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Kansas Geological Survey honors outstanding students

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

LAWRENCE — Five University of Kansas students received outstanding achievement awards from the Kansas Geological Survey, based on KU's west campus.

Tony Layzell, a doctoral student in geography from Nottingham, England, was presented the Lee C. and Darcy Gerhard Field Research Student Award. A member of the KGS Stratigraphic Research section, Layzell was recognized for his work on stream-bank erosion in northeastern Kansas, drought in Kansas over the past 1,000 years and GIS mapping of geoarchaeological sites. In the fall of 2012 he won the best student presentation award at the Governor’s Conference on Water and the Future of Kansas. The Gerhard award is named for the KGS director from 1987 to 1999 and his wife.

Bevin Bailey, a master’s student in geology from Asheville, N.C., received the William W. Hambleton Student Research Award. A member of the KGS Exploration Services section, Bailey studies near-surface environments using seismic methods. She has developed a novel approach to processing shallow seismic data that involves extracting additional information from an existing data set collected to address public safety aspects of a large dam. Bailey has presented her findings at two annual conferences, including the Exploration Geophysicists meeting in Las Vegas last fall and will present again at the 2013 SEG meeting in Houston. The award is named for the KGS director from 1970 to 1986 and is given for excellence in research as demonstrated by outstanding writing or oral presentation.

Charity Lander, a doctoral student in geology from Barberton, Ohio, received the Norman Plummer Outstanding Student Award. A member of the KGS Cartographic Services unit, Lander has researched and written geologic descriptions and text for several county geologic maps, digitized map geology, assisted with map layout, and interpreted geology and well data to create cross-sections illustrating subsurface geology in the mapped counties. She is also chair of the Geological Society of America’s Professional Development Committee. Norman Plummer was a KGS staff member from 1936 to 1969.

Carolyn Helm, a master’s student in geology from Lubbock, Texas, received the Frank C. Foley Groundwater Student Travel Award. A member of the KGS Geohydrology section, she is working on a project in which innovative techniques are being developed to extract data from water-well drillers’ logs. The data will be used to create models that support groundwater management in the High Plains aquifer, including a three-dimensional groundwater flow model Helm is helping develop. The award, named after the Survey's director from 1954 to 1970, will provide funding for her to attend the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Denver this fall, where she will present the results of her work.

Lauren James, a master’s student in geography from Lawrence, received the Jack Dangermond/Esri Geospatial Technologies Student Award. A member of the KGS Cartographic Services unit, James has been integral in the creation and layout of two county geologic maps and created a series of soil maps for a publication. She has tested and developed methods to improve map quality, including color consistency. James has also received a National Geographic Society internship in the National Geographic Magazine design department. The Dangermond award was established by Jack Dangermond, president of the Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. (Esri) to recognize student accomplishments in the application of geospatial technologies.

The Kansas Geological Survey studies and provides information on the state's geologic resources and hazards, particularly ground water, oil, natural gas, and other minerals. It employs approximately 35 students.

The recipients were presented cash awards and certificates in a mid-May ceremony.

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