Neil E. Tibert (1966 – 2015)Tibert1

Our colleague and good friend Neil Tibert passed away in December after a brief illness.  Neil’s wit and intelligence provided a spark to our department and the entire UMW community.  Neil was truly one of a kind and irreplaceable.

A newly described Cretaceous fossil turtle was recently named Paiutemys tibert, by Walter Joyce, Tyler Lyson, and James Kirkland, “in recognition of the late Neil E. Tibert, who was instrumental in establishing the stratigraphy of mid-Cretaceous beds in the type locality of the new taxon.”  See the article at https://peerj.com/articles/2502/.




Michael L. Bass

Professor of Environmental Science and  Biology

438 Jepson Science Center
Phone: (540) 654-1424

Ph.D. – Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

Bass’ areas of interest include the study of the physiological effects of pollutants on aquatic invertebrates, especially the interaction of temperature and toxicity. He is also actively monitoring the macrobenthic and periphyton community structure in freshwater streams that are impacted by non-point source pollution. Additional research concerns the effectiveness of riparian forested buffers in preventing nutrient, sediment and pesticide loading from agriculture run-off in streams.

Courses: Introduction to Environmental Science, Aquatic Ecology, Environmental Science Seminar, Environmental Physiology


Pamela GrothePam G_Photo

Assistant Professor of Geology

439 Jepson Science Center


Ph.D. – Georgia Tech University

Assistant professor Pamela Grothe joined our department in 2017.  Dr. Grothe, who obtained her B.S. in geology at UMW, has a Master’s in geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder a a Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology, with a minor in higher education.  Her current research involves a study of the central Pacific climate and ENSO variability over the past 6000 years.

Courses: Introductory Geology, Sedimentation and Stratigraphy, Oceanography, Icehouse-Greenhouse Earth


Jodie L. HayobHayob SEM cropped

Professor of Geology and Department Chair

441 Jepson Science Center
Phone: (540) 654-1425

M.S., Ph.D. – University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Hayob’s research interests include igneous and metamorphic petrology, mineralogy, and geochemistry (thermodynamics and phase equilibria). More specifically, she has conducted research on the metamorphism of rocks from the lower crust of central Mexico, the origin and development of microtextures in feldspar minerals, and the metamorphism of Piedmont rocks near Fredericksburg.

Hayob has also conducted high temperature, high pressure experiments with the piston cylinder apparatus at the U.S.Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California. Much of her research has been collaborative with scientists from the U.S.G.S., University of Arizona, and University of South Florida. Most of Hayob’s field work has been done in Canada and Mexico, and more recently in the Appalachians of Virginia.

Courses: Introductory Geology, Evolution of the Earth, Mineralogy, Petrology



Ben Odhiambo KisilaElyse Clark

Associate Professor of Geology and Environmental Science

440 Jepson Science Center
Phone: (540) 654-1107

Ph.D. – University of Arkansas

Kisila is interested in the behavior of contaminants and nutrients in the context of natural aquatic systems; using tools such as hydrochemical water analysis, transient and steady state tracers, particle fluxes and sedimentation rates, multivariate statistics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Of particular interest are analyses of surface water site-specific contaminant sources as well as broader contaminant issues associated with long-range atmospheric transport; eutrophication of lakes and reservoirs associated with fluxes of nutrients and increase of productivity in surface waters; watershed geomorphological analysis; use of geophysical methods in sedimentation research such as multifrequency echo-sounding systems to estimate sedimentation rates, sediment thicknesses and stratigraphical sequences in lakes and reservoirs; using isotopes in estimating sediment fluxes and sediment fingerprinting (natural versus anthropogenic); ground water quality and contamination; and the interaction between surface and ground waters, i.e., using major ions and stable isotopes in establishing mixing trends and contamination.

Present research focus includes the following:

1. Bathymetry, geology, sedimentation, and geochemistry of lakes and reservoirs

2. Watershed changes and analysis: impact on water quality in streams, lakes and reservoirs

3. The impacts of dam removals

4. Isotopic analysis of vegetation evolution as a function of both climatic change and human activities.

Courses: Introductory Geology, Evolution of the Earth, Environmental Soil Science, Fluvial Geomorphology


Sarah Morealli

Lecturer in GeologyMorealli field cropped

300 Jepson Science Center
Phone: (540) 654-1402

M.S. University of Pittsburgh

Morelli’s recent research has focused on the formation of breccias and their role in groundwater flow in the Oasis Valley Region of Southwestern Nevada.   Since groundwater in the Oasis Valley region flows from Pahute Mesa (where hundreds of underground nuclear bombs were detonated), it is important to understand how the local geology effects the flow of this (possibly contaminated) groundwater. Additionally, breccias related to faulting may provide an expressway, were water can flow quickly from one area to another. The large volume of  breccias mapped in Oasis Valley were formed during the Miocene when several intense, extensional “pulses” stretched the crust.  My research described and discussed the formation of these breccias, specifically if they were structurally related (directly produced by faulting) and if they could provide a fast-track pathway for the flow of groundwater.

Courses: Introductory Geology, Evolution of the Earth


Melanie SzulczewskiMelanie S

Associate Professor of Environmental Science

438 Jepson Science Center
Phone: (540) 654-2345

M.S., Ph.D. University of Wisconsin – Madison


Szulczewski (pronounced “Scholl-chess-ski”) has investigated contaminated and degraded soils in the mid-West, the Everglades and southern Florida, and the Sahel region of Africa, Poland, and the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  Szulczewski’s research interests include studying soils and streams contaminated with heavy metals, as well as environments degraded due to excessive nutrients (nitrogen or phosphorus), desertification, and other forms of human interference. With experience in international and local extension work, Szulczewski also examines the effects of human behavior on the environment, both as  a cause and potential solution, through sustainability projects and initiatives.

Courses: Introduction to Environmental Science, First-year Seminar, Global Environmental Problems, Pollution Prevention Planning, Environmental Geochemistry, Environmental Regulations Compliance, Environmental Exploration


Charles E. Whipkey

Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Geology

Whipkey Contrary Creek

432 Jepson Science Center
Phone: (540) 654-1428

Ph.D. – University of Pittsburgh

The primary focus of Whipkey’s recent research has been the impacts of pollutants on natural water systems, including acid mine drainage and the sources of PCBs to lake water sediments.  He has also worked on the geochemistry and isotope geology of carbonate minerals and has carried out research on clastic sedimentary rocks in central Pennsylvania and in Paleocene and Eocene strata of the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana. Prior to completing his Ph.D., Whipkey spent six years as a hydrogeologist with several environmental consulting firms, where work on military bases, chemical plants, and other facilities taught him a great deal about the practical as well as technical aspects of the field.

Courses: Hydrogeology, Energy Resources and Technology, Field Methods in Environmental Science and Geology, First-year Seminar, Environmental Exploration


woodwell with camera cropped

Grant R. Woodwell

Professor of Geology

407 Jepson Science Center
Phone: (540) 654-1427

M.Phil., Ph.D. – Yale University

Woodwell has engaged in field work in the Canadian and American Rocky Mountains, the Appalachians and the Spanish and French Pyrenees. Prior to his appointment at Mary Washington College, Woodwell was a researcher at London University studying hydrocarbon migration in northern Spain in cooperation with Hispanoil petroleum company. While still at Yale University Woodwell did postdoctoral research into the subject of nuclear waste disposal for the Oakridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Woodwell’s research interests encompass structural geology and stable isotope geochemistry. Specific research has included studying the sources, composition and movement of fluids in the Earth’s crust, the effect of fluids on rock deformation and faulting, and understanding microscale deformation mechanisms and their associated rock fabrics. He has also been active in using computers to display spatial data and multidimensional geophysical data sets.

Courses: Computer Methods in Environmental Science and Geology, Structural Geology, Plate Tectonics


Robert L. McConnell

Professor Emeritus of Geology


Ph.D. – University of California, Santa Barbara

McConnell’s interests include the impact of population growth and development on the severity of geological hazards; specifically the development’s role in flash flood hazards of Northern Virginia. Recently, McConnell’s research also involves quantifying institutional barriers to sustainable development and the impact of externalities and subsidies on energy and transportation sectors of the U.S. economy.