News and Updates


Steve Semken, a professor in ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, has been selected to receive an American Geophysical Union (AGU) 2013 Editors' Citation for Excellence in Refereeing for Eos, the weekly newspaper of AGU. This award recognizes Semken's contributions in maintaining the highest standard of scientific quality through the peer-review process.

One of the most important services performed for AGU is the conscientious reviewing of submitted papers. Scientific journals rely on members of the scientific community to provide accurate and conscientious reviews of submitted journal manuscripts. Because of the anonymous nature of the reviewing process, this service is also one of the least recognized.

In selecting Semken to receive the 2013 Editors' Citation for Excellence in Refereeing, the publishers of Eos publicly express their gratitude to Semken for consistently providing constructive and thoughtful reviews, which have been particularly valuable in maintaining a high quality standard.

An announcement is planned for publication in a future issue of Eos.



Each semester, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences selects one outstanding graduate from each of its academic units for the CLAS Dean’s Medal Award. This May, with more than 40 students graduating from ASU with bachelor’s degrees in earth and space exploration or earth and environmental studies, Amanda Orozco will be recognized as the Dean’s Medal recipient for the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

When Orozco began her studies at ASU in fall 2010, she started out as a biology major intending to concentrate on conservation biology. Four years later, the California native (graduate of Leland High School in San Jose, Calif.) has taken her love for nature down the environmental science route.

“I realized the Earth and Environmental Studies program through the School of Earth and Space Exploration was much more interesting to me than my original major, and could prepare me for more careers that I am interested in,” said Orozco, who plans to pursue a career in environmental consulting.

Orozco will graduate with a B.A. in Earth and Environmental Studies and a minor in Sustainability.
“I couldn’t believe how much I loved the geology classes that this major requires. At first I didn’t really understand why I was required to take such intense geology courses but now I am so happy I took them because it does give me a competitive edge compared to environmental science students from other institutions,” says Orozco, who has been accepted to the University of San Francisco for graduate school and will be starting a Master’s of Science in Environmental Management in fall 2014.
According to Orozco, it was her experience in Mexico through a program called UMB-WEST, short for US-Mexico Border Water and Environmental Sustainability Training, which helped her narrow her interests in sustainability to water resources management and environmental policy.

Under the joint mentorship of Professor Enrique Vivoni and several U.S. and Mexican research partners, UMB-WEST participants investigate hydrologic science in the Sonora region. Students collect field hydrologic measurements useful for water resources management, examine local water resources infrastructure, meet with local decision makers, and apply data analysis techniques to hydrologic modeling experiences. Each year, students participate in a two-week field campaign during which they deploy instrumentation, conduct field sampling, visit water infrastructure projects, and interact with local water managers.

Orozco has been supplementing her classroom education and field research experience with an internship offered by the Arizona State Legislature and ASU. She is currently a legislative research intern for the Arizona House of Representatives and works for the Committees on Energy, Environment and Natural Resources and Agriculture and Water.

“Through this internship, I am getting firsthand experience in the field of environmental and other public policy, which I believe is extremely valuable for any career surrounding environmental science,” says Orozco. “ASU has definitely prepared me for what is to come after graduation and I feel well-equipped to be going after a master’s degree and pursuing a career in environmental consulting. The entire SESE faculty has been very supportive of my interests and I am so grateful that I was part of such an awesome department at ASU.”

(Nikki Cassis)



The School of Earth and Space Exploration is proud to have many meritorious faculty and students. While this is an extensive list of honors, there are probably some deserving individuals who are not listed. Congratulations to all who received scholarships, grants and other honors.

Undergraduate awards
• Alumni Scholarship - Crystylynda Fudge
• Arizona Hydrological Society Herman Bouwer Internship - Anthony Ferrell
• CLAS Dean’s Medalist - Amanda Orozco
• Greeley Planetary Geology Scholarship - Miranda Hermann
• Ravi DeFilippo Geology Field Scholarship - Chadlin Ostrander
• Robert Dietz Field Camp Scholarship(s) - Anthony Castaneda, Crystylynda Fudge, Jamie Shaffer
• US Airways Scholarship - Ben Stinnett

Graduate awards
• 2013 Fall AGU Outstanding Student Paper Award - Mingming Li
• 2013 SESE Summer Ph.D. Student Research Award | Arizona State University Graduate College University Block Grant - Sandra Carolina Londono
• 2014 CLAS Graduate Excellence Award: Mingming Li, Gayatri Marliyani, Marc Neveu, Kate Potter
• 2014 NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute for U.S. Graduate Students (Japan) - Emily Kleber
• 51st Annual Clay Minerals Society meeting (2014) Session co-Chair, Symposium on Geology and Health - Sandra Carolina Londono
• 51st Annual Clay Minerals Society meeting Session co-Chair, Symposium on Geology and Health, and travel grant to attend - Keith Morrison
• AAS Roger Doxley Travel Prize January 2014 - Michael Pagano
• Achievement Reward for College Scientists (ARCS) Scholarship for graduate research - Keith Morrison
• Astrobiology Winter School travel grants in January 2014: Luke Probst, Anusha Kalyaan and Prajkta Mane, Amanda Truitt
• Clay Minerals Society and Shell Corp. Student travel grant - Sandra Carolina Londono
• Colciencias #529 Scholarship for Doctoral Programs, Colombian Institute for Science and Technology - Sandra Carolina Londono
• Faculty for the Future Fellowship (Schlumberger Foundation): Ruirui Han, Gayatri Marliyani
• Fall 2013 ASU/NASA Space Grant for outreach and education research project at Camp Tontozona - Andy Darling
• First Place award for his oral presentation at the 49th Annual Clay Minerals Society Meeting: Mineralogical and geochemical variations in an antibacterial clay deposit (2013) - Keith Morrison
• First place award for his oral presentation on “Antibacterial minerals: establishing the mechanism” by the International Medical Geology Association for the 2013 MEDGEO conference where he also received a travel Grant - Keith Morrison
• GPSA travel grant - Marc Neveu
• GPSA travel awards (Spring 2014): Prajkta Mane and Curtis Williams
• GPSA travel awards (Summer/Fall 2013): Prajkta Mane and Curtis Williams
• International Medical Geology Association travel grant for MEDGEO 2013 - Sandra Carolina Londono
• JPL financial assistance to attend the Planetary Science Summer School - Marc Neveu
• LPI Career Development Award - Marc Neveu
• Meteoritical Society Student Travel Awards (Summer 2013): Curtis Williams and Prajkta Mane
• NAI Scholarship to participate in the 2014 Josep Comas i Solà International Summer School in Astrobiology - Marc Neveu
• NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowships 2013-2014: Prajkta Mane, Cameron Mercer, Karen Rieck, Curtis Williams, Nathan Williams
• NSF fellowship - Kim Ward-Duong
• Scholarship and travel grant to attend the 2014 International Summer School of Astrobiology in Spain - Divya Allu Peddinti
• Student stipend to attend the Workshop on The Habitability of Icy Worlds - Marc Neveu
• Ethnoscience and Geology Applied to Water Resources. Graduate and Professional Student Association GPSA. Graduate Research Grant 2013 - Sandra Carolina Londono
• Travel grant to present at the 6th Orogenic Lherzolite Conference in Marrakech, Morocco - Meghan Guild

Teaching awards
The help we receive from all of our excellent teaching assistants is invaluable for SESE’s teaching mission. The school employs about 40 graduate student TAs and about 10 undergraduate TAs each year. We would like to honor our top TAs who were nominated by students and faculty:
• Undergraduate Teaching assistants: Anthony Ferrell and Anthony Brokaw
• Graduate Teaching assistants (100-level): Chelsea Allison and Matthew Kellom
• Graduate Teaching assistant (upper division): Matthew Rossi and Mingming Li


The Student Success Center, a free on-campus tutoring facility for SESE and Physics students, opened recently with the goal of helping students with their academic needs by providing student tutors and group study spaces.

The Student Success Center is located in Physical Science F-wing, room 186 and is open Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. SESE majors can use the space for study and meeting after hours and weekends if granted card access.

The Student Success Center offers TA office hours, pre-arranged study and review groups, and open study space. If students need additional support outside of the classroom they can meet with graduate teaching assistants (TAs) or participate in group study sessions.

The center offers free tutoring for a variety of physics courses and also provides students with an environment to engage in group study.
Tutors are available for the following SESE Courses: GLG 101, GLG 102, GLG 103, SES 124 and AST 112.

Tutors are available for the following Physics Courses: PHS 110, PHY 101, 111-114, 121, 122, 131, 132, 150, 151, 241, and 252.

Students will need to go to the center website to access the TA schedule to see when a particular TA is available.

For more information, visit:



Keith Morrison, a SESE doctoral student, received an ARCS scholarship (second year) for his work on antibacterial clays. His work was highlighted on the ARCS National website.

He published a paper in the November 2013 journal of Environmental Geochemistry and Health on antibacterial clay research. The article was titled “Mineralogical Variables that Control the Antibacterial Effectiveness of a Natural Clay Deposit.” Morrison is concerned with the health risks due to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains. He is researching finding alternatives to conventional antimicrobials. His paper focused on an antibacterial clay deposit near Crater Lake, Oregon.


Read more here:




Herschel discovers mature galaxies in the young Universe

New Herschel results have given us a remarkable insight into the internal dynamics of two young galaxies. Surprisingly, they have shown that just a few billion years after the big bang, some galaxies were rotating in a mature way, seemingly having completed the accumulation of their gas reservoirs.

When galaxies form, they accumulate mass by gravitationally attracting vast, external gas clouds. As the gas clouds are consumed by the galaxy, they fall into haphazard orbits. These disordered paths cause turbulence in the host galaxies, which can drive star formation.

To investigate the internal conditions of forming galaxies James Rhoads and Sangeeta Malhotra, both from Arizona State University, and colleagues targeted two young galaxies, known as SDSS0901 and the Clone. The light from both galaxies has taken 10 billion years to reach us across space. Thus, we are seeing them when they were comparatively young. Rhoads studies galaxy formation, galaxy evolution, the reionization of intergalactic hydrogen by early galaxies. Malhotra’s research ranges from properties of dust and gas in the (relatively nearby) interstellar medium to some of the farthest known galaxies. In recent years they have also collaborated on finding and characterizing galaxies in the cosmic dawn, when the universe was less than a billion years old. The current project focuses on a somewhat later time, the high noon of star formation in the universe – a time when the universe was about 3 billion years old, and when star birth in galaxies was much more active than it is today.

“The purpose of this project is to study the physical conditions of gas in those galaxies. We wanted to know: are they similar to the galaxies around us or is there some difference in their physical conditions,” says Rhoads.

The two galaxies they choose to study are average galaxies for that time in cosmic history. This means that they are about 10-20 percent the size of our Milky Way, which is considered an average galaxy in the present-day Universe.

Studying galaxies so far away is usually challenging because they appear too dim to study effectively but in this case, the researchers were helped by a cosmic mirage known as a gravitational lens. The two galaxies both sit behind intervening groups of galaxies, whose gravity warps space. As described by Albert Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, this warping acts like a lens. Although it distorts the images of the young galaxies, it helps by magnifying their light, thus bringing them within reach of Herschel’s HIFI instrument.

The researchers used HIFI to investigate the infrared light of ionized carbon, which is emitted at a wavelength of 158 micrometers. This spectral line is produced in the clouds that surround star forming regions. HIFI showed the line was broadened into a double peak, and this allowed the motion of the gas to be fitted with a model.

“The two peaks represent two sides of a rotating galaxy. One side is rotating away from us and the other is coming towards us. The broadening of the peaks gives us an indication of the randomness of the motion on top of rotation,” explains Malhotra.

Firstly, the team fitted the overall rotation of the galaxy, and then the turbulence in the gas clouds. To their surprise they found that galaxy S0901 was extremely well behaved. Instead of turbulence, it was found to be in orderly rotation, much more akin to the majestic galaxies of today.

“Usually, when astronomers examine galaxies at this early era, they find that turbulence plays a much greater role than it does in modern galaxies. But S0901 is a clear exception to that pattern, and the Clone could be another,” says Rhoads.

The Clone, the second galaxy in their study, could also be fitted by an orderly rotation. However, because it was somewhat dimmer, the quality of the data was not so good. This meant that the data could also be fitted with a highly turbulent model, as conventional wisdom would expect.

“Galaxies 10 billion years ago were making stars more actively than they do now,” says Malhotra, "They usually also show more turbulence, likely because they are accumulating gas faster than a modern galaxy does. But here we have cases of early galaxies that combine the ‘calm’ rotation of a modern one with the active star formation of their early peers. This suggests first that these galaxies have finished accumulating their gas, at least for now. But it also seems that turbulence is not actually required to trigger that early, active star formation."

Malhotra acknowledges the preliminary nature of their study. “This is not the last word on this. We need a bigger sample to be sure of our conclusions,” she says.

But that bigger sample will not be investigated by Herschel. As predicted, the liquid helium coolant needed to keep HIFI and Herschel’s other instruments working ran out in April 2013. Instead the researchers hope to continue the work pioneered by Herschel using the Atacama Large Millimetre Array (ALMA), a ground-based array of 66 radio dishes in Chile.

“It is mind-boggling that with Herschel/HIFI – admittedly with the help of gravitational lensing – it has been possible to study the internal gas kinematics in galaxies when the universe was only a few billion years old, and what we can learn about them this way. This pioneering work by Herschel is bound to be continued,” says Göran Pilbratt, Herschel Project Scientist at ESA.

Photo: The young galaxy SDSS090122.37+181432.3. It is distorted because of gravitational lensing. Credit: NASA/STScI; S. Allam and team; and the Master Lens Database (, L. A. Moustakas, K. Stewart, et al (2014).

(Nikki Cassis)


An article in Scientific American by Peter Byrne chronicles his experience with geologist Paul Knauth in Death Valley. Knauth led the reporter to an approximately 750-million-year-old cave; Knauth would like to find microfossils in the cave to add to the body of evidence that supports his evolutionary model. According to Knauth, life did not solely thrive in the seas during the Precambrian era. The surviving land-based fossils are most likely to be tiny and hidden in “geological time capsules,” such as the Death Valley cave, which has withstood volcanoes, glaciers and the clashing of continental plates.

Photo by Peter Byrne

Read the full story here



The Zebulon Pearce Distinguished Teaching and Outstanding Lecturer Awards were established in memory of Zebulon Pearce, who graduated from Territorial Normal School at Tempe (now ASU) with teacher's credentials in 1899. These awards recognize teaching excellence in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The four awardees to be honored for their contributions in natural sciences, humanities and social sciences for 2014 are:

• Philip Christensen, Regents’ Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration
• Edward Mallot, assistant professor, Department of English
• Natalie Wilkens, assistant professor, T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics
• Mariana Bahtchevanova, senior lecturer, School of International Letters and Cultures

“The college has dozens and dozens of top-flight teachers across all fields. But amid all of this talent, there are exceptional teachers, and we recognize them with this award,” says Patrick Kenney, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and professor in the School of Politics and Global Studies.

A noted planetary geologist, Christensen came to Arizona State University in 1981 and is the Ed and Helen Korrick Professor of Geological Sciences. The designer and principal investigator for instruments on past and current NASA missions to Mars, Christensen says his approach to teaching is to engage students as much as possible in the experimental design, generation and interpretation of real data.

"For example," he says, "in my freshman course the students design, build, fly and analyze a system. I don't give them an approach, but instead specify a science objective.

"Most teams end up building some type of system to launch a camera into the air," he explains. "It's remarkable how different the approaches are that the student teams take. Some use balloons, others use water rockets, catapults, CO2 cannons or kites." The camera timing systems are equally inventive, he says, ranging from melting ice and rubber bands to kitchen timers.

Christensen says, "The point of this project is to create an open-ended objective that encourages students to explore and learn what they decide they need to know in order to solve a real scientific question."

One student who took the course says, "By the end of the course, I realized that I was hooked on exploring earth and space. I'm now planning to be a teacher upon graduation, so I can share my excitement about earth sciences with a new generation."

"For me," says Christensen, "education is about inspiring students to learn on their own. Our job as teachers is to give them the tools and point them in the right direction. But then we must encourage them to do more than they think they can, and instill in them the excitement of learning and discovering."

Humanities matter

Selected as the 2014 distinguished teacher in the humanities, Mallot says that his first objective is to inspire more global, multifaceted thinking. He teaches 20th century British literature, classes on postcolonial writers and sexuality studies to both undergraduate and graduate students.

Literary and cultural studies matter, Mallot believes, because they “help students pry open their world a little bit more, to experience cultures, traditions and values different from their own.”

One student writes: “Dr. Mallot is one of the most inspiring and intelligent teachers I’ve ever had. He always asks the kinds of question that provoke students to think in more depth about the texts. His methodology led to an engaged classroom, where every student felt valued in discussion. I feel that I learned a lot about how to teach effectively from him.”

“Dr. Mallot is a superb teacher,” says Mark Lussier, chair of ASU’s Department of English. “His mastery of the materials in his field, which includes a vast geographical range – from Southeast Asia and India to European and American postcolonial work – is beyond dispute, and his ability to challenge his students through this material, even as he inspires their highest efforts, is a finely balanced talent much sought, but less often observed.”

Social sciences leader

A relative newcomer to the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics and ASU’s social sciences program – ranked 9th in the U.S. – Wilkens has quickly proven to be an insightful mentor and exceptional teacher. A developmental psychologist who studies children’s socio-emotional development, she is also an expert in statistical modeling. Wilkens reaches a broad student demographic in her courses by interweaving current pop culture figures and events with statistics, bringing what is a complex topic for many to a “down-to-earth level.”

Among Wilkens’ letters of support are many who spoke of how she “puts her heart and soul into advising graduate students.” From how to write expert publications, how to interview and negotiate job contracts, they speak of how she has guided them through the challenges of developing a university career.

“She encouraged us to be brave and confident,” writes one graduate. “She is one of the top professors of my university career” and “one of the few talented professors that could make a comparison between rapper P. Diddy and p-values,” said others, now in successful careers.

'Outstanding Lecturer'

The sole awardee in the category of “Outstanding Lecturer” is French and linguistics expert Bahtchevanova. Noted for her hard work, intelligence, mastery of multiple languages and exceptional teaching, she has taught undergraduate lower and upper division, graduate courses and actively supported the annual School of International Letters and Cultures Language Fair that draws more than 1,000 high schools to campus.

Fascinated by the scientific study of human languages and the art of teaching, she says her approach pushes students to learn critical thinking skills by investigating questions about important aspects of language: how we produce and interpret language sounds, how we create and use words and sentences in different contexts, how we learn language, why bilinguals codeswitch, why we make “errors” in speech and writing, or why languages change. Her students said that she “deeply cares about our success” and that “Dr. Bahtchevanova has allowed me to realize that ‘class’ is never over and that ‘learning’ can never be stopped.”

Award recipients, including the Gary S. Krahenbuhl Difference Maker Award winner, professor Madeline Spring, will be honored at a faculty awards luncheon and at convocation ceremonies for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, to be held at 8 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., May 15, at Wells Fargo Arena.

Photo: Planetary geologist Philip Christensen is one of four faculty members in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to be honored with a Zebulon Pearce Distinguished Teaching Award or Outstanding Lecturer Award in 2014.
Photo by: Tom Story

(Peggy Coulombe)


Due to its proximity to the major tectonic plate boundaries of the Pacific Ring of Fire, Japan has had a long history of earthquakes and seismic activity. As a recipient of a National Science Foundation East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes (EAPSI) Fellowship, ASU geological sciences graduate student Emily Kleber is spending her summer assessing seismic risk in Japan, focusing on the Itoigawa Shizuoka Tectonic Line. Her research begins June 17 at the University of Hiroshima (Japan) under Dr. Koji Okumura.

The two-month-long EAPSI program provides students in science, engineering, and education first-hand research experience working with a host scientist in Australia, China, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, or Taiwan.

Trained as a geologist and GIS specialist, Kleber has a Bachelor of Science in geology with a minor in GIS from University of California, Davis. She has worked extensively with light detection and ranging (lidar) data, which uses light to measure variable distances to the Earth and create precise, three-dimensional models of the surface. As part of Professor Ramon Arrowsmith’s Active Tectonics group at ASU, she has gained experience applying high resolution topographic data to studying earthquake geology.

“Being an EAPSI fellow is a once in a lifetime experience. I will be studying the tectonics of a completely different setting and interacting with scientists in a different research infrastructure,” says Kleber. “I will share my experiences studying the San Andreas Fault in California and perform my own short-term seismic hazard study to better understand how earthquake science is used in Japan to inform policy decisions.”

Kleber benefited from pre-existing collaborations between the Active Tectonics group, and Japanese institutions and scientists. Arrowsmith’s group has hosted international researchers including the most recent visitor, Dr. Tadashi Maruyama of the Geological Survey of Japan.

“There are strong research ties between the Active Tectonics group at ASU, the Southern California Earthquake Center’s Virtual Institute for the Study of Earthquake Systems and several research institutions in Japan. I applied to this fellowship in order to continue building these connections and seek a unique research experience in a tectonically and culturally significant area for earthquake geology,” says Kleber.

During her weeks abroad, Kleber will be organizing and leading a short course at the Geological Survey of Japan in applying high resolution topographic data to active tectonics studies. She will also visit the Geological Survey of Japan in Tsukuba, which is an area outside of Tokyo, and will be traveling to the North Island of Hokkaido to attend the Asia Oceania Geosciences Society’s meeting.

In addition to her research, Kleber is also heavily involved in the daily operations of an NSF-funded high resolution topographic data distribution portal called OpenTopography (, which makes earth science related lidar data available for free online. Someday, she would like to be part of seismic hazard assessment teams to help better inform public activities surrounding earthquakes.

The NSF EAPSI program provides U.S. graduate students in science and engineering a first-hand research experience in their respective location. The goals of the program are to introduce students to East Asia and Pacific science and engineering in the context of a research setting, and to help students initiate scientific relationships that will better enable future collaboration with foreign counterparts.

Arrowsmith, her advisor, is excited about Kleber’s opportunity. “I am happy that Emily will be able to have this great educational experience working with our close Japanese colleagues to develop new methods using high resolution topography to map active faults,” he remarked. “It is a competitive program and an honor for her to receive this prestigious award. It is a nice indication of her hard working and motivated nature.”

(Nikki Cassis)


Lindy Elkins-Tanton, an expert in planet formation and evolution, has been named director of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.

Elkins-Tanton, whose appointment takes effect on July 1, 2014, comes to ASU from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C., where she served as director of the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism. There, she was responsible for leading the department in the pursuit of ‘big’ science questions, high risk investigations and long-term research.

“Dr. Elkins-Tanton’s expertise, experience and vision fit perfectly with the core strengths that the School of Earth and Space Exploration have established in the geological sciences, astronomy, astrophysics and cosmology,” said Ferran Garcia-Pichel, dean of natural sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “The school is at the forefront of developing new transdisciplinary links among the sciences. We are fortunate to attract this exceptional scientist to lead it.”

As a researcher, Elkins-Tanton’s own interests are interdisciplinary in nature. Her scientific studies explore planetary formation, magma oceans and subsequent planetary evolution, formation of large volcanic provinces, and interactions between silicate planets and their atmospheres. After graduating from MIT with a bachelor’s degree in geology and a master’s in geochemistry, she spent eight years working in business, with five years spent writing business plans for young high-tech ventures, before returning to MIT for her doctorate. She went on to pursue research opportunities at Brown University, then joined the MIT faculty. Within 10 years of completing her doctorate, as an associate professor in geology, she was recruited to the directorship position at Carnegie.

According to Elkins-Tanton, ASU and the School of Earth and Space Exploration appealed to her for being unique in academia in their vision and action.

“At SESE I am looking forward to working more with students, and to helping the fantastic faculty bring their transdisciplinary scientific and engineering research to the next level. With the size and resources of the school, SESE is a leader in Earth and space research, and is poised for more. The energy and direction at ASU is compelling and I am eager to join the movement,” said Elkins-Tanton.

Elkins-Tanton has received numerous scholarly honors, including being named a two-time National Academy of Sciences Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow and serving on the National Academy of Sciences Decadal Survey Mars panel. In 2008, she was awarded a five-year National Science Foundation CAREER award, and, in 2009, was named Outstanding MIT Faculty Undergraduate Research Mentor. She was awarded the Explorers Club Lowell Thomas prize and the second edition of her six-book series “The Solar System,” a reference series for libraries, was released in 2010. She was named the Astor Fellow at Oxford University in 2013.

Photo credit: MIT

(Nikki Cassis)