Stanford University
Pamela Matson

Dean Pamela Matson speaking to the Stanford Earth graduating class of 2016. Credit: Stacy Geiken

Stanford Earth graduates urged to “do good for the world”

BY Ker Than
ClockJune 13, 2016

Graduates of the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences are “uniquely positioned” to make an enormous impact on the world by leading a transformative change for sustainability in the critical decades ahead, according to Dean Pamela Matson.

Speaking at the diploma ceremony to the school’s undergraduate and graduate degree recipients, Matson praised their “intelligence, passion, commitment, and drive” and expressed optimism in the graduates’ ability to tackle many of the major challenges humanity faces this century, which include a global population projected to reach about 10 billion; increasing needs for food, water, and energy; more people living in hazardous and vulnerable places; and finding ways to reduce climate change and other environmental threats.

Students in front of ESYS poster
Credit: Barbara Buell

“Many of you, I hope, will use the science and engineering you learned here, and the ways of thinking that you learned here, to help meet the needs of people for energy, water, food, and a safe living environment, and to help to preserve the life support systems of our planet that we need and future generations will need,” Matson said. “People talk about sustainability—a buzzword used for many different purposes—but for me, this is what sustainability is all about: intergenerational well-being—working to ensure the well-being of people today, all around the world, but also the well-being of generations to come.”

In the 2015-16 academic year, the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences awarded 172 degrees: 46 Bachelor of Science, 79 Master of Science, and 47 Doctor of Philosophy degrees, from the Departments of Geophysics, Geological Sciences, Energy Resources Engineering, and Earth System Science, and from two interdisciplinary programs—the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER) and the Earth Systems Program.

Embrace
Credit: Barbara Buell

Distinguished Alumni Award to Bob Coleman

At the ceremony, Matson conferred the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award to Robert G. Coleman, PhD ’57. The Distinguished Alumni Award was established last year to acknowledge highly significant, long-lasting contributions to the civil, government, business, or academic communities by members of the school’s alumni body.

 

Coleman made important contributions in the areas of mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, structural geology, plate tectonics, and even environmental geobotany, and was a faculty member at Stanford for 11 years. Among his special achievements is developing our current understanding of the formation conditions and tectonic setting of ophiolites, a type of rock that forms where oceanic crust is subducted beneath continental crust.

 

“Long before plate tectonics had been proposed as a unifying theory to explain Earth processes, Bob Coleman identified some of the geochemical fingerprints of it in the ocean crust,” Matson said.

 

Bob Coleman and Pam Matson
Credit: Stacy Geiken

Excellence in Teaching Award to Gordon Brown

At the diploma ceremony, the school also provided special recognition to faculty and students.

Gordon Brown was named the recipient of the annual Excellence in Teaching Award. Brown, the Dorrell William Kirby Professor of Geology at Stanford Earth, was nominated by students, alumni, faculty, staff, and colleagues who praised his unwavering dedication to quality teaching and mentoring during his 42 years as a faculty member at Stanford. “Gordon has a big personality and is always very direct, energetic, demanding, and lets you know exactly what he is thinking,” one student wrote. “These traits also show in his teaching, but they are tempered with great patience and deep caring.”

“Gordon’s gift has been to find fresh ways to teach this science. He has evolved his curricula ... to make the material relevant to what concerns current students and modern society,” Matson said.

Gordon Brown and Pamela Matson
Credit: Stacy Geiken


Professor Gordon Brown receives the Excellence in Teaching Award. “Gordon’s gift has been to find fresh ways to teach this science. He has evolved his curricula ... to make the material relevant to what concerns current students and modern society,” said Dean Pamela Matson. Credit: Stacy Geiken

Distinguished Service to Stephan Graham

Matson also presented the Dean’s Discretionary Award for Distinguished Service to Stephan Graham, the Welton Joseph and Maud L’Anphere Crook Professor in Applied Earth Sciences at Stanford Earth’s Department of Geological Sciences. Matson thanked Graham for his service to the school and to the university. “I could go on about how Steve’s work has been recognized and celebrated over the years,” Matson said, “but today’s award is for service, recognizing all that Steve has done for the school and our students, above and beyond his own research and teaching.”

Stephan Graham and Pamela Matson
Credit: Stacy Geiken


Professor Stephan Graham receives the Dean’s Discretionary Award for Distinguished Service for his academic leadership in the school over many years.“I could go on about how Steve’s work has been recognized and celebrated over the years,” Dean Pamela Matson said, “but today’s award is for service, recognizing all that Steve has done for the school and our students, above and beyond his own research and teaching. Credit: Stacy Gekien

Excellence Through Diversity Award

Matson gave a special shout-out to Stanford Earth’s Office of Multicultural Affairs for receiving the Stanford University President’s Award for Excellence Through Diversity this year. Led by Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs Jerry Harris, the Cecil and Ida M. Green Professor of Geophysics, and Assistant Dean for the Office of Multicultural Affairs Tenea Nelson, the team has worked “creatively and tirelessly to promote a unified community of inclusion, respect, and excellence through the development of a student body, staff, and faculty that reflect the diversity of our nation and our international partners,” Matson said.

Student Awards

The Stanford Earth Certificate for Outstanding Achievement in Mentoring was awarded to 11 students who contributed to their research group and school communities. They include Laura Bloomfield (E-IPER), Suzanne Birner (Geological Sciences), Emily Cardarelli (Earth System Science), Jeremy Caves (Earth System Science), James Dennedy-Frank (Earth System Science), Heidi Hirsh (Earth System Science), Nora Nieminski (Geological Sciences), Fatemeh Rassouli (Geophysics), Michael Schaefer (Earth System Science), Lauren Shumaker (Geological Science), and Jennifer Wang (EIPER).

The Centennial TA Awards were presented to teaching assistants Tom Benson (Geological Sciences), Jeremy Caves (Earth System Science), Sophia Christel (Earth Systems Program), Meredith Goebel (Geophysics), and Daniel Ibarra (Earth System Science).

Twenty-four students received the Dean’s Award for Undergraduate Academic Achievement this year. The recipients include Makulumy Alexander-Hills, Jacqueline Botts, Jonathan Fisk, Yarrow Greaney, Sarah Kolarik, Chloe Koseff, Reade Levinson, Amanda Martinez, Andrea Martinez, Kara Matsumoto, Tyler McIntosh, Kira Minehart, Cathryn Mong, Evan Patrick, Michael Penuelas, Adrienne Pollack, Claire Thompson, Julia Tsai, Anna Wietelmann, John Craddock III, Nicole Dayhoff, Aloysius Makalinao, Laura Zalles, Daniel Emery.

Additional awards, presented by departments and programs, follow.

Earth Systems

  • William W. Whitley Citizen Scholar Prize: Jackie Botts
  • Miller-Marsden Prize for Innovative Research on the Environment: Kira Minehart
  • Earth Systems Award for Outstanding Research: Evan Patrick
  • Award for Outstanding Service to the Earth Systems Program: Anna Wietelmann
  • New Award: Earth Systems, Excellence in the Senior Capstone: Makulumy Alexander-Hills and Jaclyn Phi

Energy Resources Engineering

  • Frank G. Miller Fellowship Award for High Academic Achievement: Amir Delgoshaie, Halldora Gudmundsdottir, Sophie Trastour, Nicole Dayhoff, Ahinoam Pollack, and Timothy Yeo   
  • Henry J. Ramey Fellowship Award for Outstanding Research: Francois Hamon and Jack Norbeck
  • William H. Brigham Memorial Award for Best Departmental Citizen: Timur Garipov and Cindy Ross

Geological Sciences

  • Outstanding Senior Award: Laura Zalles
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Award: Matthew Malkowski
  • Harriet Benson Fellowship: Suzanne Birner and Kathryn Kumamoto

Geophysics

  • Department Citizenship Award: Dulcie Head
  • Best Thesis Award (graduate):  Ali Almomin
  • Best Paper Award (undergraduate): Dan Emery

Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources

  • Extraordinary Service Award: Aaron Strong

Earth System Science

  • Graduate Student Award for Scholarly/Research Achievement: Kate Lowry and James Yoon

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