Emma C. Reeves 1
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I first realized my excitement for physics during an Algebra-based College Physics course I took my junior year in high school. I recall watching Dr. Brian Greene in NOVA’s mini- series, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, and feeling that his field was more profound than anything field of study I knew. Seeing Dr. Greene on the NOVA video, especially after having just read his book The Elegant Universe, confirmed to me that profound science is worth a lifetime of work. This was when I decided to study physics in college, and within the following year had been offered a scholarship to study physics at Hamline University.

Over the past four years, I have explored outlets for my interest in the physical sciences at Hamline and in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Exploring outside my primary institution, I was introduced to geology after a year and half of physics study. I saw great potential for a relationship between the two disciplines. Upon undergraduate graduation, I will have completed coursework in physics, geology, and mathematics, three summer research internships and additional involvement in the physics and geology academic spheres. After these experiences, I have decided to take my interest to the next level by attending graduate school.

My past experience includes two formal internships as well as a lab assistant job. The first internship, conducted through Hamline University, was centered on learning C++ programming and applying the concept of Monte Carlo Simulations. This early experience improved my knowledge of computational tools used in science. I learned how to develop a project and conduct experiments, interpret my results, and present those findings to the scientists at my school.

After contacting instructors at the nearby research university, the University of Minnesota, I worked part-time as the lab assistant in the geochemistry and radiometric-dating lab. This job taught me the general procedure for U-Th dating of carbonates and how to prepare carbonate powder samples from rocks. It also demonstrated the significance of quaternary research, the usefulness of various dating methods, and introduced me to scientists from around the world including China and Brazil.

Following this position, I interned with the Hamline University Physics Department in starting up a new research project with Dr. Kevin Stanley. We were able to create an environment suitable to conduct cold field emission. We obtained preliminary emission current data on a double-tipped metal emitter and, upon observing incongruence between our theoretical and experimental current densities, researched a more physically correct mathematical model to predict current density and characterize tip emitting surface area. This research was presented orally at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in 2013 in Lacrosse, Wisconsin.

In addition to these research experiences, I have attended the annual Women in Physics (WIP) Conference for Undergraduates at Purdue University in 2011 and the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting 2013. At these meetings, I was exposed to graduate and professional level research through science presentations in physics and computational methods of structural geology. I am a member of the American Physical Society (APS), the Geological Society of America (GSA), and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers-Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society (IEEE, GRSS), and am the current Treasurer for Hamline University's Society of Physics Students (SPS) branch. I attend weekly practices with the unofficial Hamline mathematics club, participate in educational field trips and presentations through the Macalester Geology Club, and enjoy the outdoors through Hamline Outdoor Recreation Club (HORC) events.

This summer, I am experiencing the profound impact of geophysics research firsthand while studying the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream (NEGIS) though the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) Summer Intern program. Using a package written for Matlab, I am picking isochronologic layers from radar data of NEGIS. NEGIS widens geographically toward its mouth, an uncharacteristic ice stream feature. However, the stream has had a relatively stable mass flux over the past two decades of available data. By quantifying the rate of influx across stream margins, we hope to give insight into the stream’s unusual nature and an indication of the future for the Greenland Ice Sheet. I hope to continue this research into my final year of undergraduate studies.

There are many directions to approach geophysics research at a graduate level. My personal interests are in the study of fluids, climate, and environmental seismology. Upon completion of my undergraduate Bachelor of Science degrees in geology and physics from Hamline University, I plan to attend graduate school to obtain a Doctor of Philosophy in geophysics while conducting research.