Florida in the School of Geosciences, where she teaches a range of classes, including introductory geology, the history of life, and sedimentary geology. She has a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree from Auburn University in Alabama, both focused on invertebrate paleontology. Her research focuses on a group of extinct echinoderms (the group that includes sea lilies and sea stars): the diploporitans. These fossils, which are defined by a type of respiratory structure, called diplopores (double pores), are not well understood and their relationships to other echinoderms are confusing. The distribution of diploporitans on the Earth and why they eventually went extinct are questions Sarah is looking to answer through her work. To learn more about this puzzling group, Sarah has done field work in rural Spain, the western coast of Sardinia, and in quarries in southern Indiana to uncover new diploporitan fossils. She has also traveled to museums in the Czech Republic, Estonia, and all over the U.S. to restudy diploporitan collections. Sarah is very active with outreach and promoting scientific literacy in her community. She works with the national programs including Skype a Scientist, Letters to a Pre-Scientist, local natural history museums, public schools, and Darwin Day at the University of South Florida to get people excited about science and to learn more about evolutionary biology. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys collecting dinosaur toys, hiking, reading for fun, and hanging out with her pet bunnies, guinea pigs, and dogs. Read Sarah’s posts by clicking here. Sarah has incorporated Time Scavengers into her classroom through a project in an upper level geology course: USF Paleo/Strat and an internship program: USF Interns

Site Contributors

Site contributors are essentially guest bloggers that have contributed 2+ posts to the site but do not participate in regular team meetings and other behind the scenes Time Scavengers work.

Isaac Pope

Isaac Pope is a young undergraduate student with an insatiable fascination of geoscience, leading him to explore its numerous facets from a variety of perspectives (temporal, spatial, analytical, etc.) in the field and from various technical works. Isaac has studied numerous books ranging from graduate to professional level on ichnology, sedimentology, pure mathematics, and other disciplines which contributed to him beginning his college studies at the age of fourteen. With publications in peer-reviewed journals, he has not only conducted much university-level research on both geological and mathematical topics, but he is also greatly interested in education stemming from his desire to share the wonder of science and mathematics with others, primarily through expeditions to geologically interesting locales across Cascadia. While Isaac’s current research focuses primarily on Earth’s most recent transformations during the Quaternary, he relishes every opportunity to investigate other niches of geoscience.

Undergraduate Interns

In the Spring to Summer of 2020, University of South Florida undergraduate students, recruited by Dr. Sarah Sheffield, conducted a science communication internship. These interns wrote posts for the Time Scavengers site, and well as created social media content for their posts. 

Mckenna Dyjak

Mckenna is a senior in her undergraduate studies in environmental science and geology at the University of South Florida. She is currently doing an internship with the Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County (EPC) in the Wetlands Division. At the EPC she helps with wetland delineations (determination of precise boundaries of wetlands on the ground through field surveys), permitting, and mitigation projects. She is also a research assistant in the Auditory and Speech Sciences Laboratory at the University of South Florida. Her current research project is helping to create a usable scale for professionals to rate voice quality (breathiness, roughness, and overall strain) by having individuals rate each voice quality from 1-1000 in increasing severity. Mckenna loves being outdoors and being able to do field work for geology classes and her internship. She is very interested in sedimentary geology and plans on attending graduate school to study paleoclimatology. In her spare time, Mckenna enjoys cooking, exercising, playing the piano, and exploring nature.

Baron Hoffmeister

Baron Hoffmeister is an undergraduate senior at the University of South Florida studying Environmental Science and Geology. Before attending university, Baron wanted to study marine biology, but after enrolling in his first geology class and participating in a geology field trip he knew that he wanted to become a geologist. He credits his professors having played a large role in his decision to become a geologist as well. Currently, Baron is interning with Governmental Management Services in the field management and operations division. He is responsible for assisting, maintaining, and servicing contracts between developers and local governments. Baron’s love for nature and the outdoors has always driven his passion to become a scientist. He is interested in sedimentary geology and plans to attend graduate school to study paleoclimatology. In his free time, Baron enjoys fishing, hiking, and exercising. Read Baron’s posts by clicking here.

Lisette Melendez

Lisette is currently a first-generation undergraduate student at the University of South Florida studying Geology and Astronomy. She has a profound passion for space rocks and intends to pursue graduate studies in Planetary Science. Ever since she was little, geology has always been her favorite subject – much to the dismay of her mother, who would find rocks in her pockets all the time. Even so,  it wasn’t until university, where she met Dr. Sarah Sheffield, that Lisette ever saw herself reflected in a scientist. As soon as she realized that she could become a geologist and study rocks for the rest of her life, she instantly changed career paths. She’s conducted research at Brown University on the north polar ice caps on Mars and she’s interned at NASA programming navigational applications for future lunar landing missions. Lisette holds two jobs at USF: studying the origin of life at the Astrobiology lab and working at the USF Library Digital Scholarship Services to make the university’s historical geologic documents accessible to scientists and researchers. Promoting  inclusivity in science is incredibly important to Lisette as a scientist and it’s a cornerstone of her leadership philosophy as an officer in her university’s Geology Club and Contemporary Art Museum Club. In her free time, she loves reading, visiting museums, and drinking boba tea. Read Lisette’s posts by clicking here.

Kailey McCain

Kailey is a senior at the University of South Florida, majoring in Interdisciplinary Natural Sciences and Philosophy. Her scientific interests lie at the intersection of geology and biology, with a passion for disease ecology. Kailey aims to get her doctorate in this field, studying the anthropogenic effects on disease prevalence and biological association. To grow as an aspiring scientist, Kailey worked at United Way of Hernando County as the Community Outreach Coordinator to advocate for Hernando County residents’ accessibility to health and education services. In January 2020, she interned at USF’s Access 3D Lab to scan paleontological specimens for the purpose of open access research and data sharing. She currently works at USF Health as an Operations Assistant, which entails looking for gaps in services and knowledge for students. She wishes to take these aspects learned from her work experience and do the same as a future scientist: to close gaps in knowledge for global health, to transform understandings of the growing climate change crisis, and most importantly, to reduce the disparities within low socioeconomic populations most affected by the spread of diseases. In her spare time, you will most likely find her exploring the beautiful city of Tampa, at the local park walking her dog, or kayaking in Florida’s Nature Coast.

Past Collaborators

Kyle Hartshorn

Kyle at the Chimney Bluffs State Park in New York

Kyle is citizen scientist, representing the outstanding tradition of amateur paleontology. He lives in Cincinnati, that famed river town where hills packed with 450 million year old fossils have stirred geological passion in generations of naturalists, himself included. Despite this siren song, Kyle somehow managed to become a software developer instead of a geologist. Tragic. Still, on nights and weekends, he’s reading paleontological journals, slogging through creeks to rediscover forgotten localities, tracking down obscure museum specimens, documenting new outcrops, and collecting fossils to be donated to museums. He is a member of the Dry Dredgers, the oldest avocational paleontological society in the United States. Like many in the group, Kyle works closely with professors and graduate students at the University of Cincinnati and other institutions to study the Ordovician and Silurian strata and fauna of the Cincinnati region. More specifically, he is frequently spotted with Dr. Carlton Brett, as the two share an enthusiasm for Paleozoic stratigraphy, echinoderms, field work, and geologizing past sunset. When time allows, Kyle illustrates digital reconstructions of ancient sea life. He also has an unparalleled ability to procrastinate when asked to write short autobiographies, and is cursed with both a droll wit and an unfortunate need to take on more projects than are humanly possible to complete. Read Kyle’s posts by clicking here.

Rose Borden

Rose is currently an MS Geology student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville working with Dr. Devon Burr. Originally intending to study faults (places where earthquakes have occurred by rocks being pushed together or pulled apart) in the Appalachians, she has instead found herself studying faults on Mars. Her thesis research is primarily focused on finding and analyzing ridges formed by past earthquakes on Mars. She first became interested in geology as a child going to visit her grandfather, who is also fascinated by all things geological. It was there she learned to pan for gold, identify several rocks and minerals, and lick a rock to find out the true color (don’t try this at home!). Having grown up in the Pacific Northwest near beautiful Seattle and the Cascade Mountain foothills, Rose has always been interested in earthquakes and volcanoes. When she discovered that she could study them beyond just checking books out from the library, she jumped at the chance and got her B.S. in Geology from Central Washington University by way of Green River Community College (now Green River College). Her main interest in pursuing a career in geology is to understand the ways that people and infrastructure interact with geology and find ways to mitigate geologic hazards (landslides, floods, earthquakes).

In her free time, Rose enjoys baking, reading, walking in the woods, and volunteering with the middle school youth group at her church. Read Rose’s posts by clicking here.

Megan Thompson-Munson

Megan is a current Geology master’s student at the University of Wyoming where she studies glaciology with Dr. Neil Humphrey. Her research focuses on marginal Greenland Ice Sheet dynamics, which means she collects borehole data to learn more about the mechanisms of ice sheet movement and glacial hydrology. Megan has always had an interest in climate-related research, and more importantly, sharing that research with others. Her internship working as a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park gave her the opportunity to communicate science every day. She also received dual undergraduate degrees in Geology and Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she studied East African paleoclimate through biogeochemical analyses. Megan is always looking for ways to integrate geology into other people’s lives and share her adventures with others. Now in Wyoming, Megan volunteers with Big Brothers Big Sisters, hikes, and attempts to rock climb (but gets too distracted by the awesome granite), and enjoys trying new cheese from the local cheese shop. Read Megan’s posts by clicking here.

Raquel Bryant

Raquel is currently an MS/PhD student in the Geosciences department at University of Massachusetts Amherst and works with Dr. R. Mark Leckie in the Micropaleontology lab. She is a recipient of the Randolph and Cecile Bromery Graduate Fellowship at UMass and was recently awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Raquel developed her interest in paleoclimatology and paleoceanography as an undergraduate at Brown University and her love for micropaleontology through research experiences at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. For her graduate work Raquel uses planktic foraminifera and other microfossils to study how the Earth’s oceans have changed over time. Specifically, she is interested in how ocean-climate interactions change during times of extreme global warmth, like her all-time favorite geologic age, the Cretaceous. Although she loves research, her favorite part of being a scientist is being a leader and a role model.  She dedicates a lot of time outside the lab to increasing campus inclusivity and equity through graduate student groups like the Graduate Students of Color Association (GSCA) and the Graduate Women in STEM (GWIS). Raquel is a talented vocalist, keeps up with the Kardashians religiously and loves everything pop culture. Read Raquel’s posts by clicking here.

Dipa Desai

Dipa is a first-generation MS/PhD student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in the Micropaleontology Lab, where she studies paleoclimate science and paleoceanography with Dr. Mark Leckie. She was the first in her family to receive an undergraduate degree– a Bachelor’s of Science in  Biology at the University of North Carolina. Dipa pursued paleoclimate research through the National Park Service’s Mosaics in Science and the National Science Foundation’s Panama Canal Project internships. She stepped into the classroom for 2 years as an AmeriCorps National Teaching Fellow to understand how to communicate STEM topics to broader audiences and to promote STEM careers to underserved, global-majority communities. Currently, she studies how warmer-than-present paleoclimates affected marine microfauna in Antarctica, and she is interested in applying research outcomes to improving current environmental policies and using inclusive teaching strategies to open accessibility to STEM education. She enjoys judging the Massachusetts Middle School State Science Fair every year and participating in local STEM outreach events. In her free time, you can find her in the kitchen creating culinary masterpieces. Read Dipa’s posts by clicking here.