What are your responsibilities with the IGS?
I serve as a quaternary geologist and am the STATEMAP program coordinator. I research and conduct field investigations on the quaternary deposits and stratigraphy of Iowa, with a primary focus on the pre-Illinoian glacial till units and development of the Iowan Erosion Surface. I collect, describe, and analyze surface and subsurface geologic samples and interpret the results for use in surficial mapping, Quaternary stratigraphy, and hydrogeological studies. I also respond to information requests on the geology of Iowa and take part in a variety of educational and outreach activities.
What are your research/project interests?
My primary research interests are related to quaternary stratigraphy in the state of Iowa and how these deposits can improve our understanding of regional environments and past climate. The development of the Iowan Erosion Surface and its relationship to loess deposits in Iowa is another area of research focus.
How can your research in your areas of interest improve the quality of life in Iowa?
Having a better understanding of the distribution and characteristics of geologic materials in Iowa can be applied to a variety of societal needs including groundwater protection, resource potential, and improving decision-making.
What is your academic and professional background?
I have been employed by the IGS for 19 years. My educational background consists of a BS in geology from Grand Valley State University and an MS in geoscience from the University of Massachusetts.
At about what age and why did you decide to become a geologist/scientist?
I have always been interested in the outdoors and understanding the natural environment. I was in high school when I realized that geology could be a potential career path.
What field activity is your favorite?
Leading or attending field trips is my favorite field activity. It is always a learning experience and gives me a chance to interact with both professional and non-professionals interested in geology. The best way to learn is to see geology firsthand.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I spend most of my free time trying to keep up with my twin boys! I enjoy spending time outdoors, running, and reading.