Research

Current Work

I am a second-year PhD student in Diego Melgar’s large earthquake science group at the University of Oregon. I am interested in learning more about the basic science of large earthquake rupture processes, as well as the applications of this research to earthquake early warning and hazard communication in the Pacific Northwest.

In particular, my current project involves using borehole strainmeter data to study earthquake determinism, which is the idea that the final magnitude of a large earthquake can be estimated before the rupture process is complete. I am also looking at the earthquake rupture initiation and propagation processes using P-waves recorded by borehole strainmeters.

For my second project, I plan to analyze the noise levels of the GNSS solutions produced by UNAVCO, and work to establish a baseline for optimal station performance. This will allow for the ability to continuously grade position solutions so that we know when stations are not performing well. I will also investigate some of the potential sources of GPS noise in the atmosphere and ionosphere.

2018 IRIS Internship

Over the summer of 2018, I worked at the Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory in New Mexico as an IRIS intern with Adam Ringler. The results of this research were presented at the 2018 AGU Fall Meeting, and were published in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America in March 2019. Links to my poster and paper can be found on my Publications & Posters page.

Throughout the summer, I also kept a weekly blog on the IRIS internship website about my experiences in Albuquerque and the progress I was making on my research.

Washington University in St. Louis

As an undergraduate student, I worked with Jill Pasteris in her Raman spectroscopy lab analyzing a variety of minerals in a variety of settings, but primarily revolved around the mineral apatite. Apatite is interesting because its structure allows for the inclusion and substitution of many different ions, so it is very versatile.

As part of a group with researchers in the Washington University departments of Earth Sciences and Chemical Engineering, as well as collaborators at the University of Houston, my main work was on an NSF project that investigated how to control lead corrosion in pipes that carry drinking water, which is what caused the health catastrophe in Flint, Michigan. The project looks into how to reduce lead loads by way of phosphate addition, which causes the precipitation of highly-insoluble mineral phases on the insides of these pipes. Using the Raman microprobe, I analyzed scales on the insides of used lead pipes to try and identify the different mineral phases that had precipitated. The goal of the ongoing project is to figure out how to efficiently remove lead from drinking water by altering water treatment recommendations to avoid future health crises.

My other work outside of this project included microphotography of samples, mechanosynthesis of apatite using a ball-milling machine, and de-convolution of Raman peaks using GRAMS/32 (AI) 6.00 software for bio and synthetic apatite. Dr. Pasteris presented a poster including some of this other work at the 2018 Goldschmidt Conference, which can also be found on my Publications & Posters page.

2014 Discovery Corps Research Internship

As a high school student employed at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, I had the opportunity over a summer to work with Julianna Simon at the University of Washington’s Center for Industrial and Medical Ultrasound, part of the Applied Physics Laboratory. I participated in a NASA project about using medical ultrasound to detect and treat kidney stones in astronauts. Using a pressurized water-filled chamber and a variety of different types of kidney stones, I investigated what ultrasonic frequencies and stone surface types caused an artifact called “twinkling” to appear on the ultrasound monitor. This would occur when microscopic bubbles, trapped on the jagged surfaces of the stones, vibrated at the onset of the ultrasonic waves.

At the end of the summer, I presented a poster and hands-on activity about sound waves at the Pacific Science Center to visitors. The following year, Dr. Simon presented a poster on which I was the second author at the 2015 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop. You can also find it on my Publications & Posters page.