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Skidmore College
Geosciences Department

Student doing fieldwork in a lab

Student Research at Skidmore

We encourage you, as a geoscience student, to conduct your own original research. This experience will allow you to put your skills to use, advance the fields of geoscience, and learn more than you thought you ever could. Most importantly, research will allow you to get involved in professional geological societies and start networking for a job or graduate school.

Independent research allows you to

  • design your own research project
  • conduct your own fieldwork
  • analyze your own data
  • present your findings at regional or national geological conferences, Academic Festival, and other venues.

Getting started is the easy part.

  1. Find an aspect of geoscience that interests you.
  2. Find a faculty member who has a similar interest.
  3. Go talk to that person about doing research.

Research Grants

The Mente et Malleo Research Grant was established to provide funding for undergraduate research for Skidmore geosciences. This is a competitive award and is based on the merits of your research proposal. The proposal deadline, including a detailed budget, is April 15, so start thinking about your research early in your junior year, or before!

Guidelines and Examples

Read through the guidelines for writing research proposals and research papers before you start to write your research proposals and research papers.

These examples are of the quality that the department expects.

A couple of hints as you start the proposal process: Read the literature for context and start writing early. From experience, a comprehensive proposal makes for high-quality research.

Recent Research Projects (since 2003)

Many of these were presented at National or Northeastern Section of the Geological Society of America meetings. Many of the others were presented at Academic Festival or at other conferences such as the Vermont Geological Society meeting.


  • Ben Freiberg ‘16: A fallout radionuclide reference inventory and soil profile for Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Melanie Feen ‘16: Net community production from autonomous oxygen observations in the Sargasso Sea
  • Emma McCully ‘16: Measuring hydrothermal plume particles with optical backscattering sensors: preliminary tests of a new method
  • Matt Kilgore ‘16: Dacryoconarid biostratigraphy of the Middle Devonian Bakoven Shale of Eastern New York State
  • Melanie Feen ‘16: Calibrating a new method for measuring ocean carbon fluxes in the presence of high-silicate phytoplankton blooms


  • Katie Kuklewicz ‘15: Principal Component and Time Series Analysis of a Geochemical Record from Yucatan, Mexico (senior thesis)
  • Sarah Turner ’15: Seasonal Fluorescence Cycles in a Yucatan Stalagmite: A 1,000 Year Record (senior thesis)


  • Maryann Countrymann '13 A Stalagmite Snapshot of Tropical Climate Variability During the Last Ice Age: Preliminary Results from YAX-1  


  • Logan Brenner ‘12, Jamie Potter, Anastasia Rodzianko ‘12, and Angus Welch ‘13 A new varve record from Saratoga Springs, NY of climate variability during the Deglaciation from northern Glacial Lake Albany.
  • Mary Brill ‘15, Tessa Leverone, Caroline Loehr ‘12, and Aurora Pinkey-Drobnis ’12, New varve records of climate variability during the Deglaciation from southern Glacial Lake Warrensburg.  
  • Logan Brenner '12 A Tale of Two Interglacials: A Stalagmite Stable Isotope Record of Climate in Yucatán, Mexico Since 128,000 YBP (Poster presented at AGU)
  • Aurora Pinkey-Drobnis '12 Calendar-year dating of pre-historic hurricanes in Yucatan, Mexico using fluorescence micro-imaging of an annually-layered stalagmite
  • Alena Chubet '12 Reanalysis of a Stalagmite from Belize:  An Isotopic Correlation or Deviation?  
  • Kaylyn Oates (Smith College), Aurora Pinkey-Drobnis, Jonathan Reeves ’12 (Skidmore College), Thomas M  Wilson, and Darren M Gravley (U. Canterbury). GETTING THE MESSAGE RIGHT: A MEASURE OF HOW WELL THE MEDIA EDUCATED THE PUBLIC ON GEOSCIENCE DURING THE 2010 -2011 EARTHQUAKE SEQUENCE IN CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 76.  Poster presented at 2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis.
  • Lendra Cooper ‘12– Dacryoconarid species and biozones in the Emsian (Lower Devonian) Esopus and Schoharie equivalents at Mapleton, PA.
  • Logan Brenner ‘12 – Description and systematic placement of a new Dacryoconarid species and genus in the lower Genesee Group astride the Middle/Upper (Giventian/Frasnian) boundary at Alden, NY.
  • Mike Gallant ’12 Analysis of the Tekoa Tuff in Island Hills, New Zealand. (Poster presented at GSA)


  • Audrey Wronski '11 2300-year stalagmite from Yucatán, Mexico: 1500-2007 C.E.


  • Melissa Ng, GE ’08: The Local and Regional Surface Hydrology of the Kayaderosseras Creek Watershed.
  • Kimberly Rich, GE ’08: Modeling of Eolian Sediment Transport in the Namib Sand Sea Using in-situ 10Be and 26Al
  • Jeff Narva, GE ’08: Identification of Riparian Buffer Zones in the Kayaderosseras Creek Watershed Using GIS


  • Thomas Arnold, GE ’07: Beavers or the railroad: What caused the largest flash flood in Saratoga Springs, New York, in over a century?
  • Allison Stafford, ES ’07: Factors affecting precipitation and baseflow in two small paired basins.


  • Erin Black, GE '06, Turbidity of the Kayaderosseras Creek watershed (poster presented at NEGSA)
  • Megan Chadwick, GE '06,– Buffers on the Battenkill: Maping Riparian Zones Using GIS (poster presented at NEGSA)
  • Michael Cleveland, GE '06, Long-term erosion rates of the Grand Canyon using 10Be
  • Michael Cleveland, Erin Black, Cecily D'Esopo, Doug Donovan, in-depth knowledge (based on 378 well logs) of Kayaderosseras Creek surficial sediments.
  • Davin Lyons, GE '06, Holocene climate change of Keuka Lake, Finger Lakes region, based on sediment cores (poster presented at NEGSA)
  • Doug Herbst, GE '06, Deformation analysis of impact craters on Terra Cimmeria: Looking at evidence for the origin of magnetic lineaments on Mars
  • Doug Herbst, Davin Lyons, Cortlandt Toczylowski, Cathrine Bronson, Noella Schink, Hadlock Pond Dam Failure: Reconstruction of peak discharge and comparision to regional flood frequency (poster presented at NEGSA)
  • Lauren Marder '06, Deltaic systems of the Mississippi and Nile Rivers: A comparative analysis of the geologic evolution and impacts of socio-economic development
  • Aaron Kamholtz '06, A statistical study of extratropical cyclones north of 38 degrees latitude from 1974–2004


  • Derek Eaton, GE '05, Initiation and Growth Processes of the Miller Brook Gully, Stowe, Vt. (poster presented at NEGSA)
  • Daniel Feuer, GE '05, GIS Analysis of Tributary Basin Characteristics in the Upper Colorado River Basin
  • Luca Peppe, GE '05, Bedrock Depth Study of the Kayaderosseras Valley and a Reinterpretation of the Deglacial History
  • Veronica Russell , GE '05, Using 10 Be to Discover the History of the Goldstone Piedmont at Fort Irwin, Mojave Desert, California
  • Conor Taft '05, Kayaderosseras Creek watershed GIS Database


  • Robin Wiles-Skeels , ES '04, Evaluating the Effect of Land Use on Peak Discharge and Runoff in the Saratoga Lake Watershed (poster presented at National GSA meeting)
  • Katrina Smith, GE '04, Paired Watershed Study of the East Branch Kayaderosseras and Sturdevant Creek near South Corinth, New York (poster presented at NEGSA)
  • William R. Foniri, GE '04, Using In Situ-Produced Cosmogenic 10 Be to Determine Surface History of the Kofa Mountain Piedmont, Yuma, AZ (project is part of GSA Today manuscript)
  • Christina Schull, '04, Loughberry Lake water quality study
  • Margaret Bailey '04, Scientific Illustration


  • David O'Connor GE '03, Testing the Energy Budget Snowmelt Equation at Potash Mountain , New York.