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Xiaoming Liu

Coley Smith, an undergraduate student alumnus graduated with the highest honors (2016), has started graduate school at Indiana University after a few months of SULI fellowship at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Coley Smith has finished his first year as a Master student at the Indiana University and his paper from senior thesis research entitled “Spatial and temporal analysis of rare earth elements in the Neuse River, North Carolina” came out in Chemical Geology early this year.

Undergraduate student Coley Smith is happily analyzing rare earth element concentrations in the Neuse River using the Q-ICP-MS.

Ethan Dinwiddie (graduated with honors in 2017) has landed a job as a hydrologic technician in the Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota, and a paper from his honors thesis research was published in Frontiers in Earth Science (2018).

Ethan Dinwiddie doing fieldwork in Orange Country, NC (photo credit: Phil from NC Geological Survey)

William Larsen has used the Quadruple ICP-MS in the PMS to finish his senior thesis research and graduated with the highest honors in the spring of 2018. William has just written up his original scientific discoveries in a first draft titled “Rare earth element behavior in waters on the island of San Cristobal, Galapagos” to be submitted to Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta before leaving for the Canary Islands for more tropical research adventure!

Undergraduate honor thesis student William Larsen sampling water in Galapagos.
William Larsen presenting his poster at the 2017 AGU conference in New Orleans.

Sarah and Jordan, both UNC geology sophomores, have started their first independent research projects through the IDEA (Increasing Diversity and Enhancing Academia) program funded by the National Science Foundation this summer. They have presented their research in the 2018 Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium. Jordan has studied the anthropogenic gadolinium concentrations in Triangle area waters and discovered that the presence of high gadolinium contents in surface waters and calculated their daily and yearly fluxes into the natural system. Her research findings will help monitoring anthropogenic rare earth elements especially gadolinium in surface waters of the Triangle area. Sarah has analyzed rare earth element concentrations in soil weathering profiles of varying climate zones on the island of Hawaii and discovered that REE patterns in the dry profile represent no significant change from the parent rock whereas REE patterns in the wet profile represent addition of Asian dust on top with intense leaching and REE partitioning at the bottom. Her results have significant implications for nutrient cycling during weathering.


Undergraduate IDEA students Jordan Zabrecky (upper) and Sarah Brooker (lower) presenting their posters at the 2018 Undergraduate Research Symposium.