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News Release, Kansas Geological Survey, May 25, 2012

Kansas Geological Survey Honors Outstanding Students

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

Brian F. Platt, who graduated in May with a Ph.D. in geology, was presented the Lee C. and Darcy Gerhard Field Research Student Award. A member of the KGS Stratigraphic Research section, Platt was recognized for his work with trace fossils in the Ogallala Formation, specifically around Scott State Lake in western Kansas. In particular, he helped identify two new trace fossils of ancient ant nests that will aid in future geologic research. The award is named after the KGS director from 1987 to 1999 and his wife.

Mark A.Villarreal, a master's student in geology, received the William W. Hambleton Student Research Award. A member of the Stratigraphic Research section, Villearreal perfected laboratory techniques for synthesizing the mineral siderite in microbial cultures. He presented the results of his research at the annual Geological Society of America and the National Meeting of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. The award is named for the KGS director from 1970 to 1986 and is given for excellence in research as demonstrated by outstanding writing or oral presentation.

Peter A. Monshizadeh, a May graduate with a bachelor's degree in geography, received the Jack Dangermond/Esri Geospatial Technologies Student Award. A member of the KGS Cartographic Services unit, Monshizadeh scanned dozens of hand-annotated topographic maps--containing geologists' original field notations and linework--that were used to create county geologic maps published by the KGS over the past 20 years. He then converted the maps into digitally archivable image files that could be matched up with other stored geographical data and easily accessed by computer and used in a GIS (geographic information system). The award was established by Jack Dangermond, president of the Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. (Esri) to recognize student accomplishments in the application of geospatial technologies.

Jerry B. Gabrie, an undergraduate student in industrial design, received one of two Norman Plummer Outstanding Student Award presented this year. Gabrie transported drilling core samples stored in the KGS core facility north of Lawrence and sawed and polished the core, preparing it for scientific examination. Norman Plummer was a KGS staff member from 1936 to 1969.

Aimee Scheffer, a master's student in geology and a member of the KGS Energy Research section, also was presented a Norman Plummer Award. She was selected because of her work on the KGS's carbon dioxide (CO2) sequestration project, a study to test the safety and efficacy of storing industry-emitted CO2 deep underground in south-central Kansas. As part of the large-scale, multi-year project, Scheffer collected and analyzed fluid, core, and rock samples from a Survey well drilled in the Wellington oil field south of Wichita.

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 35 students.

The recipients were presented cash awards and certificates in a ceremony on May 4.

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

Kansas Geological Survey, Public Outreach