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The Douglas and Maria Bayer Endowed Chair in Earth Science
2 East South Street
Galesburg, IL 61401-4999
At Knox Since: 2008
Douglas and Maria Bayer Endowed Chair in Earth Science
After graduate school at Washington University, I knew I wanted to end up at a school where teaching was a valued aspect of my work, and where access to things like research projects wasn't limited to a few superstar undergraduates. When I visited Knox, people were genuinely thrilled to be working here and were doing exactly the kind of teaching and research I had hoped to pursue, and I knew early in my interview that I wanted to be here.
Describe your research?
I work in "young geology," sediments and soils that are thousands of years old instead of millions of years old. I'm working in a few different areas at the same time, since my work abroad is subject to funding and political events in a way that more local work is not. I have been co-directing the Dhiban Excavation and Development Project in Jordan for several years with Danielle Fatkin and our colleagues at Berkeley and Liverpool. I'm working there with the archaeological team in order to examine how people and landscape were related; how the geology may have determined water-management strategies, for example, and how the site has eroded over time due to human activity. My favorite thing about geology is that we can reconstruct past environments and landscapes, and learn a lot about what people were up to, using clues in sediment and soil.
Locally, I've been starting to work out at Green Oaks; I'd like to eventually be able to examine the relationship between prairie burns (and other large-scale changes in the area) and erosion, as well as how these changes affect soil nutrients. I hope to start a more in-depth examination of phosphorous in the soil and how that is related to burning and runoff, and to continue work we're already doing looking at long-term erosion rates. Understanding how these things are related will provide a lot of insight for soil and landscape management in prairie restoration areas as well as agricultural zones.
When I visited Knox, people were genuinely thrilled to be working here and were doing exactly the kind of teaching and research I had hoped to pursue