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Spring and Summer 2020 Graduate Spotlight

Spring/Summer 2020 Graduates

Allie Howell

Allie Howell 2

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

I love the community! I always feel like I am at home when I step on to campus, especially in the geoscience department! People truly care about you and your success not only as a student but as a person.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

I loved holding an officer role within the GeoClub. Planning trips and events for my peers to take part on was a lot of fun, but I think my favorite was definitely the FOP trip to Moab.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

After graduation I will continue teaching! This is an opportunity to share the knowledge I learned at Boise State with the local community.

Do you have any memorable or funny stories you want to share from your time in the department?

My favorite moment of my time in the Geoscience department was in Sed Strat when my best friend (Megan Walker) and I were paired in the same research group. We were definitely thrilled to be working together to say the least!

Emma McCully, MS Geoscience

emma dunk

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

The geosciences department has been such a supportive, exciting, and nurturing place to be. I love our sense of community and how readily all the grad students welcomed me into the fold. I’m really grateful for my fellow grads, the amazing undergraduate students, and such supportive professors who have helped me fully realize my interests and potential.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

Our annual graduate student rafting trip, volunteering with the department to teach local elementary students about volcanoes of Idaho, and being a TA and getting to know so many incredible undergraduates. I was able to participate in fieldwork during my master’s, and am so grateful to have spent a month at sea collecting seafloor samples with my lab group!

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

Boise State will continue to impact my education, as I will be returning in the Fall to begin my PhD!

Zongbo Xu, PhD Geophysics

Zongbo

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

I really like my awesome advisor and friendly environment, also the beautiful river and mountains.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?
GEOPH 501/502, GEOPH 677 Earthquake Seismology, MATH 567 Numerical Methods for Differential Equations, and outreaches.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

I plan to continue doing research in geophysics and seismology and use these tools to study the Earth. Boise State gives me opportunities and support me to try different things, such as short course from Exxon mobile, research intern, attending academic conferences and visiting France. These let me figure out what I really want to do for my career. Boise State also provides wonderful courses and great instructor, and trains my critical and scientific thinking.

Do you have any memorable or funny stories you want to share from your time in the department?

The department float trip every fall is memorable for me, especially the 2017 one when we shot each other with water guns.

Monica Vermillion, MS Geophysics

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

The people I have met have been the best part of Boise State – everyone has such a different background but the common love of science and curiosity for how the world works bonds the geoscience department. The intertwining of work and play makes for better scientist and a better community that I am grateful I got to be a part of.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

My favorite class was Jack Pelton’s Geophysical Properties and Processes, the care in teaching and material was par-none. As far as activities go the annual Geoscience rafting trip was always a great way to kick off the year and to see everyone outside of the ERB. I also loved getting to help with STEM night and volunteering with Jen Pierce.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

After graduation, I aspire to continue in remote sensing research and eventually pursue PhD with a focus on imaging spectroscopy. BSU has helped in teaching me skills in many different areas from data analysis, to project management and the importance of interdisciplinary research.

Do you have any memorable or funny stories you want to share from your time in the department?

The Society of Exploration Geophysics club helped do GPR to possibly help solve an old crime and find a body the summer before I joined. The following year we got flooded by calls asking for us to try and help with mapping different gravesites or trying to find dead bodies. One of these calls led to the club going out and mapping the graveyard behind the Old Idaho Penitentiary and it was really cool to see geophysics research applied in such a different way.

Jukes Liu, MS Geophysics

Grad students Snow Ex

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

I really enjoyed the graduate student community in the Geophysics/Geoscience department. The other students and faculty on the third floor of the ERB made it feel like home!

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

My favorite activities involved doing science out in the field! I loved participating in the 2020 SnowEx campaign with other students in the department by digging snow pits and making measurements of snow stratigraphy, density, moisture, snow water equivalent, etc. as well as going to the Boise Hydrogeophysical Research Site to do seismic and electrical resistivity surveys.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

After I graduate with my Master’s degree, I plan on continuing here for a PhD in Geophysics. Just can’t get enough of BSU Geosciences.

Do you have any memorable or funny stories you want to share from your time in the department?

I will never forget the nerf wars we had in the third floor cubicles. Great way to bond and keep things light-hearted. I smile every time I see the cubicle directory with “Jukes ‘Cheapshot’ Liu” on it.

Nayani Ilangakoon, PhD Geoscience

nayani

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

The faculty who were very passionate about their classroom, students, and research was the most exciting thing to me about attending Boise State. I was thrilled to know the spectrum of research, teaching, diversity the BSU house. Along with many other great BSU resources (library, research computing), the beautiful treasure valley provided me an exciting and relaxing environment to achieve my goals.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

I love all the classes I attended as a student and as a teaching assistant. Both provided me opportunities to learn from and engage with students with great imaginations who work hard to make them a reality. Among many other activities I involved with, Geosciences annual rafting trip was my favorite. Any activity that has some time to spend with fellow students and my lab (BCAL) mates is always a happy and rewarding spent.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

One day, I like to lead a research team. Boise state helped me to lay a strong foundation for that. Especially, I am very grateful to my adviser Prof. Nancy Glenn for her great mentorship. With prof. Glenn’s guidance and supervision, I was able to work with cutting edge remote sensing techniques, publish few peer reviewed journal articles, participate in many conferences, workshops, and volunteer activities. All of these helped me to grow as a strong early career scientist with many career opportunities to reach my goal.

Peter Youngblood, MS Hydrologic Sciences

Peter Youngblood

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

My favorite part about Boise State was all the opportunities! Throughout my time at BSU, I found myself involved in everything from the Outdoor Program to working with one of the most precise mass spectrometers in the world.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

One summer, I was lucky enough to conduct fieldwork in the Frank Church Wilderness. It was seven days of surveying streams, picking berries, and trying to keep our distance from the local black bears. On top of all this, we had to travel first by bush plane, then a 10-mile horse pack just to get to the area of interest! This is one of my most valued experiences in life because it was such an adventure. It truly blossomed my appreciation and passion for our wilderness areas.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

I have my dream job with the Idaho Snow Survey and will continue to work for them as a hydrologist. My goal is to continue to work in the natural resource sciences and to give back to my community.

Jake Graham, PhD Geoscience

Jake Graham

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

Interacting with the rest of the BCAL group.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

  • Remote Sensing and Image Processing
  • Data Analysis & Geostatistics
  • Digital Signal Processing

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

I will be working as a Remote Sensing Analyst for the Idaho Department of Water Resources following graduation.

Megan Mason, MS Geophysics

megan

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

Boise State offered a lot of opportunities both directly related to my research focus and outside my direct focus. I found appreciation for both types! Direct research experience was made possible from my advisor and is where I gained some of the most useful skills and connections in my field. Boise State Geophysics club (SEG) offered experiences outside my direct field, but increased my awareness and application of field of Geophysics. It also provided an amazing experience to get field and collaboration time with my colleagues.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

My favorite course was the Geophysics 501, 502 series taught by Jack Pelton. This course offered fundamentals imperative to my field of study that was never accounted for in my undergraduate experience.Another favorite course occurred during my first semester as a graduate student. I took my advisors Snow and Ice Physics course. This course brought us to the field where we had first hand experience in collecting snow measurement data and designing a field project.Lastly, one of the most beneficial and specialized courses I took was offered through the virtual CUAHSI university. Because Boise State elected to offer a Radar Remote Sensing course it allowed graduate students the ability to participate in the other course selections at the virtual university. Here I took a Snow Modeling course offered by a professor at the University of Washington. The intense one month long course offered a wealth of knowledge and direct modeling experience that I didn’t see available through the Boise State catalog.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

My aspirations post graduation are to continue to follow my passion in understanding and researching seasonal snowpack and water resources in the western US. Boise’s population is growing and climate change is affecting our seasonal snow amounts. It is imperative to understand the physical processes and threats responsible to our valued water resources. To do this, I will remain close and continue to work for the NASA SnowEx campaign; a significant multi agency effort to obtain global water estimates from space borne platforms.

Do you have any memorable or funny stories you want to share from your time in the department?

Yes, of course! I am privileged to work along side incredibly talented individuals and have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent outside in winter conditions with my respected colleagues. I once drove three hours to Banner Summit, a field site location outside of Stanley, ID. My field partner and I arrived as usual, saw our colleague’s vehicle already on site, and proceeded to gear up and hike (skin and snowshoe) into our instrument area. We were greeted in the most wonderfully, hilarious fashion. Instead of seeing our colleague dressed in standard winter attire, we were welcomed beneath the pristine snow covered forest to a t-rex bodysuit. The t-rex was hard at work shoveling a snow pit and carrying out usual fieldwork. It gave us all a wonderful laugh and the chance to slow down and really appreciate our environment, stunning field site, and unique individualism found within our snow appreciating community. This moment gave me great joy and laughter and was followed by a really productive field day.

Thomas Florence

Thomas Florence

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

The community, being a part of an organization that valued students and collaboration. Many people went out of their way to help me when they never had to. I was given so many opportunities because of the generosity of this community and was elevated further than I could ever do in return.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

All the discussions and mentoring I had from exemplary graduate students and scientists like Jake Anderson, Alex Witsil and Nick Pollock. Opportunities to visit amazing places like Mount St Helens, Moab, and Kilauea because of the endless work of department faculty.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

I want to continue to study dynamic earth processes. Exploring the way things flow and identifying new ways to measure them. I hope to continue on in a graduate program that finds a place in the intersections of hydrology and geophysics.I had been hired to work this summer collecting data on streams throughout southwestern Idaho but unfortunately, the state cut the program due to COVID-19 related budget concerns. Now I sell flowers in a nursery. I hope to return to the sciences soon.

Krystl Malhas

Krystl Malhas

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

I’ve always felt close to BSU since I worked here for 10 years before starting my degree. It was nice to still have that connection to a place that felt like home. As for participating as a student, I’ve always enjoyed the community. If you ever need something or someone to talk to, there are tons of resources available to everyone.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

My favorite classes were those that had labs in the field. I really like doing fieldwork and being hands-on is one of the best ways to learn. I’m glad we live in an area that allows for many different areas of study.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

I’m not ready for graduate school yet, so I’m hoping to find a job in a field I enjoy. I wouldn’t mind consulting or working for a mining company. Maybe even a lab job. All of our technical writing and field skills will definitely help contribute to either of these careers.

Diego Domenzain

Diego

What did you like most about attending Boise State?

The Jacuzzi.

What were some of your favorite classes or activities you participated in?

My research.

What are your aspirations following graduation? How will your education at Boise State contribute to them?

Getting a job.