Stanford University
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Stanford Earth graduates: Make your own future

Graduates of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences have the skills and knowledge to persevere in the face of new challenges and uncertainty, according to Dean Stephan Graham.

BY Danielle Torrent Tucker
ClockJune 14, 2021

Persisting through a pandemic that has made global inequities more apparent than ever – from food and water to energy and natural resources – this year’s graduates share unique accomplishments and opportunities. In lieu of a diploma ceremony, Dean Stephan Graham expressed his congratulations online to the 2021 graduates of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth), as well as his confidence in their ability to solve problems.

“Your experience over the last year and a half has been unlike that of any graduating cohort in Stanford Earth’s history,” said Graham, the Welton Joseph and Maud L’Anphere Crook Professor in Applied Earth Sciences. “You have succeeded, you have triumphed over unprecedented adversity to achieve your academic goals.”

Graham likened their experience to his time as a cave explorer, which would sometimes involve crawling through miles of darkness and isolation. Like finding the sunlight, we are emerging from “the dark foreboding cave that has been the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “You graduates have been resilient and have persevered in the face of new challenges, isolation, and uncertainty.”

In the 2020-21 academic year, Stanford Earth awarded 195 degrees: 37 Bachelor of Science, 103 Master of Science or Master of Arts, and 55 Doctor of Philosophy degrees, from the departments of Geological SciencesEnergy Resources EngineeringGeophysics, and Earth System Science, and from three interdisciplinary programs: the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER), the Earth Systems Program, and the Change Leadership for Sustainability Program (SUST).

“You have broken into the sunlight, but the pandemic has changed the world in ways we do not yet fully understand,” Graham said. “But as a result of what you’ve just experienced, you are armed with the skills and an understanding of the importance of perseverance that will allow you to face an uncertain future and make it your own.”

Excellence in Teaching Awards

Two individuals were named recipients of the annual Excellence in Teaching Award. Professor of Geological Sciences Elizabeth Miller was nominated by students, colleagues and alumni who praised her mentorship, teaching, and outreach efforts to attract non-majors to geology.

“Elizabeth Miller has been the beating heart of [the Geological Sciences] department’s field program for four decades,” one colleague wrote. “She has educated generations of Stanford geology students in the field, served as a mentor and example to female field geologists, and has showed what I believe is an unparalleled dedication to personally helping advanced undergraduates learn difficult concepts.”

An additional Excellence in Teaching Award for a non-tenure-line faculty member was conferred this year to recognize the critical education and mentorship students receive both in and outside the classroom. Sibyl Diver, a lecturer in the Earth Systems Program, has helped countless students learn in an environment that highlights and empowers the work of local communities.

“She has taught me that being curious, centering others’ voices, always learning, building community, and showing compassion are vital to living a life that is full of meaning,” an undergraduate student commented. “She embodies these every day.”

Student Awards

The Stanford Earth Certificate for Outstanding Achievement in Mentoring was awarded to 13 students who contributed to their research group and school communities: Josheena Naggea, David Gonzalez, Bennett Kaplili, Colette Kelly, Caroline Famiglietti, Negar Nazari, Axel Wang, Livia Fulchingnoni de Paiva, Evan Sherwin, Lauren Abrahams, Meghan Shea, Rebecca Miller, and Leehi Yona.

The Centennial TA Awards were presented to seven graduate students who demonstrated outstanding contributions to teaching: Richard Stockey from Geological Sciences, Lauren Abrahams from Geophysics, Catherine Callas from Energy Resources Engineering, Emily Lacroix from Earth System Science, David Gonzalez from E-IPER, and Lilla Petruska and Gabriel Saiz from the Earth Systems Program.

Twenty-eight students received the Dean’s Award for Undergraduate Academic Achievement: Samantha Baird, Theo Bamberger, Herber Banda, Caroline Beckman, Megan Belongia, Alexandra Brainerd, Poppy Brittingham, Sheila Cochrane, Annabel Conger, Vance Farrant, Jordan Ferre, Liza Hafner, Stephanie Houck, Alisha Jani, Lia Kim, Claire Lang-Ree, Jamie Leonard, Jessica Mi, Lauren Nolen, Amelia O’Donohue, Syler Peralta-Ramos, Chloe Peterson-Nafziger, Amal Priestley, Phoebe Richardson, Cole Shepard, JP Spaventa, Jayne Stevenson, and Mireille Vargas.

Earth System Science

Graduate Student Award for Scholarly/Research Achievement: Frances Davenport

Geological Sciences

  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award: Zachary Burton
  • Harriet Benson Fellowship Award: Samantha Ritzer, Mia Flores

Energy Resources Engineering

  • Frank G. Miller Fellowship Award for High Academic Achievement: Lama El Halabi, Caitlin McMahon, Siqin Yu, Xunfeng Lu
  • Henry J. Ramey Fellowship Award for Outstanding Research: Hannah Lu
  • William H. Brigham Memorial Award for Best Departmental Citizen: Negar Nazari, Arlene Abucay

Geophysics

  • Department Citizenship Award: Cansu Culha, Alex Kendrick
  • Exceptional Thesis: Weiqiang Zhu
  • Best paper (undergraduate): Olivia Flournoy

Earth Systems Program

Earth Systems Recognition Award for Outstanding Contributions on Behalf of Our Teaching Assistants and Course Assistants: Laura Anderson, Aviva Klein Meyers, Madeleine Bouton, Jacob Kupperman, Osanna Drake, Lilla Petruska, Lucy Edy, Benek Robertson, TJ Francisco, Gabriel Saiz, Leif Gonzales-Kramer, Sarah Taylor, Ryder Kimball, Melina Walling

  • William W. Whitley Citizen Scholar Award: Theo Bamberger
  • Miller-Marsden Prize for Innovative Research on the Environment: Caroline Beckman
  • Earth Systems Award for Outstanding Research: Jordan Ferre, Carl Risberg, Jacqueline Vogel
  • Earth Systems Justice, Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Scholars Award: Olivia Ames, Vance Farrant
  • Earth Systems, Senior Capstone Excellence Award: Jayne Stevenson, Jessica Mi
  • Outstanding Service to the Earth Systems Program: Caroline Beckman, Rachel Portillo, Jayne Stevenson, Hannah Young
Steve Graham preparing for commencement
Dean Graham prepares for the procession at the 2021 commencement. (Photo credit: Andrew Brodhead)

Message from Stephan Graham, the Chester Naramore Dean of Stanford Earth:

In my youth I was a cave explorer. In entering a new cave, I didn’t know what lay ahead, what dangers, what pitfalls. Sometimes it involved miles of scrambling and crawling in isolation and total darkness other than the limited distance my headlamp would illuminate, trying to avoid dead-end passages, unsure if I’d find an exit to the bright sunlight.

 

We are all now emerging from the dark foreboding cave that has been the COVID-19 pandemic. You graduates have been resilient and have persevered in the face of new challenges, isolation, and uncertainty. Your experience over the last year and a half has been unlike that of any graduating cohort in Stanford Earth’s history! You have succeeded, you have triumphed over unprecedented adversity to achieve your academic goals.

 

You have broken into the sunlight, but the pandemic has changed the world in ways we do not yet fully understand. But as a result of what you’ve just experienced, you are armed with the skills and an understanding of the importance of perseverance that will allow you to face an uncertain future and make it your own. Congratulations! Stanford Earth is proud of you!

Media Contacts

Danielle T. Tucker

School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

dttucker@stanford.edu, 650-497-9541

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