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Geologists' Glory Days

CAER Crew - Jen O'Keefe, Jim Hower, Sarah Mardon

Jen O'Keefe, Jim Hower, Sarah Mardon

This spring, it seemed that each time I received notice of a staff accolade, it was about someone who works in room 141. This lab houses the CAER Petrography Laboratory. Whether through osmosis, or because he hires smart students, two of Dr. Jim Hower's graduate student workers have been racking up the awards this spring - as has he.

Hower, CAER's senior petrologist, is Sarah Mardon and Jennifer O'Keefe's advisor. Both women are completing large portions of their research in the CAER petrography lab. Jen's dissertation research is on the petrography and palynology of Claiborne Group lignites in Western Kentucky. Sarah's thesis research is on the potential for coalbed methane production and carbon dioxide sequestration in Western Kentucky. Below are some of highlights of their recent awards:

  • Jennifer O'Keefe and Sarah Mardon both received:
  • The Medlin Scholarship Award from the Geological Society of America, Coal Geology Division. This will help provide research support and some funding to travel to the 2007 national GSA meeting in Denver.
  • Awards from the UK Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (formerly Geological Sciences) through their Brown-McFarlan Fund for non-field related research and travel.
  • Sarah received:
  • AAPG Energy Minerals grant to fund research for her thesis on coalbed methane production in the Western KY coal field of the Illinois basin.
  • A scholarship from the Kentucky Environmental Protection Cabinet. This will pay for her tuition next year and room and board. She will also be placed in a position with the state (in the Environmental Protection Cabinet) upon graduation with the master's degree in geology.
  • Also from the Dept. of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The Ferm Fund, which will also go toward her research.
  • Jen received:
  • The 2006 Garry Jones Memorial Award for student research from the North American Micropaleontological Section of SEPM. This award is to fund the palynological section of her dissertation work on the Western Kentucky Lignites.

In addition, Dr. Hower is the Geological Society of America's 2006 Recipient of Gilbert H. Cady Award. This award is presented to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the field of coal geology. As defined by the Division, "coal geology refers to the field of knowledge concerning the origin, occurrence, relationships and geologic characteristics of the many varieties of coal and associate rocks, including economic implications." He will be presented with the award at the GSA's annual meeting in Philadelphia in October. GSA division awards recipients will also be recognized at the conference's Presidential Address and Award Ceremony.