11th Annual College of Science Graduate Student Awards

11th Annual College of Science Graduate Student Awards

The Department of Planetary Sciences/Lunar and Planetary Laboratory was pleased to honor the following students as recipients of the 2018 College of Science Graduate Student Awards. Each student received $100 and recognition at a reception held on April 19.

Outstanding Scholarship: Margaret Landis

Margaret Landis, a co-recipient of the 2018 LPL Kuiper Award, was also named as Outstanding Scholar for the College of Science graduate student awards. Margaret is a fifth-year student working with Professor Shane Byrne. Her research is based on age dating of landscapes with impact craters and simulations of ice stability. She has applied her expertise in this to multiple regions on Mars as well as Ceres. Margaret has presented her work on ice accumulation rates at Mars’ North pole at LPSC, the Mars Crater Consortium and DPS; it was also published in a 2016 GRL paper, with Margaret as first author.  Margaret received NSF funding that allowed her to spend summer 2017 at USGS Flagstaff to work on a crater catalog for the South Polar Layered Deposits. Her recent work on Ceres includes collaboration with the Dawn team, and has also been presented at LPSC and AGU, and resulted in a first-author paper in 2017.

Margaret is the recipient of several awards and fellowships, including an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship and the Galileo Circle Scholarship. In 2017, she was selected to participate in a Keck Institute for Space Science study to advance Mars polar science, and in 2018, she was awarded an LPI Career Development Award. Margaret is active in service and outreach, having won the LPL Outreach Award in 2017 for her participation in events like Tucson Festival of Books, Pima Air and Space Museum Nightwings, and Art of Planetary Science, in addition to other activities such as her work as a Washington Aerospace Scholars virtual mentor. She recently attended the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science Workshop. Margaret will defend and complete in Summer 2018.

Outstanding Service and Outreach & LPL Leif Andersson Graduate Student Award for Service and Outreach: Maria Steinrück

Maria Steinrück, third-year student, received the College of Science award for service, as well as the newly endowed Leif Andersson Award for Service and Outreach. Maria was recognized for her leadership and service in furthering equity and diversity at LPL and across campus and the Tucson community, as well as her work for LPL science outreach. At LPL, she was the primary impetus behind the gender-neutral Kuiper restroom and signage. She has worked as a core organizer for the Women Techmakers Tucson Hackathon since 2016, providing vision and advocacy for gender parity in STEM spaces. In the hackathon, she displayed her willingness to work on all aspects of program logistics like social media and set-up, but also served as a sought-after mentor.

Maria is active with the LPL Women group, initiating bi-monthly discussion lunches and expanding participation and networking for the group; thanks to her leadership, a new Department Life section of the LPL web site was launched this year. As part of her service as an organizer for the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory Conference (LPLC), Maria applied Safe Zone guidelines and inclusivity best practices to the selection of speakers for LPLC, and advocated for use of pronouns on LPLC conference materials. Maria is also a frequent volunteer at outreach and STEM events like the Tucson Festival of Books and LPL's Summer Science Saturday.

Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring: Kyle Pearson

Kyle Pearson was named the recipient of the College of Science Outstanding Teaching and Mentoring award for LPL, specifically for his work in PTYS/ASTR 170B2, with Professor Vishnu Reddy. During the course, Kyle advocated for including math activities in the course syllabus and independently developed exercises and problem questions that were interesting and challenging for non-science majors. Kyle spent extra time helping students with the homework and extended office hours for students with learning disabilities. He created study guides for each lecture and made them available on D2L within 24 hours and frequently set up telescopes on the UA mall to ensure every student had opportunity to look through a telescope at least once.  He also gave a well received lecture to the class on his exoplanet research. Kyle is a second-year student working with Professor Caitlin Griffith.