Department News!

Environmental Science student awarded 2016-17 Elsa von Muller

Leidecker Scholarshipmuratore-1

Congratulations to Thomas Muratore for being chosen by the Earth and Environmental Sciences Department as the as the 2016-17 recipient of the Elsa Von Muller Leidecker Scholarship.  This award is given annually to a rising senior Environmental Science major who has demonstrated excellence in academics, service, and research. Thomas’s research focuses on understanding the biogeochemical processes in wetland soils that control the distribution of a rare aquatic plant.  He has measured relative wetland elevation, constructed soil redox electrodes, and measured redox potential with these probes along transects in the wetland. These measurements give an idea of the rates of denitrification and other biogeochemical processes that would be occurring at sites where the rare aquatic plants live. Currently, Thomas is working on extracting the different forms of nitrogen from soil samples, measuring plant diversity in the wetland, and continuing to record redox potentials.

PhotographerLast year’s Leidecker scholarship awardee, Maura Slocum completed her Honors in Environmental Science project, with Dr. Melanie Szulczewski, on the ecological effects of acid mine drainage within a stream system in Louisa County, Virginia.  Maura, who graduated from UMW in 2016, is in the process of entering the Peace Corps and will be heading to Senegal in the near future.  Congratulations, Maura!



Welcome to our newest department member!Pam G_Photo

Pamela Grothe joined our department as a assistant professor of geology starting in the fall of 2017.  Grothe will teach Introductory Geology, Sedimentation and Stratigraphy, Oceanography, and a course on Earth’s climate history.  Grothe, who obtained her B.S. in geology at UMW, has a Master’s in geology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and is completing her Ph.D. at 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.  Welcome back to UMW, Pam!