Meet our mentors!



Asiya Badarunnisa Sainudeen (she/her)

1st year PhD student
Research area: climate dynamics
Advisor: Marcus Lofverstrom

About Me

I am Asiya, a first-year Ph.D. student working with Dr. Marcus Lofverstrom. I am originally from Kerala, India, and I did my integrated BS-MS in Earth Sciences from IISER-Kolkata. After that, I did a one-year research project at the IIT-Delhi, where I analyzed all the IPCC reports and realized how alarming the current climate change trend is. I aspire to guide our planet through the current climate crisis. I just started my journey at UoA, and I will be assessing the future climate over South America from different climate model outputs. I love going for long walks, binge-watching tv shows, and am a big fan of TEA and RAIN- or the combination of both!!




Lydia Bailey

4th year PhD Student
Research area: geochemistry, geochronology, hydrology
Advisor: Pete Reiners

About Me

My research uses geochronology and geochemistry to study past subsurface fluid flow events, but I have broad geology interests including structural geology, sedimentology, economic geology. I can help with applying for graduate school in the United States and Europe, tips and tricks for poster and talk presentations, creating schedules to manage large workloads and a busy life, finding and contacting potential advisors (undergrad research, internships, or grad school), and building a CV or resume.




Aubrey Bennett

1st year MS student
Research area: planetary geology, seismology
Advisor: Rick Bennett

About Me

Hi y’all, my name is Aubrey Bennett and I am a first year graduate student originally from South of Atlanta, GA. I received my B.S. degree in Geology/Geophysics and Planetary Science from Purdue. My undergraduate research involved using MESSENGER data to identify surface features on Mercury. Currently, I am working with Rick on GPS deformation data as it relates to seismicity. Outside of class, I enjoy working out at the gym and trying all the food Tucson has to offer. A fun personal connection I have to Arizona is that my great-grandmother was a gamma phi beta here at U of A in the 1930’s.




Jenna Biegel (she/her)


1st year MS student

Research area: tectonics
Advisor: Barbara Carrapa & Mihai Ducea

About Me

I am a first year MSc student working with Drs. Barbara Carrapa and Mihai Ducea on Andean Cordilleran tectonics. For my undergraduate thesis at W&L University in Virginia, I interpreted the timing and mechanism of deformation along a low-grade deformation zone in the Blue Ridge. I also studied deformation kinematics of quartz and water resources in West Cameroon. I spent several years working as an environmental consultant and geologist at a Georgia (US)-based consultancy specializing in environmental litigation; I also had the opportunity to spend several months doing field geology through the company's Geology and Mining group. I love to hike, surf, climb, ferment different foods and beverages, and travel in my converted Sprinter Van.

Areas of Specialty

  • Graduate school applications and networking
  • CV, Resume, Cover letter
  • Job and internship applications
  • Career in Industry planning: the Professional Geologist (PG) and Geologist in Training (GIT) exams GSRM in academia and beyond




Emilie Bowman

3rd year PhD student
Research area: tectonic/magmatic processes
Advisor: Mihai Ducea

Read more about Emilie

About Me

I study magmatic processes at active plate boundaries. I did my undergraduate at UT-Austin, where I completed an honors research thesis project on the relationship between magmatism and ore formation. I also completed a Research Experience for Undergrads (REU) where I studied volcanics in Baja California. I then did my masters at MIT, where I studied the tectonic and magmatic processes that occur along the Red Sea ridge. For my PhD, I am working with Mihai Ducea and am currently studying the processes that contribute to crustal thickening in the central Andes. I also enjoy studying opera and musical theater and playing tennis.

Areas of Specialty

  • Balancing work and play/the student-athlete experience
  • Applying a chemistry background to geosciences
  • Understanding personal research interests and strengths
  • Non-academic job search
  • Graduate school application process
  • Professional poster/talk practice and abstract writing




Audrey Dunham (she/her)

5th year PhD student
Research area: geophysics, seismology, landslides
Advisor: Eric Kiser

About Me

I am a 5th year PhD Candidate studying seismology with Dr. Eric Kiser in the Global Seismology and Tectonics (GSAT) Lab. The focus of my research is modeling ground motions from large earthquakes to better understand the triggering and distribution of landslides. When I'm not working, I love to swim, hike, bike, and bake!




Cassie Hanagan

3rd year PhD student
Research area: geophysics, earthquakes
Advisor: Rick Bennett

About Me

I grew up in State College, Pennsylvania, a few miles away from Penn State where I graduated with a BS in Geoscience. I love (almost) all things outdoors, such as running, biking, climbing, etc. This was one of my main motivations to study the landscape I enjoy being in! I study the triggering of aftershock sequences, and other earthquake processes affecting the deformation we see at Earth's surface. I gravitate toward using geodetic methods, such as GPS and strainmeter analysis, to tackle these problems, but also incorporate geological and seismological information.




Tshering Zangmu Lama Sherpa (she/her)

2nd year PhD student
Research area: tectonics, geochronology
Advisor: Pete DeCelles

About Me

Growing up in the foothills of the Himalaya, I was naturally drawn to hiking and trekking. My love for the outdoors gradually transitioned into academic curiosity when I found geology as an undergraduate at Union College, NY. At Union, I was involved with paleoclimate research that involved geochemically analyzing lake sediments from Lake Junin, Peru. However as a graduate student, my interests have shifted from paleoclimate to tectonics. Currently, I am working on understanding the subtleties in metamorphic and cooling histories of rocks that comprise the Nepalese Himalaya. Outside of school, I like to hike, camp, cook and eat different types of cuisine.




Maya Prabhakar (she/they)

2nd year MS student
Research area: paleoceanography/paleoclimatology, geochemistry
Advisor: Kaustubh Thirumalai

About Me

Growing up, the only geology I saw was glacial debris in Central Park and whatever was in the glass cases in the museums, but I liked it enough to finish my BS at SUNY Buffalo. I spent a lot of time working in an organic stable isotope and biogeochemistry lab as an undergraduate student. My senior year, I started working with my current graduate advisor on Arctic cores, which brought me to my work in the paleoceanography lab here. I primarily use foraminiferal geochemistry to investigate the relationship between the surface ocean and the cryosphere in the Arctic. I also enjoy thinking about taxonomy and the diversity of shells within species. The shift from my geology degree to paleoceanography has brought my field work out to sea, which is pretty cool! In my free time I enjoy making costumes, watching horror movies, and hiking with friends.




Emily Rodríguez (she/her)

5th year PhD student
Research area: geophysics, seismology, tectonics
Advisor: Susan Beck

About Me

I am a first-generation Cuban-American and first-generation graduate student. I am originally from Tampa, FL. I completed a BSc and MSc in Geology at the University of Florida. At the UofA, I study seismology (earthquakes) which I use to create images of large tectonic structures (e.g., tectonic plates, terrane and crustal boundaries) in the interest of understanding large-scale processes like subduction and mountain building. I work primarily in South America and have done more than 2 months of field work in Ecuador and Chile during my time as a graduate student. As an undergraduate I worked full time in a museum and part time in research lab in my geology department. In my free time, I enjoy climbing and hiking.




Lisa Zieman (she/her)

5th year PhD student
Research area: petrology, geochemistry
Advisor: Mauricio Ibañez-Mejia

About Me

I research the chemistry of the solid Earth and evolution of our habitable continental crust. I completed my undergraduate degree in chemistry and geology at St. Lawrence University, NY, where I was a three-season athlete and began my geology research adventures on the ancient cratons of the Canadian tundra. After undergrad, I worked an internship with the US Forest Service and completed my master’s degree at the University of Rochester, NY. Currently for my PhD work, I focus on the petrology of the base of the crust in the Northern Volcanic Zone of the Andes. This involves field work, clean-lab chemistry, and playing with instruments. Other than rocks, I am passionate about running and being outside.

Areas of Specialty

  • Balancing work and play/the student-athlete experience
  • Applying a chemistry background to geosciences
  • Understanding personal research interests and strengths
  • Non-academic job search
  • Graduate school application process
  • Professional poster/talk practice and abstract writing