William & Mary

Student Research

Anna Spears ('15) and Ciara Mills ('15) presenting a poster of their research at the 2015 Southeastern Section Geological Society of America Meeting. Many William & Mary Geology students present their research at professional meetings.
One of the strengths of the Geology program at the College of William & Mary is the requirement that students complete an independent research project during their senior year.  While all majors are required to complete a research project and submit a thesis, students who wish and meet the requirements may complete Honors theses upon the successful completion of a defense.  Check out recent student research featured in W&M News.

 Completed Honors projects are available through the Charles Center and theses submitted since 2014 are also available for download through Swem Library at W&M Publish.

The following students were engaged in senior research as part of the requirements for graduation.

Class of 2014
Samuel Adler Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Gneisses in the Vicinity of the Lucky Lake Gem Mine, Raleigh Terrane, Virginia
Emily Barnett Tracing Sources of Groundwater in the Shallow Aquifer at Jamestown and Implications for Heavy Metal Mobility
Hanna Bartram The Kinematics, Geometry, and History of the Thousand Lake Fault System, Central Utah
William Brightly Olfactory Ratio a Potential Proxy for Behavior in Theropoda
Patric Callahan Characterization and Origin of Carbonate Nodules at the Fossil Beach Outcrop of the Eastover Formation, York River State Park, Virginia
Parker Campbell Structural Analysis of the Bowen’s Creek Fault, Central Virginia Piedmont
Elizabeth Carter Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Possible Mantle Xenoliths in the Diana Mills Pluton, Central Piedmont, VA
Eric Dale Reconstructing Pleistocene Seasonality via Crassostrea virginica and Mercenaria mercenaria Sclerochronology, Holland Point, Virginia
Ariel Deutsch Investigating Water Ice in Persistently Shadowed Craters in Mercury’s North Polar Region
Zachariah Fleming Geology of the Rabbit Valley Salient:  Wayne County, Utah
Patrick Frier Structural Geometry and Kinematics of the Chatham Fault Zone, Virginia
David Godschalk Three-Dimensional Strain Analysis of the Antietam Formation in the Western Blue Ridge, Virginia
Phillip Goodling Tidal River Aquifer Salinity Communication and Its Implications for Drinking Water Quality in Jamestown, Virginia
Elysia Howe Utilizing the Paleobiology Database for Undergraduate Education
Joachim Katchinoff Exfoliation and Characterization of Montmorillonite Clay via Atomic Force Microscopy
Connor Kee Knickpoint Form and Migration Due to Base Level Lowering at Great Falls, VA
Jeffrey Knox Study of Oil-Mineral Interactions by Atomic Force Spectroscopy
 Erin Landis Is Oyster Shell Geochemistry Unique Among Tributary Basins of the Chesapeake Bay?
Augusta Maguire Strain Analysis of the Rockfish Conglomerate, Blue Ridge, Virginia
Aaron Marshall Petrological and Structural Analysis of Mafic Dikes in the Central Virginia Blue Ridge
Aaron Martinez Time-Averaging in Chesapeake Bay Mollusks:  Estimates Based on Amino Acid Racemization of Holocene Mulinia
 Brandon McCoy

Application of Gust Erosion Microcosm and LISST Instrumentation to Measure Erodibility and the Size Distribution of Suspended Sediments in the York River Estuary

Casey McGrath Kinematic Analysis and Strain Partitioning of a Mesoscale Fold of Quartz Arenite, Blue Ridge Province, Virginia
Angela Mullins The Effects of Climate Change On Epibiont Communities in the Neogene of Virginia
Shenandoah Raycroft Using Tree-Ring Derived PHDI Values to Reconstruct James River Salinity During the Jamestown Settlement
Elizabeth Saccoccia Linking Water Elevation and Salinity in the Pitch and Tar Swamp to the James River and the Shallow Jamestown Aquifer
Charles Shobe Spatially Variable Rock Erodibility Related to the Interaction Between Erosion Rate and Weathering in Bedrock-Floored River Channels, Great Falls Area, Virginia
Monica Stone An Assessment of the Frequency and Cause of Concentrated Flow on Agricultural Fields in the Virginia Coastal Plain Portion of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Eleanor Trott Thrust Faulting and Fault Sequence in the James River Gorge and Arnold Valley Region, Blue Ridge and Valley & Ridge Provinces, Virginia
Erika Wenrich Structural Geometry and Sediment Thickness in the Fish Lake Basin, Utah:  a 3-dimensional Analysis of Gravity Anomalies

Class of 2013
Samantha Bonanni Ages and Growth Rates of Crassostrea virginica from Pleistocene Reefs in the Mid-Atlantic
Kirkland Broadwell Comparative Climate Analysis of Virginia During the 20th & 21st Centuries
Patti Burton Detailed Sediment Composition of the Eastover, Calvert, Old Church and Piney Point Formations, New Kent County Area, Virginia Coastal Plain
 Katharine Celata The Effects of Urban vs . Rural Land Use on Cr Concentrations in the College Creek Watershed
 Maxwell Cunningham Characterizing Rock Erodibility and Channel Geometry Along the Longitudinal Profile of a Bedrock-Floored River
Lydia Cuker Characteristics of Ooids in the Middle to Late Cambrian Elbrook Formation, Virginia
Tyler DeCourt An  Evaluation of Possible Garbenschiefer in the Chopawamsic Terrane, Central Piedmont Province, Virginia
Zachary Foster-Baril Stratigraphy, Structural Geometry, and Deformation History of the Neoproterozoic Rockfish Conglomerate, Central Virginia Blue Ridge
Andrew Follett Shields Up: Can the “Mini Magnetosphere” of Mars Protect Astronauts from Radiation?
Sebastian Hancock A Structural Analysis of the Coles Hill Uranium Deposit in the Piedmont Province of Virginia
William Jaeger Analysis of Mesozoic Diabase Dikes in the Scottsville Basin
Thomas Alex Johnson Geology of the Catoctin Formation in the Eastern Blue Ridge, Central Virginia:  Petrogenesis and Tectonic Signature
Kristopher Kusnerik Reconstructing the Age and Paleoenvironment of a Crassostrea virginica Reef Deposit at Holland Point, Virginia
Nancy Lauer Developing Cosmogenic Sodium-22 as a Clock for Stream Water Age in Virginia’s Coastal Plain
Glencora Maccubbin Death at Jamestown 1607: A Geochemical Analysis of Arsenic, Iron and DOC in Drinking Water
Dominique Paxton Sediment Analysis, X-radiography and Acoustic Methods to Reveal Fine Scale Sediment Laminations in the York River Estuary
 Jacob Rosenthal Geology of the Midway Mills Mesozoic Basin and Mayo Creek, Virginia Piedmont
Stephan  Simmons Kinematic Analysis of Ductile Deformation in the Goochland Terrane, Virginia
Kyle Stark Troubled Waters:  The Hydrology at Jamestown, VA
Peter Steele Global Sediment Lifting of Martian Dust Devils
Sarah Young Utilizing GIS to Study Concentrated Flow from Agricultural Fields in the Virginia Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Class of 2012
Megan Ambrose The Kinematic History of Brittle Deformation in the Petersburg Granite, Richmond, Virginia area
Emma Caverly Ephemeral Organic Carbon Fluxes to the Chesapeake Bay from Agricultural Runoff on the Virginia Coastal Plain
Isaac Clark Flow and Density Driven Sediment Dynamics Shown by Dual Frequency Acoustic Sounder of the York River Estuary, Chesapeake Bay, Virginia
Stephen Dronfield Tracking Mineralogical Changes in Stream Sediment Composition in the Vicinity of Willis Mountain
Tess Engebretson Assessing Residence Time of Lead in Montane New England O Horizons
Mariam Fakhroo Strain Analysis on the Buffards Formation, Piedmont Province, Virginia
Lyndsey Funkhouser Using GIS to Quantify Riparian Buffer Bypassing in the Virginia Coastal Plain, Within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
Amanda Grant Investigation of Pleistocene Oyster Population Structure and Growth Rates in a Piankatank River Reef(Virginia)
Molly Hahn Structural Analysis of Brittle Deformation in the Eastern Blue Ridge, Central Virginia
John Hollis Brittle Deformation in the Hylas Zone, Eastern Piedmont, Virginia
Ben Huff Magnetic Anomalies in the Eastern Blue Ridge, Central Virginia: A Magnetic Interpretation of Subsurface Structure
Andrea Jensen Origin and Tectonic Significance of the Albemarle-Nelson Soapstone Belt and Associated Metagabbros in Central Virginia
Erin Kwon A Comparison of Task Value in Introductory Geology Courses and its Role in Student Performance & Retention
Ryan Love Morphometrics of Miocene Shark, Marine Mammal, and Reptile Teeth from the Calvert Formation, Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain, USA
Emily Orzechowski Meta-analysis of Extinction Selectivity in Fossil Marine Bivalves and Gastropods
Kevin Quinlan Structural Geology of the Scottsville Mesozoic Basin, Virginia
Dylan Reilly Predicting Flow and Measuring Fluxes in Buffer Bypassing Channels
Doug Rowland    Hydrologic and Geochemical Variables and Their Effect on Groundwater Quality at Jamestown Fort, Virginia
Christine Solon Sexual Dimorphism and Species Selection in Late Cretaceous Ostracodes from the U.S. Gulf Coastal Plain
Matt Sparacino Variability of Erodibility in Bedrock-floored Channels Produced by Differential Weathering

Class of 2011  
Caitlin Broznak  Studying Motivation and Academic Interest of Introductory Geology Students at the College of William and Mary
Christina Byrd  Taphonomy of Miocene Cetacean Vertebrae from Carmel Church Quarry, Virginia
Molly Cox  Kinematic and Temporal History of Brittle Deformation in the Blue Ridge Province, North Central Virginia
Grace Dawson  Restoring the Blue Ridge: Cross Section Construction, Central VA
Kathryn Hamilton  Evaluation of the Self-reported Study Habits of Introductory Geology Students at William and Mary Through the use of the Motivated Strategies for Learning
Christina Hancox  A Field, Mineralogical and Geochemical Investigation of the Maidens Gneiss near Amelia, VA
Isaac Hopkins  Nutrient and Sediment Loss from Agricultural Fields by Channel Bypassing of Riparian Buffers
Chelsea Jenkins  Dating Deformation: Thermochronology and Chemical and Mineralogical Changes in the Blue Ridge province, Virginia
Lauren Lamp  Using in situ Measurements to Assess the Variability of Weathering Across Bedrock-Floored Channels
Dawson Lindauere  Fracture Analysis in the Surface and Subsurface of Bradford County Pennsylvania
David Loss  An Investigation Into the Flow Accumulation Along Agricultural Field Margins Using Geographic Information Systems in Charles City County and King and Queen County, Virginia
Sean Moran  The Taphonomy, Paleoecology, and Depositional Environment of Vertebrate Microfossil Bonebeds from the Late Cretaceous Hell Creek Formation in Garfield County, Montana
Brad Peters  Mineralogical and Geochemical Constraints on the Origins of Ferruginous Quartzites in the Chopawamsic Terrane, Piedmont Province, Virginia
Robert Poirier  Late Quaternary Ostracode Assemblages:  A Paleoclimate/Paleoceanographic Reconstruction in the Central Arctic Ocean for the Last 50 ky
Joseph Quinn  Spatially Variable Surface Features and Mineralogical Alterations in Bedrock Channels Produced by Weathering
David Reed  Morphological Trends in Venericardia (Bivalvia: Carditidae) of the U.S. Coastal Plain in Relation to Early Cenozoic Global Climate Change
Judith Sclafani  A Morphological and Phylogenetic Examination of the Miocene and Pliocene Bivalve Genus Chesapecten
Matthew Scott  Strain Analysis of the Buffards Formation, Piedmont Province, Central Virginia
Clare Stankwitz Atmospheric Deposition of Mercury and Lead Contamination to Soils Across an Elevation Gradient in Vermont, USA

Class of 2010
Angela Cota Textural and Chemical Constraints on the Origins of Epidote in Granitic Pegmatites
Caitlin Dronfield  Mercury in Lake Matoaka: An Investigation of Contamination Sources and Pathways 
Guy Evans  Soil Erosion Timing and Total Erosion in Owens Valley, California: A Combined Isotope 137Cs and 210Pbex Approach 
Jonathan Garber  Using In Situ 10Be Soil Profiles to Date Fluvial Terraces of the South Fork, Shenandoah River, VA 
Kyle Grimsley  Longitudinal Profile Analysis of the Shenandoah River: Evidence for Disequilibrium? 
Steve Hess  Petrology of a Possible Trondhjemitic Pluton in the Roanoke Rapids Terrane, Virginia 
Drew Laskowski  3D Restoration of the Sugar Hollow Iapetan rift Basin using Strain and Vorticity Analysis, Blue Ridge, VA 
James McCulla  Kinematic History of Brittle Deformation in the  Petersburg Granite, Richmond, Virginia 
Brendan Murphy  Spatially Variable Erodibility in Bedrock Channels Produced by Weathering 
Donte Newbill  How Accurate is Your ADV: An Investigative Analysis on the Effect of Grain Size on Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter Backscatter 
Eric Newman  The Effective Entrapment of Contaminants in Riparian Buffers: A Question of Thickness 
Alex Olaya  Changes in Global Diversity and Geographic Distrubution of Venericardia Bivalvia in Association with Paleogene Climate Change  
Amy Rarig  Quantification of Biofouling Community Structure on Oyster Shell Exposed in the York River, Chesapeake Bay, USA 
Rachael Reeves  Discussion of Sediment Density Measurement by X-Radiography and Gamma Ray Attenuation 
AJ Saltz  Using Basin-Averaged Erosion Rates to Assess the Rate of Drainage Capture Along the Divide Between the New and Roanoke Rivers, SW Virginia  
Nick Schacht  The Influence of Bedrock Lithology on Sand Composition in the James River Watershed, VA Piedmont 
Ali Snell Constraining the Deformational Geometry of the Yavapai-Mazatzal Orogeny Using Three-Dimensional Strain Analysis in Proterozoic Vallecito Conglomerate, Needle Mountains, Southwestern Colorado 
Claire Still   The Relationship Between Sexual Dimorphism and Taxon Longevity in Fossil Ammonoids: A Role for Sexual Selection in Extinction 
Morgan Stumb  Using Cs-137 to Test the Effectiveness of Riparian Buffers in Tributaries of the James and York River Watersheds, VA 
Rob Varno   Sediment Analysis in Lake Matoaka: A Southeast Virginia Hypereutrophic Water Body  
Chris Yamoah  Examining Clasts from Multiple Outcrops of the Aquia Formation Near Richmond, VA  
John Zerolis  Mineralogy and Geochemistry of Metamorphosed Ultramafic Rocks in the Raleigh Terrane, Piedmont Province, Virginia 

Class of 2009

Trevor Buckley

Structural History and Geometry of the Northern Fish Lake Plateau, Central Utah

JoBeth Carbaugh

Cretaceous and Paleogene Sedimentary Units of the Northern Fish Lake Plateau, Central Utah

Max Christie

Ecological Interactions Across a Plio-Pleistocene Interval of Faunal Turnover: Naticid Cannibalism North and South of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

Kristin Dorfler

An Evaluation of the Areal Extent of Andalusite-Bearing Rocks, and the Timing of Low-Pressure Contact Metamorphism in the Hollister Shear Zone, Virginia

Morgan Gelinas

Benthic Regeneration as a  Source of Nutrients in the York River

Tessa Hanger

Geochemical Constraints on the Nature and Tectonic Setting of Metavolcanic Rocks in the Roanoke Rapids Terrane, Eastern Piedmont, Virginia

Deadre Henderson

A Study of the Relationship Between Shoreline Migration and Cross-shore and Alongshore Sediment Transfer

Sarah King

Geochemistry of the Arvonia Formation, VA: Implications for Source-Area Weathering, Tectonic Setting, and Provenance

Brian Knieser

A Field and Petrological Study of a Metagabbro Occurrence in the Chopawamsic Terrane, Piedmont Provence, Virginia

Graham Lederer

Geology and Structural History of the Blue Ridge Basement Complex, Albemarle County, Virginia

Benjamin Lewis

Controls on Suspended Sediment Particle Size in the York River Estuary

Melissa MacIntyre

A Comparison of Composition and Size Distribution of Clasts between the Yorktown
and Bacons Castle Formation Sediments, Richmond, Virginia

Kate McClure

Phylogenetic Relationships and Morphological Changes in Venericardia on the
 U.S. Gulf Coastal Plain During the Paleogene

Lydia Murray

The Effects of the Pitch and Tar Swamp on the Hydrogeology and Geochemistry
 of the Jamestown Aquifer

Karin Ohman

Shifts in Diversity, Geographic Range, and Body Size in Venericardia during
 the Paleogene of the Gulf Coastal Plain

Heather Pasley

Groundwater Hydrology and Contamination on Jamestown Island, VA: A Study of the Geochemistry and Microbiology of Groundwater

Todd Reyher

A Comparison of Clast Composition and Size Between Sediments of the Aquia and Potomac Formations

Ethan Theuerkauf

Alongshore Variations in Foreshore Morphology, Grain Size, and Wave Dissipation at a  Shoreline Erosional Hotspot

Rhyanne Wheat

Are Eastern Draining Streams in the  Blue Ridge of Virginia Underfit?

Jennifer Whitten

Bare Bedrock Summit Erosion Rates in the Central Appalachians, Virginia

Sofia Wicker

Changes and Evolution of the Guadiana Estuary, Iberian Peninsula:  Sediment
 Studies Since the Installment of the Alqueva Dam

Marley Bice

How Well do Tree-Rings Reflect the Phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation?

Class of 2008

Sam Bruno

Seasonal and spatial trends in biological versus physical influences on sediment setline velocity in the York River estuary

Nathan Burgess

Combining Field Data and Computer Modeling to Improve Designs for Two Wet Deention Ponds in James City County, VA

Ryan Bonnette

The Effects of Suburbanization and Stormwater Management in the Kensington Woods Subdivision

Stavros Calos

Suburbanization and Stormwater Management in New Town

Adam Gattuso

Tectonic Significance of the Late Neoproterozoic Swift Run Formation and Basement-Cover Unconformity in the Virginia Blue Ridge

Ari Hartmann

Newly Discovered Mesosoic Rift Basins in the Virginia Blue Ridge: Sedimentology, Provenance, Structure, and Tectonics

Paige Flanigan

The Wet Retention as a Stormwater Mitigation Technique: A theoretical and performance based comparison in James City County, VA

Portia Formento

An Evaluation of the Areal Extent and Significance of Kyanite- and K-feldspar-Bearing Metapelitic Rocks in the Maidens Gneiss, Goochland Terrane, Virginia

Friedrich Knuth

3-Dimensional Strain Analysis of Quartz Arenite in the Antietam Formation, Blue Ridge province, Virginia, USA

Carl Lang

Lithologic and structural control on the evolution of a knickzone on the James River, central Virginia Piedmont

Lauren Parker

Evidence for Knickzone Generation and Landscape Disequilibrium Throughout Surficial Studies of the James River, Central Virginia Piedmont

Nyssa Perryman

Obtaining an Extended Record of Hurricane Frequency in the North Atlantic

Charles Plummer

Searching for Tectonic Moments: Geochemical Tracers in Young Anatolian Basalts, Silvas, Turkey

Class of 2007

Jessica Ball

Geology and geochemistry of the Osiris trachyte, Fish Lake Plateau, Utah

Christopher Bowles

Structural Geometry and Deformation History of the Eastern Fish Lake Plateau, Utah

Leah Cheek

Geochemistry of the Raleigh Gneiss in the Peidmont Province of Southeastern Virginia; Implications for the Nature of the Protolith.

Claire Flannagan

The effect of sampling on the observed richness and evenness of molluscan assemblages in the Plio-Pleistocene shell beds of southwest Florida

Erin Fenlon

Qualifying the Morphology and Reconstructing the Phylogeny of Venericard Bivalves along the Gulf Coastal Plain during the Paleocene and Eocene

Phillip Gopon

Petrology of the Elk Hill Complex in the Central Piedmont Province, VA

Erik Haug

Surficial Geology of the UM Creek Drainage Basin, Fish Lake Plateau, Utah: Glaciation, Tectonics, and Mass Wasting

Marie Kurz

Landscape Knickzones in the Virginia Piedmont: Evaluating Landscape Disequilibrium Through GIS-Based Morphometric Analysis

Meghan Lamoreaux

The Neoproterozoic-Phanerozoic Transition in the Western Blue Ridge Province, Southern Shenandoah National Park, Virginia

Katherine Luciano

Investigation Into the Relationship Between Morphology and Tidal Flux In Ditched and Non-Ditched Salt Marsh Creek Systems, Rowley, Massachusetts

Joseph Olney

The distribution and kinematics of high-strain zones in northwestern Albemarle County, central Virginia Blue Ridge

Matthew Oreska

Paleoecology of the Cloverly Formation (Lower Cretaceous) Vertebrate Fauna from Microvertebrate Sites in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming

Ammie Pascua

More Complex than Plain: An Investigation of the Relationship Between Pleistocene Allostratigraphic Formations to Morphology of the Virginia Costal Plain in the Vicinity of York River State Park

Emily Robinson

Ecological Effects Of Miocene-Pliocene Cooling On Mollusks From The Eastover and Yorktown Formations of Southeastern Virginia

Laura Robertson

Impacts of Channel Incision on Water Table Elevation and Chemistry: Upper Chisel Run, James City County, VA

Bethany Stackhouse

Distribution and Sub-bottom Features of Oyster Deposits in the York River, Virginia and the Rate of Degradation of Oyster Shell

Hallie Street

Description and phylogenetic analysis of cryptocleidoid plesiosaurs based on new material of Tatenectes laramiensis from the Sundance Formation (Wyoming, USA)

Shelbi Wilson

Geochemical Constraints on the Origin of Chloritoid-bearing Kyanite Quartzite at Hagers Mountain, North Carolina and Comparisons with Virginia Occurrences

Class of 2006

Laura Buchanan

Kinematic and Strain Analysis of Mylonites from the Suizo Mountains, Santa Catalina Metamorphic Core Complex, Arizona.

Tim Dickson

Structural History of Cedarless Flat, Fish Lake Plateau, Utah.

Robert (Joe) Fuscaldo

Fracture Analysis and Slope Stability in Southern Shenandoah National Park, Virginia.

Emily Gercke

Relationships among Weather, Glacial Ablation, and Fluvial Processes, Svalbard, Norway.

Matthew Gibbons

Are Kyanite Quartzites in the central Virginia Piedmont part of the Arvonia Formation? A Mineralogical Test.

Michael Grenz

Effectiveness of a Detention Pond in James City County, VA

Natasha Hunter

Can We Measure the Effects of Human Disturbance on Mollusk Communities from the Chesapeake Bay?

Robert Jacobsen

Retention Deficit Disorder? Effectiveness of Retention Ponds in the Management of Stormwater Runoff: A Case Study in Williamsburg/James City County, VA.

Colleen Kayser

Geometry and Kinematics of the Harris Cove Fault near Naked Creek, Page County, Virginia.

Sarah Kolbe

Morphological Variability, Body Size, and Survivorship in Veneroid Bivalves During the Plio-Pleistocene Extinction in Florida.

Keith Moodhe

Waipaoa River: Chemical and physical analysis of an active margin river.

Owen Nichols

Mapping and Interpreting the Swift Run Formation and the Great Unconformity

Holly Packard

Heavy Metal Concentrations in Sediments of Developed and Undeveloped Watersheds, Williamsburg, VA.

Zack Pennington

Abundance as a Factor in Background Extinction: Bivalves from the Choptank Formation (Miocene) of Maryland.

Eric Tadlock

Structural Geology of the Western Blue Ridge in Central Virginia: Blue Ridge Fault, Myth or Reality?

Brian Wachter

Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Retention Basin in Williamsburg/James City County.

Will Weaver

Surficial Mapping and Helium-3 Dating of Glacial Deposits at Fish Lake, Utah.