Department News

Welcome Back ! 2019 New EPS offices, new staff and a new semester... (2)

If you haven't noticed, we have a new EPS front office in Room 142 (aka Main Office) and Business offices in Rooms 148, 148A & 150A. We also have a couple of new smiling faces! If you have not done so, please stop by and poke your head in and check us out. Say hello to Tonya, Michael, Katanya and Wendy!

 

Katanya MeyersPlease welcome Katanya Meyers who joined us in July as EPS' Principal Secretary.
Katanya brings to us strong interpersonal and organizational skills which are already being shown to be a great asset to the EPS Business Office, faculty, staff and students alike. Katanya was previously the Clerical Assistant Casual and was promoted to Principal Secretary. We are delighted that Katanya decided to stay with us and we welcome her to our EPS family!

 

Michael FlakPlease say hello Michael Flak.
We are delighted that Michael Flak has been promoted to EPS’ Accounting Specialist I and will be working with you on grants and project expenses to name a few. One thing new, is that you may see Michael's door closed...because his new role in the department has him doing a lot of number crunching! Michael will be assisting Tonya in handling a lot of the accounting and balancing of budgeted Grants and Projects.

 

Wendy RodriguezWe also welcome Wendy Rodriguez as the Contract Clerical Assistant. She comes to us from Corporate America where she spent her previous 7 years managing Sports Contracts and Royalty Reporting for Mizco International, Inc. She has settled in nicely with EPS and looks forward to continue assisting in the streamlining of department processes.

 

Tonya RufusIf you have not met her yet, please also welcome Tonya Rufus who joined us in March as the new EPS’ Business Manager.
Tonya holds an MS and an MBA, and came to us most recently from SEBS Accounting Office. Prior to that she was a Senior Financial Analyst at Dow Jones in Princeton and an Associate Financial Advisor at Pricewaterhouse Coopers Lybrand in Parsippany. In her short tenure with us, she has helped to transition EPS and set up our business office following our no fault divorce from Chemistry!

 

Richard VaughnAlso new to the EPS is Richard Vaughn, our one and only IT GUY (aka Unit Computing Manager). We have to share Rich with other departments in SAS, so let’s try to make it easy by submitting work orders (http://sas-it.rutgers.edu/submit-a-workorder) so he can help us from wherever he is whenever he can.

 

EPS has never had a decently staffed office like this, with such competent officers! We are thrilled and grateful to have such a strong support for our daily operations. We look forward to working with this staff to make the best of what our department and Rutgers can offer at a time when the Earth's Science has never been more important.

 

Potkay Receives CUAHSI Pathfinder Fellowship

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Congratulations to Aaron Potkay, a PhD student in EPS, in receiving the prestigious Pathfinder Fellowship from the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. ( CUAHSI)! The fellowship supports US grad students to travel to another site/institution to collaborate with leading scientists. This fund will support Aaron to spend the summer working with Prof John Sperry, a world leader on plant physiology-ecology, at the University of Utah. Aaron builds mathematical models on water transport in lichens and higher plants, and associated biochemical processes, to understand how plants cope with water stress and how land ecosystems function in an ever-changing world.

Learn more about the fellowship here:

https://www.cuahsi.org/education/pathfinder-fellowships/
Congratulations Aaron!

EPS at the forefront of astrobiology with ~$6M NASA grant

rutgers nanomachines sqHow did life commence on the early Earth, and where else might it have developed in our universe? These are the fundamental questions being addressed by a team of researchers spanning the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and others here at Rutgers University. The science team, entitled "ENIGMA" for Evolution of Nanomachines in Geospheres and Microbial Ancestors is exploring these questions with support from a highly competitive ~$6M grant from the NASA Astrobiology Institute.

ENIGMA is led by Principal Investigator Professor Paul Falkowski, and EPS Professors Nathan Yee and Juliane Gross are Co-Investigators.

This NAI team will explore catalysis of electron transfer reactions by prebiotic peptides to microbial ancestral enzymes to modern nanomachines, integrated over four and a half billion years of Earth’s changing geosphere. Theme 1 focuses on the synthesis and function of the earliest peptides capable of moving electrons on Earth and other planetary bodies. Theme 2 focuses on the evolutionary history of “motifs” in extant protein structures. Theme 3 focuses on how proteins and the geosphere co-evolved through geologic time.

For more information and to learn about opportunities to get involved, check out the ENIGMA webpage at https://enigma.rutgers.edu/

Jiacan Yuan predicts weather extremes with global warming (click for story)

Jiacan Yuan epswebCongratulations to EPS Assistant Research Professor Jiacan Yuan on her new publication "Response of subtropical stationary waves and hydrological extremes to climate warming in boreal summer" in the Journal of Climate. Yuan and coauthors (including Professor and Director of EOAS Robert Kopp) studied subtropical stationary waves in northern summers using CMIP5 climate models in various climate scenarios. These waves consist of high pressure systems over the North Atlantic and North Pacific which lead to more dry weather, and low pressure systems over Eurasia and North America that lead to more wet weather. The study suggests that the intensity of subtropical stationary waves increases in response to global warming. The intensification will partially explain the increase in heavy rainfalls over south and Southeast Asia, and extremely dry weathers over United States and Mexico in projections of future climate.

Click here to learn more:
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-10/ru-mwa100318.php

Tikoo explores origins of mysterious "lunar swirls"

Tikoo SwirlsRecently published in JGR-Planets is a new joint University of California, Berkeley (Dr. Doug Hemingway) and Rutgers University (Prof. Sonia Tikoo) study that explores the origins of lunar swirls. Lunar swirls are enigmatic bright and dark patterns on the lunar surface that that resemble clouds or squiggles. The geometry of the optical anomalies associated with swirls resemble the predicted morphologies of magnetic field lines emanating from a subsurface geological source body. Indeed, most swirls are also co-located with strong localized magnetic fields within the lunar crust, suggesting that the magnetic fields play a role in producing the swirl markings, either by solar wind standoff or electromagnetic sorting of fine grains within the lunar regolith. In their paper, Hemingway and Tikoo describe how the magnetic sources of lunar swirl source bodies should ideally be narrow and shallow - a morphology consistent with magmatic dikes or buried lava tubes in the lunar subsurface.

To learn more, read the full Rutgers Today story here.

Kopp discusses climate change, release of National Climate Assessment

Kopp discusses climate change articleEPS Professor Robert Kopp (http://www.bobkopp.net/) was a lead author of volume 1 of the Fourth US National Climate Assessment (https://science2017.globalchange.gov/), which was released in 2017 and focused on the physical science of climate change. Volume 2 of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/), focused on human and ecological impacts of and responses to climate change, was released in November 2018, on the Friday following Thanksgiving. Bob was interviewed by many outlets following the second volume’s release, including by WHYY’s Radio Times and WNYC’s Science Friday. He was also profiled in a column in E&E News.

Yu wins Cushman Foundation, GSA awards

yu cushman foundationCongratulations to Mark Yu (third year Ph.D. student), who received two research awards this summer. The William V. Sliter Research Award is sponsored by the Cushman foundation for foraminiferal research. Mark also received a Geological Society of America Graduate Research award. Mark’s work focuses on understanding the dynamics in the tropical thermocline waters of the Indian Ocean during the late Pleistocene. At play is separating the relative influences to the central equatorial Indian Ocean from the subantarctic mode waters from the Arabian Sea unpwelling.

Read more: Yu wins Cushman Foundation, GSA awards

Adamo embarks on PolarTREK in the Alps

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Our very own Dr. Lauren Neitzke Adamo has been selected for a PolarTREC Expedition to the Swiss Alps to study the sliding rate of glaciers!

PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program that selects formal and informal educators to spend 3 to 6 weeks participating in hands-on research in the Arctic and Antarctic with the goal of increasing interest and awareness of polar science. The program, funded by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), began about 10 years ago and has already provided more than 150 teachers with hands-on field research experience.

Read more: Adamo embarks on PolarTREK in the Alps

Hanafi wins 2 GSA research grants!

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Congratulations to EPS graduate student Bari Hanafi on being awarded 2 research grants from GSA! Hanafi received the ExxonMobil/GSA Student Geoscience Grant. ExxonMobil recognized 10 of the top 30 GSA student research grant proposals with grants of US$5000 each. Hanafi was also awarded a Structural Geology and Tectonics Division Graduate Research Grant. The GSA Structural Geology and Tectonic (SGT) division recognized 5 students whose proposals show exceptionally high merit in conception and presentation in their fields.

Read more: Hanafi wins 2 GSA research grants!

Setera wins GSA Lipman Award!

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Congratulations to EPS PhD student Jake Setera on winning a prestigious GSA Lipman Award! Setera was recognized for his proposal to study the thermal evolution of the Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa, which is the largest layered igneous intrusion identified in the Earth's crust. The GSA Lipman Award funding will allow Setera to learn a new technique, measuring U-Pb ages on apatite crystals, in collaboration with researchers at Princeton University.

Learn more about the Lipman Award and Setera's work here.

 

 

 

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