Earth Science Students Show Off Research

Tagline: Undergraduate and graduate students presented their research during the 7th annual Earth Science Colloquium on April 5-6

An enthusiastic group of students from MSU’s Earth Sciences Department showed off their research during the 7th annual Earth Science Colloquium on April 5-6.

The event began with a research poster display in SUB Ballroom D on Thursday afternoon. The atmosphere was laid-back as students, professors and community members, many with beers in hand, browsed the displays and engaged with student presenters.

Jeff Hedstron, a senior majoring in GIS/Planning, discussed his research project, which utilized his family’s ranch near Malta, Mont. “I looked at crop sustainability, identifying what land is suitable for wheat crops,” he explained. He hopes the project will assist new landowners in determining what soil composition is most effective for growing crops.


Tahuya Imai, a graduate student from Tokyo, Japan, displayed a project he worked on with friends and professors in Japan that focused on rebuilding their country after the Jan. 2011 tsunami. The tsunami swept away specimens from numerous museums along the coast, so Imai’s project group relocated many of these specimens and refurbished them to be displayed in museums once again.

Gary Michelfelder is a Ph.D student who coordinated this year’s colloquium. As he explained, the goal of the colloquium was to give students “practice for the real world but also show the community what kind of work the department is doing.”

He said the event was entirely organized by students, though experts were brought in to judge the projects and determine winners of the $100 prizes for the best posters and presentations.

Meghan Bulus, a GIS professional, was one of these judges. “I’ve been really impressed with the research,” she said, explaining that she appreciated the local aspect of many of the projects.

Best Poster awards were given to Hanna Susorney, Nick Atwood and Terra Spotts. Hedstron won the GIS Award, while Nate Carroll and Robyn Wooldrige were honored for their oral presentations.