Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 8, 2000
TECH PALEONTOLOGIST TO LEAD SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
EXPEDITION THIS SUMMER
Dr. Julia Sankey, Haslem Postdoctoral Fellow with the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology’s Museum of Geology, will be leading one of nine research projects as part of the Earthwatch Institute’s Student Challenge Awards Program ( SCAP) this summer. Through the Awards Program, 70 high school students will work directly with scientists whose ideas and use of new technologies are driving forward our understanding of the natural world. This unique program, developed by the Maynard, MA based Earthwatch Institute, is funded by The Durfee Foundation of Santa Monica, CA. The program aims to excite the imagination and expand the potential of talented students, and to stimulate these future leaders' curiosity about science and technology.
Dee Robbins, Director of the Student Challenge Awards Program, comments “ Lessons learned through this research program go beyond textbook knowledge and the scientific method that students get in high school. Students learn the importance of creativity, imagination, and curiosity in science. We want students to see how their own life experience, skills, and perspective can be useful to scientists, and how scientific research and thinking can impact society and one’s own life.”
This summer, teams of six to eight award winners will spend up to three weeks working on one of nine research projects. Dr. Sankey will be leading one of these expeditions entitled, Dinosaurs and other Cretaceous Wildlife of Big Bend National Park. The trip will take place from July 28 – August 15 at Big Bend National Park, Texas.
The main research objective of Dr. Sankey’s SCAP team is to find and recover microvertebrate sites from the Aguja Formation in Big Bend National Park. This is significant work because only three microvertebrate assemblages have been recovered and studied from that area, compared to hundreds from the better- studied northern formations in Alberta and Montana, for example. The students will be trained to help with all aspects of this work from the field to the lab. As a side project the team will help inventory and study the ecology of ants in the National Park.
Earthwatch Institute is a nonprofit volunteer organization founded in 1971 which sponsors scientific field research worldwide. This year some 4,000 volunteers from 46 countries will help university scientists with their fieldwork on expeditions in 23 states and 51 countries. For more information, explore the Earthwatch website at www. earthwatch. org.
To learn more about Dr. Sankey’s research expedition to Big Bend National Park, contact Dr. Sankey at 605.394.2469, or visit her website at
http:// www. hpcnet. org/ sdsmt/ personnel/ jsankey.
( I: univrel/ pressrel/ 0500 Julia Sankey, Earthwatch fxd stwd)
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