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.  For theses prior to 2012, please contact the department.


Class of 2017
Sherifa Atwa Diversity in the Geosciences: An Investigation of Four-Year Institution Completion Rates by Gender and Race
Sarah Baker Historical erosion and accretion patterns along Plum Island Point and Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts
Connor Barto Pleistocene Crassostrea virginica population density and paleoclimate in Horry County, South Carolina
McNeill Bauer Factors regulating enhanced atmospheric deposition across high elevation thresholds
Genevieve Brei Provenance of Ferruginous Sandstone at Menokin on the Northern Neck, VA
Yingchi (Alicia) Cheng Argillic horizon development and its controls on radium redistributions in Coastal Plain, Virginia
Jennifer Connell Investigating salt marsh response to natural and anthropogenic changes in the Great Marsh, Massachusetts
Mary Donohue Geology of the James River State Park at the Blue Ridge/Piedmont boundary, central Virginia
Sean Driggers Structural and stratigraphic analysis of the basement-cover contact in the eastern Blue Ridge, Virginia
Erin Girven Evaluating possible high P and T amphibolites in the Goochland Terrane, VA
Kira Holmes The influence of impervious surface cover on groundwater residence time as measured with 22 Na
Jacqueline Huettenmoser 10Be erosion rates and rock properties at drainage margins: implications for bedrock weathering in the Blue Ridge, Virginia
Cecilia Hurtado Structural history of the Semail Ophiolite, Northern Jebel Nakhl Culmination, Oman
Maggie Irwin Marine and estuarine molluscan assemblage and sub-aquatic vegetation change in Florida Bay throughout the past millennium
Emily Meehan Investigating the Timing of Human Settlement on the Faroe Islands
Ashley Meredith The use of microbial induced calcite precipitation to reduce trace element concentrations in fly ash leachate
Kristen Merritt Size and Growth Rates of Pleistocene-aged Oysters near Mink Island (Horry County, South Carolina)
Meredith Meyer A sedimentary record of environmental change since 1720 from Lake Matoaka, Williamsburg, VA
David (Mac) Phillips Tree Throw in the College Woods of William and Mary: Sediment Transport, Rates, Event Frequency, and Controlling Variables
Jessica Raff Thresholds of barrier island change: a case study of Parramore Island, Virginia Eastern Shore
Camilla Renner A structural analysis of metavolcanic clasts from the Puddledock quarry in the Eastern Piedmont Province, VA
Zachary Sauter Geomagnetic analysis of the geometry of CAMP-related dikes in James River State Park, west central Piedmont, Virginia
Kassie Smith Reconstructing environmental history: Is there a lag between EPA regulations of leaded gasoline and lead concentrations in Lake Matoaka?
Patrick Sommer The effect of increased impervious cover on ground water residence time in Williamsburg, VA
Carmi Thompson Survey of molluscan fauna from the mid-Atlantic United States continental shelf
Hope Trisler Hillslope asymmetry in relation to microclimate in the College Woods in Williamsburg, VA
Joshua Zimmt Exploring the Calvert Cliffs: Interpreting the history of condensed sequences through the application of strontium isotope stratigraphy and paleoecology

Class of 2016
Carrie Adams Alluvial island formation in the James River, Piedmont province, Virginia
Michael Bekken Assessing models of landscape evolution using stream profile analysis, Shenandoah National Park
Kallie Brown Does shell chemistry differ among oysters from different rivers?
Nathaniel Chien Basin-average erosion rates and watershed hypsometry in a transient landscape
Tiff Choi Knickpoint migration and erosion rates:  determining transience in the central Blue Ridge, Virginia
John Christoph Spatial and temporal relationships among small shield volcanoes in Ceraunius Fossae, Mars
Vincent Cunningham A kinematic history of brittle deformation at the Blue Ridge-Piedmont boundary, Central Virginia
John Dearborn Mineralogy, geochemistry, and timing of Neoproterozoic mafic magmatism in the Roanoke Rapids Terrane, Piedmont province, Virginia
Daniel Dores First measurements of cosmogenic 24Na in rain and runoff samples in Williamsburg, Virginia
Sarah Flaherty Impact of weathering on bedrock channel geometry and channel response to base level change
Ryan Flesch Save your apatite!  A quantitative tool for analyzing magmatic volatiles
Claire Goydan Development of cosmogenic 22Na as a tool to measure young water age in multiple watersheds
Alexander Greene Stream capture: an analysis of the Chickahominy and the South Anna Rivers in central Virginia
Lindsey Guthrie Near & far: understanding  long-distance trade and interaction within the Society Islands through the application of energy dispersive x-ray fluorescence
Annabel Hess Coring the Crim Dell: a reconstruction of sedimentary history in Williamsburg, Virginia
Jack Hollingsworth Mineralogical and geochemical constraints on the origins of kyanite quartzite in the Kings Mountain Terrane, North Carolina and South Carolina
Nathan Keithline Paleomagnetic analysis of the Scottsville Mesozoic rift basin, VA: implications for regional geologic history
Jennie Latane Kinematic history of the North Anna gneiss dome in the Goochland Terrane, eastern Piedmont, Virginia
Karin Lehnigk The formation of fluvial valleys on Alba Mons, Mars
Brody Marino Seasonal and spatial variability in the sedimentology of the Merrimack, Massachusetts
Allison McCluskey Paleoecology of northeast Florida Bay, Everglades National Park, Florida: reconstruction of salinity and hydrology for the past ~2000 years
Cait McCormick Analysis of potential felsic volcanics in the Mechum River Formation, Blue Ridge, Virginia: implications for the Snowball Earth
Ben Olinger Bamboozled: phytolith production, introduced bamboo, and its relationship with soil pH
Reid Perkins A regional analysis of strike-slip fault morphologies on Europa
Tess Reardon A comparison of modern to ancient sand dunes, Virginia Coastal Plain
Nathan Ribyat Pseudotachylite in the Fork Church Fault Zone, eastern Piedmont, Virginia: a record of Mesozoic seismic activity
Justin Shawler Multi-proxy records of anthropogenic impacts on fluvial sediment discharge at Joppa Flats, Massachusetts
Sarah Springmann Changes in tornados along the eastern United States
Kaylin Stigall Measuring the impact of land use on sedimentation rates along the industrialized coastline of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Blair Stuhlmuller A self-efficacy intervention in Introductory Geology Labs
Paige Stuhlmuller Motivation, achievement and careers in Introductory Geology Labs
Lauren Thronson Cenozoic faulting in the eastern Piedmont, Virginia
Kat Turk Eigenshape analysis as a tool for family-level identification of nepomorphans from the Solite Lagerstatte (Triassic, Virginia)
Marissa von Nessi A kinematic and petrographic analysis of deformed rocks at the base of the Semail Ophiolite near Buwah, Oman
Ben Weinmann Deformation and magmatism in the Ivy Creek Natural Area, eastern Blue Ridge, Virginia
Hannah Whitworth Late Holocene benthic micropaleontology and reconstruction of past sea-level rise on the Potomac River, Virginia, USA

Class of 2015
Edward Abrahams Post-fire hillslope aspect controls on erosional processes traced by fallout radionuclides in Fourmile Canyon, Colorado
Alana Burton Testing a steady state model of 22Na transport in small watersheds for the purpose of dating young freshwaters
Heather Cameron Analog modeling of structural deformation
Brady Coleman Nitrate and phosphate removal in a biochar-amended denitrifying bioreactor
Charles Deaton Barrier island migration and its role in extensive marsh loss on Virginia's Eastern Shore
Megan Flansburg Priming for supereruption:  the hot pre-Peach Spring Tuff lavas and the Peach Spring Tuff magmatic enclaves, Black Mountains, Arizona
Haley Gannon Vicious cycles:  an analysis of cyclical erosion and a migrating erosional hotspot on Plum Island, MA
Mary Gillespie Characterization of seafloor sediment to inform electromagnetic induction imaging
Michelle Hoon-Starr Knickpoints and disequilibrium in an ancient orogen: a study of central Appalachian channel profiles around Crabtree Falls, Virginia
Anna Jay Biological aging of oyster shells from the York River (Virginia)
Mike Larson Mineralogy and geochemistry of clasts in the Potomac Formation, Coastal Plain, Virginia
Ciara Mills A petrologic and structural analysis of metavolcanic rocks in the western Piedmont and eastern Blue Ridge provinces, Central Virginia
Jannette Morris Evaluating landscape disequilibrium of the Blue Ridge in a passive margin near Peaks of Otter, Virginia
Owen Sitler Analysis of longitudinal profiles & knickpoints to determine the cause of high Appalachian relief
Matthew Sniff Quantifying and modeling mylonitization in the Hylas Fault Zone of Virginia
Anna Spears A petrographic and structural analysis of metasedimentary rocks on the boundary of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge provinces, Central VA
Elizabeth Stoeckle An investigation of landscape disequilibrium using channel profile analysis in the Blue Ridge of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia
Frank Tamakloe Clay mineral characterization: an exploration into the swelling tendencies of sodium montmorillonite as a function of salinity
Kelsey Watson Provencance of ballast stones used in early 17th century foundations at Jamestown, Virginia
Quan Yuan Mineralogy and geochemistry of the Skippers Pluton, Roanoke Rapids Terrane, Virginia

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 implication 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 sclerochronolgy, 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 Petrolgical 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 teh 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 garbensheifer 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 Follet 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 Reconstructiing 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