Current Students

Graduate Students

Sean Mackay (PhD Candidate)

Numerical Modeling Approaches to Quantifying Microclimate Zonation and Stability in the Antarctic Dry Valleys: Implications for Terrestrial and Planetary Climate Change

Sean Mackay holds a M.S. in Environmental Management from Oxford University, a B.S. in Physics and a B.A. in Music from Southern Methodist University, and has worked several years as an environmental consultant prior to joining BU in applied research.  Coming from private industry, Mr. Mackay draws upon experience working as PI in a research-oriented atmospheric and environmental engineering firm where he gained specialized knowledge in physical modeling of the earth surface and the application of GIS to surface analysis.  His interests include combining numerical modeling approaches to quantifying glacial and periglacial geomorphic processes with the enhanced use of digital technologies to facilitate earth science investigation and global climate change analysis.  His specific research focuses on developing a more complete understanding of the processes that govern the evolution and modification of polar debris-covered glaciers, with a specific focus on the potentially extremely ancient buried glaciers in the highest-elevation regions with Antarctica's Dry Valleys and application to buried ice on Mars. Sean has completed field seasons in both Antarctica and Greenland, and will return to Antarctica in Fall 2010.  Sean is also the senior visualization specialist for the BU ES Digital Imagery and Analysis Laboratory (DIAL).  In Spring 2009, Sean received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for his proposed research.


Jennifer Lamp (PhD Candidate)

Cold-Desert Permafrost and Periglacial Processes: Implications for Climate Change on Earth and Mars

Jennifer Lamp received a B.S.E. in Civil & Environmental Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2006, and a M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2009.  At BU, Jen is applying her background in engineering towards modeling the physical weathering and periglacial processes that operate in the hyper-arid, cold-deserts of Antarctica.  Through field, experimental, and numerical-modeling studies, Jen is quantifying the effects of solar-induced thermal stress and salt growth on the mechanical breakdown of rocks in the Dry Valleys; she is also modeling dynamic cryoturbation from freeze-thaw processes that occur in the warmer and wetter regions of the Dry Valleys near the coast. Jen has already completed one field season in Antarctica, and is heading back in Fall 2010.  In Spring 2010, she received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for her proposed research.


Andrew J. Christ (PhD Candidate)

Quaternary West Antarctic Ice Sheet Dynamics: Implications for Climate Change and Global Sea Level Rise

Andrew Christ graduated from Hamilton College in 2011 with a B.A. in geosciences (honors) where he studied the Holocene glacial marine geology of the Antarctic Peninsula. Following graduation Andrew worked in the environmental consulting industry in Denver, CO conducting various fieldwork efforts across the western United States. After spending a field season aboard an icebreaker in the Antarctic Peninsula in early 2013, Andrew joined BU in the fall of 2013. He has shifted from glacial marine environments to the terrestrial realm to focus on past expansions of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) onto volcanic islands in McMurdo Sound. Using geomorphologic mapping, high-resolution cosmogenic radionuclide dating (Be-10, Al-26, He-3, Cl-36), and remote sensing data (satellite imagery and aerial photography), Andrew will determine the nature, timing, and extent of fluctuations of the WAIS during the Last Glacial Maximum and earlier times during the Quaternary. Drawing on past experience analyzing marine sediment records, Andrew will correlate findings from terrestrial archives with results from the Antarctic Drilling Project (ANDRILL) in McMurdo Sound. Additionally he will collect gigapixel-resolution GigaPan® panoramic photographs to conduct remote fieldwork and develop digital fieldtrips to the Antarctic for BU undergraduate geology courses and local Boston schools. Andrew recently returned from his first field season (2013-14) with BU in the Transantarctic Mountains and on Mount Discovery; he will return to the Antarctic two more additional seasons to complete his research.


Alistair Hayden (Masters Student)

Graduate student Alistair HaydenGeomorphic Mapping With Digital Imagery

Alistair earned a dual B.S. in Geological Sciences and Interdisciplinary Physics from the University of Michigan in 2011 and was excited to immediately begin working with the BUARG.  His work involves bringing geologic mapping into the age of technology by using DIAL and digital imagery from the Polar Geospatial Center to map the extent of the climate-induced features studied by the other BUARG members and to identify future field sites for the group.  This work will help to learn about spatial climate variation across the continent and to focus valuable field time on the science. Furthermore, the techniques developed will be applicable to Mars, which will assist climate variation investigations and landing site identification.  Alistair is also extremely interested in education and outreach and is developing a number of outreach products, including 3D footage and a film about the group's science.  He also kept a blog from the field during the 2011-2012 field season in collaboration with a local middle school through the GLACIER project at BU.

Undergraduate Students

The BUARG is committed to undergraduate education and has a long history of taking undergraduates to the field. Since 1997, 23 undergraduates have accompanied Professor David Marchant as field assistants. Most recently, Mike Dyonisius assisted the group with their field work during the 2011-2012 season. Other recent undergraduates to make the trip include Greg Wissink, Andrew Knott, David Shean, Emily Klinger, and Sarah Burns.

Former Graduate Students

Christine (Harrington) Brandon (MA 2009)

Geomorphological Analyses and Hydrodynamic Modeling of Relict Subglacial Channels in the Transantarctic Mountains


Dr. Douglas Kowalewski (PhD 2009)

Numerical Modelling of Soil Vapor in Antarctica: Implications for Climate Reconstructions and Preservation of Buried Glacier Ice

*Current Position: NSF Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Dr. Kate Swanger (PhD 2009)

Glacial and Periglacial Geomorphology of the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica: Microclimatic Infulences on Cold-Desert Landforms

Bryce Postdoctoral Fellow, Colgate University

*Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts


Dr. Adam Lewis (PhD 2005)

Periglacial Geomorphology and Rates of Landscape Evolution in the Western Dry Valleys Region of Antarctica

*Current Position: Assistant Professor, North Dakota State University


Dr. Jane Willenbring (MA 2002)

The glacial history of Vernier Valley, Antarctica: Implications for Plio-Pleistocene Paleoclimate and Ice Sheet Stability

*Current Position: Assistant Professor, Earth & Environmental Science, Univeristy of Pennsylvania


Erika Miller (MA 2002)

Sedimentation in a Former Glacial Lake Along the Southern Margin of the Laurentide Ice Sheet, Concord, Massachusetts


Eric Moore (MA 2002)

Age and Paleoclimate Significance of Modern and Relict Rock Glaciers in Upper Beacon Valley, Antarctica


Beth N. Hartman (MA 1998)

Miocene paleoclimate and ice sheet dynamics as recorded in central Taylor Valley, Antarctica


Top of Page


Boston University, Department of Earth & Environment, 675 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215