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 Student)

Graduate student Andrew ChristQuaternary 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 has completed one field season in the Transantarctic Mountains and on Mount Discovery. He will be returning to the Antarctic to volcanic islands in McMurdo Sound to continue his research. During the 2014-15 school year Andrew will serve as a NSF GK12 Teaching Fellow at local Boston middle schools.


Alistair Hayden (Masters Student)

Graduate student Alistair HaydenRemote sensing and field-based investigations of Antarctic landscapes

Alistair earned a dual B.S. in Geological Sciences (high honors) and Interdisciplinary Physics from the University of Michigan in 2011.  His work with BUARG combines digital and quantitative methods with fieldwork to create and improve techniques for analyzing climate change. One project focuses on reducing scatter in cosmogenic nuclide exposure dating, which is one of the main techniques for determining terrestrial ice sheet history. Another project brings traditional mapping into the age of technology, combining field data and digital remote sensing data from the Polar Geospatial Center in DIAL.  Alistair is also extremely active in K-12 education and science outreach.  He maintained a widely-read blog from the field during the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 field seasons as part of a collaboration with local middle schools through the GLACIER project at BU, taught local science classes, and has brought BUARG's research to over 50 science classes in the greater Boston area, Michigan, and Finland. He received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for his proposed research and an NSF STEM Fellowship in GK12 Education and a Fulbright Fellowship to further his work in outreach and education. In the fall of 2014 Alistair started in the PhD program at the California Institute of Technology.


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, many of whom have gone on to pursue careers in Antarctic science.


Michael Dyonisius

Michael Dyonisius (field assistant 2011-12) is now a PhD student at University of Rochester, working with Vasilii Petrenko. He studies methane in the Holocene paleoatmosphere with Antarctic ice cores.



Greg Wissink

Greg Wissink (field assistant 2010-11) is currently a PhD candidate at Syracuse University, working with Gregory Hoke. He studies Cenozoic uplift and river reorganization in the Tibetan Plateau using stable isotopes in carbonate deposits.


Other undergraduates in the BUARG include Rachel Watsky (research assistant 2012-13; now a wetland consultant with Goddard Consulting LLC), Sabrina Mullen (research assistant 2010-13; now working for Bank of America in Arizona), Andrew Knott (field assistant 2008), Sarah Burns (field assistant 2002), Emily Klingler (field assistant 2002), Tyler Cruckshank (field assistant 1995)

Prior Field Assistants in Antarctica

Brett Overturf (1994), Charlie Narwhal (1993), Chip Lagerbom (1990,1992), Jon Whittier (1992), Mark Dubois (1991), Jon Florek (1991), Chris Grallert (1989), Garth Hirsch (1990), Tom Fenn (1990), Steve Hinshaw (1989).

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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


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