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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, June 12, 2009

Kansas Geological Survey Recognizes Outstanding Students

LAWRENCE--Five University of Kansas students received outstanding achievement awards from the Kansas Geological Survey, based on KU's West Campus.

Joe Kearns, an undergraduate in geography, is the recipient of the first Jack Dangermond ESRI Geospatial Technologies Student Award. As a technical research assistant in the Survey's Exploration Services Section, Kearns assisted with several Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning System (GPS) projects and created the maps and digital routes used during the Survey's annual water-level measurement campaign in western Kansas. The award was established this year by Jack Dangermond, president of the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (ESRI), to recognize student accomplishments in the application of geospatial technologies.

Chong Zeng, a doctoral student in geophysics, received the William W. Hambleton Student Research Award. As a graduate research assistant in the Survey's Exploration Services section, Zeng studies seismic waves, or waves of energy that travel through the earth following events such as earthquakes or explosions. He has developed a near-surface seismic modeling package used to identify unusual geologic features near the earth's surface. William W. Hambleton was the Survey's director from 1970 to 1986.

Arlo McKee, a graduate student in Anthropology, received the Lee C. and Darcy Gerhard Field Research Student Award. A graduate research assistant in the Survey's Stratigraphic Research Section, McKee has been involved with a geophysical survey at an Early Paleoindian site near Kanorado in northwestern Kansas. His work includes using ground-penetrating radar to map buried landscapes containing archaeological materials that are about 13,000 years old. The award is named after the Survey's director from 1987 to 1999 and his wife.

David Huber, an undergraduate in meteorology, received the Frank C. Foley Groundwater Student Travel Award. A research support specialist in the Geohydrology Section, Huber helped create an electronic database of records for water wells drilled in the Ogallala aquifer region of western Kansas. The award, named after the Survey's director from 1954 to 1970, will provide travel funds for Huber to attend the Midwest Groundwater Conference in October in St. Louis, where he will present the results of his work.

Bryan Banz, a doctoral student in computer science, was the recipient of the Norman Plummer Outstanding Student Award. As a graduate research assistant in the Survey's Geohydrology Section, Banz has helped develop a web-based educational tool that simulates underground rock layers, energy resources, and water to help students prepare for jobs in the petroleum industry and other geologic fields. Norman Plummer was a Survey employee from 1936 to 1969.

The Kansas Geological Survey studies and provides information on the state's geologic resources and hazards, particularly ground water, oil, natural gas, and other minerals. It employs approximately 40 students.

The recipients were given cash awards and certificates, presented by the Survey's director, William Harrison, in a mid-May ceremony.

Story by Cathy Evans, (785) 864-2195.
For more information, contact Annette Delaney, (785) 864-2152

Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach