Mikaela Pulsipher Wins American Geosciences Institute Award, in part due to her recent research
Mikaela Pulsipher, a doctoral student in geology at Mizzou, recently won a $5,000 American Geosciences Institute (AGI) award, and it all began with her childhood love for rocks.
The award is given to the “top applicants who most demonstrate a strong likelihood of successfully transitioning from graduate school into the geoscience workforce,” a recent press release from AGI stated. There were only two recipients nationwide: Pulsipher and Hannah Field from Ohio State University.
As Pulsipher, a first-generation college student, tells it, she began her geological interests as a young child. “My mom could tell you stories of us going camping as a family and her having to dump out an entire tub of rocks that I collected because there were so many rocks,” she laughs.
“There’s a different story for each rock -- no two rocks are exactly the same, so each has something important to tell you. I spend a lot of time in areas with a lot of rocks to look at. I appreciate the natural landscape.”
She says she was always interested in fossils, even as a teenager. “And my undergrad (school) had a really strong geology program. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I knew I loved rocks, so I was like ‘let’s just give this a try’ because I’m that passionate about (rocks). I wanted to see where I’d end up, and I ended up enjoying all the classes and the research I got to do.”
After undergrad school at Utah State University, she moved to Columbia, Missouri, to attend Mizzou for a MS in geological sciences. She graduated in 2020 and recently began her PhD program in geology, with a focus on paleontology and geochemistry. She has already published four peer-reviewed articles and a fifth currently in-press, participated in 10 abstracts and presentations, and received research funding from various organizations. She also has won more than 20 awards and scholarships, the most notable -- The recent Harriet Evelyn Wallace Scholarship from AGI and the Winifred Goldring Award from the Association of Women Geoscientists in 2019.