Areas of Study: Structural Geology & Tectonics
Research Projects: For my Undergraduate Honors Research Program senior thesis I studied the tectonic relationships between high pressure subduction complex assemblages and co-existing granitoids of Sivrihisar Massif, Turkey. Turkey is comprised a several tectonic fragments that came together to over a period of time spanning the Cretaceous to present day. I was fortunate enough to do field work in northwest Turkey near the city of Sivrihisar which is host to enormous granitoid plutonic rocks enigmatically juxtaposed against high-pressure/low-temperature metamorphic rocks of a long-dead subduction zone. To understand the enigmatic relationship of these rocks I used several techniques: geochemistry, petrography, petrology, scanning electron microscopy, and electron microprobe analysis for qualitative and quantitative analysis of igneous and metamorphic rocks and a secondary ion mass spectrometer microprobe for dating those rocks. I combined that with the structural relationships of rock units in the area to determine how and why this portion and many other portions of Turkey formed in this manner.
Why Did you Choose the Jackson School?: When I first started at UT as a freshman, I was an Electrical Engineering major but I found later that I had an undiscovered passion for the geosciences. I had never had a geology class in high school and never really understood what it was until a friend introduced me to it. I took the first introductory class at the Jackson School and fell in love with geology. The dedication to learning and the faculty’s passion for their science really sets the Jackson School apart at UT. The community feeling of the Jackson School is amazing. The faculty-student ratio is very high, allowing you and your professors to get to know each other. The student body is considerably smaller than any other school in UT but still larger and more diverse than the majority of geology schools across the US. You really get to know your classmates, faculty, and staff; you aren’t a “number” at the Jackson School.
What do you enjoy most about the school?: The Jackson School is this incredibly special place where students and researchers enjoy the benefits of being smaller than other schools at UT but larger than other departments across the nation; you get that small town feel with the opportunities, power, and diversity of a tier 1 university. The Jackson School and its alumni are extremely supportive of their undergraduate and graduate students by providing a plethora of scholarships, a comprehensive field camp, and funding and support of student groups like the Undergraduate Geological Society (UGS), Graduate Student Executive Council (GSEC), and a new one cofounded in 2009 by Martha Altobelli and myself, the UT Planetary Organization for Space Sciences and Exploration (UT POSSE). I recently applied to 7 universities for graduate school and ultimately decided on attending the Jackson School for a masters of science because of the combination of research opportunities, funding and support, an unrivaled depth of selection for classes to take, and diverse career opportunities.
What fun activity would you recommend to an incoming UT student?:In the Jackson School – go to UGS or UT POSSE meetings, there is free food, future friends, and great information outside of the class room to spark your interest and help you decide what you want to do with your life. In Austin – right now, trailer food is all the rage! My favorites include Torchy’s Tacos, Franklin BBQ, the Odd Duck Farm to Market, and Gourdoughs Donuts.