Exploring the Critical Zone

Through field studies, laboratory analysis, and modelling

Hi! My name is Rachel, and I am a 3rd year PhD student in geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working with Dr. Ken Ferrier and Dr. Michael Cardiff. I am equal parts hydrologist and geomorphologist, and much of my work and thought revolves around understanding the feedbacks between rock, water, and vegetation in the near surface-- particularly in relation to weathering, porosity development, and nutrient mobilization. In my work, I use a range of techniques including field study and sampling, laboratory analysis, and modelling to investigate the processes that characterize Earth's near surface.

When I'm not working, you might find me trail running with my pup, Piper, enjoying Wisconsin's state parks and bike trails, or playing trumpet!

Recent Work

Wisconsin River Basin

Currently, I am working on my Master's project, investigating the near-surface structure and geochemistry of steady state and dynamic drainage divides in Wyalusing State Park at the confluence of the Wisconsin and Mississippi Rivers. After a recent successful drilling campaign with the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, I am spending quality time in the lab collecting data on my cores! (Photo by Sally Stevens)

Rancho Venada, CA

During my undergraduate research under Dr. Daniella Rempe with the Rempe Hydrological Research Group (Jackson School of Geosciences , The University of Texas at Austin), I worked on 2 projects collecting and analyzing data from cores of the Great Valley Sequence from Rancho Venada and Antelope Valley Ranch in Northern California. My undergraduate thesis looks at the relationship between grain-size and chemical depletion in turbidite sequences, and you can read the larger paper I coauthored here. (Photo by Michelle Pedrazas)


AWG Camping at Wyalusing

Hosting our first event in almost 2 years

This year, I have the pleasure of serving as president for UW-Madison's chapter of the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG). Our chapter was founded in 2019, but has been inactive since March of 2020 due to the prevalence of Covid-19. We have officially ended our chapter's hiatus though, and we organized a camping trip that took place this past weekend at Wyalusing State Park! As you might be able to tell from the group picture, fall colors are just starting to appear in the Wisconsin River valley. I was able to guide and educate the group on geologic history of the area and even check up on my drill sites on the way out of the park. This trip was such a fun collision of passions!

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