Six EAS Students Recognized for Research and Presentation Excellence at 2022 Sheriff Lecture

Annual EAS-Houston Geological Society (HGS) Event, Including Student Poster Session, Held In-Person

Six University of Houston Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences students were recognized for research and presentation excellence by a panel of volunteer judges from EAS and the Houston oil and environmental industry. The Robert E. Sheriff Lecture was held on November 14, 2022, from 5:30-9 p.m., as a fully in-person reception attended by 64 participants, including 19 students and 16 faculty.

Poster Session
Open student poster session at the Norris Conference Center.

The organizing committee for the 2022 Sheriff event included Drs. Regina Capuano (chair), Daniel Hauptvogel, Paul Mann, Steve Naruk, and Jiajia Sun. Technical support was provided by Ngozi Onwuama of the UH College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Organizers from Houston Geological Society included Andrea Peoples and Alyssa Cushing.

The EAS student poster submissions displayed at Norris Conference Center were accompanied by five-minute-long PowerPoint presentation videos prepared by the presenters. There are also available for online viewing.

The presentations were judged by weighted scores where 60% of their score came from designated judges who reviewed the online presentations before the event and 40% of the score came from open voting by all event attendees. The submitted posters were grouped into two judging categories: 9 posters in the ‘Advanced Ph.D.’ category and 8 posters in the ‘B.S./M.S./Early Ph.D.’ category. There were 224 total page views of the virtual presentations this year.

Yuxuan Wang
Dr. Yuxuan Wang, Sheriff Lecturer

Dr. Tom Lapen, chair of the EAS department, introduced the event by summarizing the accomplishments of the department over the past year. The Sheriff Lecture featured Dr. Yuxuan Wang, an associate professor of atmospheric chemistry in the EAS department at UH, who presented a lecture entitled "Connecting the Dots: Climate Change and Air Pollution.” Her presentation was followed by a lively Q&A session.

Results of the Sheriff EAS Student Poster Competition

EAS Student Awardees
EAS Student Awardees and Department Chair (from left to right): Michael Comas (Advanced Ph.D.), Sharmila Appini (Advanced Ph.D.), Tom Lapen (Department Chair), Steven Ramirez (B.S.), Julia Villafranca (M.S.), Sara Rojas (Early Ph.D.), and Daniella Gutierrez Easley (Advanced Ph.D.).

Advanced Ph.D. Category

First Place (Prize: $600)
Daniella Gutierrez Easley, “Evaluation of the tectonic, paleogeographic, and global isotopic excursions on organic deposition and preservation in Trinidad and Guyana: An application of expellable potential modeling.”

Second Place (Prize: $400)
Michael Comas, “Sedimentary Record of Recent Retreat of Pine Island Glacier, Amundsen Sea, Antarctica.”

Third Place (Prize: $250)
Sharmila Appini, “Investigating seismic anisotropy in subduction slabs based on shear wave splitting patterns.”

B.S. / M.S. / Early Ph.D. Category

First Place (Prize: $500)
Sara Rojas (Early Ph.D.), “Evaluating the Impact of Hurricane Harvey on the Upper Texas Coast: Using Airborne Lidar Data Sets with UAV-derived Topographic Data to Monitor Change and Track Recovery.”

Second Place (Prize: $300)
Steven Ramirez (B.S.), “Quantifying plate tectonic control on subduction zone earthquakes.”

Third Place (Prize: $200)
Julia Villafranca (M.S.), “Sediment deposition as a function of Antarctic glacial retreat: a spatial analysis using sub-bottom profiles.”

Thank You to the Volunteer Judges

The organizers and student presenters would like to thank the following volunteer judges of the student poster session for sharing their time and expertise.

From the EAS Faculty:
Brandee Carlson, Julia Wellner, Shan Zhou, and Prerna Singh.

From the Houston-Area Geosciences Community:
Mark Richardson (Exxon, retired), Soumia Alem (Schlumberger), Bryan Ott (Hess, UH Alum), Carolina Mejia (ResPhys, UH Alum), Zheng Huang (Hess, UH Alum), Shawn Wright (Hess, UH Alum), and Anna Krylova (Microseismic, UH Alum).