Geochemistry and Geochronology with Stephanie E. Suarez (#5)

We talk about being a first-generation college student, make-up, geological dating techniques, and Mars volcanism.

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Stephanie Suarez (tw: @geologiststephy) is a PhD student specialising in geochemistry and geochronology. Her research interests include chronology of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial materials. She earned her Bachelor of Science in General Geosciences from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017. As an undergraduate researcher, she determined ages of early land biotas to further understand the rate of land colonisation. She earned her Master of Science in Geology from the University of Houston in 2019, where she determined the crystallisation age of Tissint, the fifth witnessed Martian meteorite fall. She is continuing her studies at the University of Houston as a PhD student in Geology and NSF GRFP fellow. Currently, she conducts isotopic and petrologic analyses on Martian meteorites to better understand the nature and timing of magmatism on Mars.

As an undergrad, Stephanie developed improvements to geological dating techniques which lead to the discovery of the age of the oldest land breathing animal.

In our conversation, we talk about being a first-generation college student, make-up, geological dating techniques, and Mars volcanism.

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Show Notes

[00:48] What is geochronology?
[02:34] The questions that geochronology can answer.
[04:04] The accuracy and precision of dating materials.
[07:00] Getting retweeted by Chris Hadfield[1]
[07:39] What drew Stephanie to the field of geology.
[10:39] How minerology connects back to Stephanie’s experience with chemistry
[10:52] On developing the technique that helped to identify age of the 425-million-year-old millipede fossil from the Scottish island of Kerrera
[13:49] On being a first-generation college student.
[16:09] How Stephanie stayed focussed and motivated during tough times.
[17:36] Finding support at college.
[21:04] What learning about Mars volcanism teaches us.
[23:44] Stephanie’s PhD Mars research
[26:12] The volcanic plumbing of Mars
[27:32] The techniques used for dating materials from Mars
[29:54] On choosing to do a Masters before embarking on a PhD
[31:04] Bonus Question 1: What hobby or interest do you have that is most unrelated to your field of work?
[33:31] Bonus Question 2: Which childhood book holds the strongest memories for you?
[34:59] Bonus Question 3: What advice you would give someone who wants to do what you do? Or what advice should they ignore?
[37:11] Finding the ‘good people’ on your journey
[38:44] Reach out to Stephanie

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[1] Getting Tweeted, Instagrammed, and Tumbled by Chris Hadfield: