Meet the Team
We are a student-lead team of geoscientists, engineers, and policy experts with a shared passion for solving climate issues.
Steven Adams is a veteran, first-generation college student, and PhD candidate at the University of Oklahoma working with Dr. Lynn Soreghan in the School of Geosciences. He currently studies the formation of dust-sized sediment particles by conducting experiments to replicate natural erosional processes, using devices he designed and built to replicate glacial grinding of rocks into dust and erosion of sand migrating in deserts. He has additional interests in planetary geology, geoscience education, and the application of geology to advance human efforts in sustainable development. Originally from Evansville, Indiana, after high school he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He served in an AV-8B Harrier II squadron maintaining tool accountability and as an Embassy Guard in Paraguay, Australia, and Rwanda, while attending classes online at American Military University. After being honorably discharged he continued school while living abroad in Namibia. Eventually he returned to the United States, where he received a BS in Geology from Indiana University and an MS in Geology from the University of Oklahoma.
Zara Ahmed is a highly experienced public health strategist and advisor currently working on the COVID-19 response. Previously she was the Guttmacher Institute’s Associate Director of Federal Issues, a role in which she coordinated the Institute’s advocacy agenda at the federal level and developed strategies to advance sexual and reproductive health for both global and domestic programs. Before joining Guttmacher, Dr. Ahmed spent nearly 10 years with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including seven years based overseas in Rwanda, Namibia and Haiti as a senior technical advisor, and three years as the Associate Director for Policy and Communications in the Division of Global Health Protection at CDC headquarters in Atlanta. Prior to her time with CDC, she worked as a sexual health counselor at an alternative high school in Michigan and as a consultant in Bangladesh on the labor rights of migrant women. Dr. Ahmed has also conducted field research on sex worker rights in Cambodia, health financing in rural Cameroon and donor coordination of malaria programs in Senegal. She holds a BA in political science from Brown University, MPP and MPH degrees from the University of Michigan, and a DrPH from the University of North Carolina, where she is also an adjunct instructor.
Dr. Lily Pfeifer is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the School of Geosciences, University of Oklahoma. Working with Dr. Lynn Soreghan, she applies tools in sedimentology, geochronology, and geochemistry to address questions about carbon cycling in ancient climate systems (~300 million years ago) which mirror today’s world in its global transition out of icehouse conditions. Originally from Connecticut, she holds a BS in Geology from Bucknell University and an MS & PhD in Geology from the University of Oklahoma. Between graduate degrees, she spent a year working as a data analyst for an investment company, and three years gaining industry perspective as a petroleum geologist in Houston, TX including projects in international exploration (subsurface mapping & reservoir characterization) and development (planning and implementation of horizontal wells in the Permian Basin, West TX). She has additional interests in conservation (of land and native species, particularly in the vast grasslands of the U.S.), climate & geoscience science education (K-12+), and the application of earth systems science to solve society’s imminent issues with regards to a human-induced and rapid warming in the Anthropocene.
Alicia Bonar is a geology PhD candidate, working with Dr. Lynn Soreghan, in the School of Geosciences at the University of Oklahoma. She utilizes both field and lab-based studies to evaluate the climatic and tectonic histories preserved in sedimentary basins through applied sedimentology, stratigraphy, sedimentary petrology, geochronology, and organic/inorganic geochemistry. Her current research projects include silt generation in modern soils, the effects of dust on marine productivity and organic carbon preservation in deep and modern time, as well as the documentation of loess (windblown silt) deposits and their connection to climate in the Neoproterozoic. Her other professional interests include geoscience education and mentorship, as well as potential geoengineering solutions for anthropogenic climate change. She has a BS degree in geology from West Virginia University and a MS degree in geology from New Mexico State University. In 2019, she took a break from her PhD studies to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an Environmental Specialist in Oklahoma City, OK where she evaluated federally-funded projects for environmental and historic compliance under NEPA and NHPA review.
Nina Webb is a Laboratory Technician at Impossible Sensing in St. Louis, Missouri where she works on a variety of projects focused on developing small, portable spectrometers (LIBS, Raman, etc.) for use in extreme environments, such as outer space and the deep ocean. Her current work consists of experimental design, general assembly of mechanical and optical components, and instrument testing and verification. She was a previous graduate student at the University of Oklahoma with Dr. Megan Elwood Madden where she earned her MS in geology. Her experience in geochemistry included utilizing Raman spectroscopy to analyze dissolution experiments to learn how brines and minerals interact to extend our knowledge to other planetary bodies, such as Mars. Additional research includes examining the effects of climate on chemical weathering values in fluvial sediments collected in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and mass wasting events. Development and understanding of water and near-surface processes associated with climate change can expand our knowledge for future potential impacts both on Earth and Mars.
Cansu is a PhD candidate, working with Dr. Megan Elwood Madden at the University of Oklahoma, and specializes in geomicrobiological processes (soil formation, surface alteration, biomineralization, etc.) and biosignature potential of Early earth and Mars-analog extreme environments including acid-sulfate, hyper-saline and hyper-alkaline aquatic systems, as well as proglacial settings. She earned her BSc and MSc at Istanbul Technical University (ITU), majoring geological engineering, on soil slope stability and microbial influences and secondary Fe-oxyhydroxide precipitation in acid mine drainage, respectively. Then she started her PhD at ITU researching carbonate biomineralization in hyper-saline lakes and biogenic stromatolite formation in hyper-alkaline lakes, in addition to side projects such as lake water monitoring at Lake Iznik (Turkey) as a part of critical zone observation. After transferring her PhD at OU, she now focusses on linking chemical, mineralogical (composition, texture) and physical (grain size, surface area) characteristics of glacial sediments from Mars-analog settings (Antarctica, Iceland and Norway) to their depositional environment, climatic regime and soil forming processes; therefore, determining inorganic tracers of aquatic surface alteration.
Andrew Oordt, is a SUE Phase manager within the Subsurface Utility Engineering Department at Surveying and Mapping, (SAM) LLC. He has two years of experience managing subsurface utility engineering projects for a variety of industries. His responsibilities include scoping, budgeting, coordinating field efforts, data collection oversight, data post processing, as well as quality assurance and quality control. Andrew also serves as an officer of engineers in the U.S. Army Reserve. He commissioned in 2016 and served with the 401st Multi-Role Bridge Company Mustang, OK with whom he deployed to Iraq to train an element of the Iraqi Army in military bridging operations. Following this he served as the commander of the 451st area clearance detachment located in Dallas, TX and currently serves as the Battalion signals officer the 980th Engineer BN out of Austin, TX. Originally from Texas, Andrew holds a B.S in Geology from Texas A&M a M.S. in Geology from the University of Oklahoma where he studied deep-time paleoclimates under Dr. Lynn Soreghan.
James Epperson is an undergraduate student at the University of Oklahoma, majoring in environmental engineering. His passion for environmental issues has influenced his desire to pursue a career in environmental remediation (particularly in groundwater monitoring) after graduation. He has extensive experience in broadcast videography and digital fabrication, the latter of which has allowed him to support himself by becoming a stencil artist!
Alex is a PhD candidate at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, where he studies glacial geology and geomorphology with an emphasis on meltwater systems. He has experience in field geology, sedimentology, and near surface geophysics. He holds a MS in Geology from the University of Toledo and a BS in Geology from Indiana University.
Akiva currently works as a design automation engineer in an injection molding and tooling company. He has a mechanical engineering degree from Clarkson University and is finishing his master's degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Vermont with a thesis on the finite element deformation of nanowire networks. He has over 10 years of experience in production engineering and CAD/CAM.
James is a PhD candidate at the University of Oklahoma working with Dr. Bradley Stevenson in the Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology. His current research is focused on exploring microbial ecology in diesel and biodiesel systems using omics technologies. Additionally, his research entails organic and biochemistry and has experience with chemical analysis using GC-MS and LC-MS. James also has interests in geobiology, wastewater processes, and science outreach. James obtained his B.S. in Biology at Middle Georgia State University. While working on his degree he interned at SASCO chemical company as a bench chemist. Following his undergraduate graduation, he worked as the lead laboratory analyst for ESG Operations which manages numerous wastewater and drinking water facilities across the south east US. He then decided to continue his education at the University of Oklahoma going directly into his microbiology PhD program.
Dr. Caitlin Hodges is an Assistant Professor of Critical Zone Geoscience at the University of Oklahoma. Trained as a soil biogeochemist, her work focuses on the role that soils play in the cycling of carbon and other elements in the earth system. Specifically, she researches the mechanisms by which soil minerals regulate the retention of organic carbon within soils and control carbon dioxide flux from soils due to organic matter decomposition. The understandings gained from this fundamental work address the challenges we face in a world of rapid environmental change. Her lab’s analytical toolbox consists of both laboratory and field techniques, including traditional soil mineral extractions, field monitoring of elemental and nutrient fluxes, geophysical proximal sensing, and novel sensor arrays. Dr. Hodges received her Ph.D. in Soil Science and Biogeochemistry from Pennsylvania State University and her M.S. in Ecology from the University of Georgia.
Dr. Lynn Soreghan is a David Boren Professor and Eberly Family Chair and Director of Geosciences at the University of Oklahoma. She studies sediments and sedimentary rocks in the field and lab as a means to understand the history and behavior of Earth's climate system, and especially enjoys collaborations with others. Topics of interest include the geologic record of atmospheric dust and loess, weathering, how dust and weathering impact carbon cycling, and glaciation in deep time. Much of her work is focused on the Late Paleozoic Earth system - our only example of icehouse collapse on a planet with a well-developed terrestrial biosphere. Lynn earned her B.S. (Geology) from UCLA and her PhD (Geosciences) from the University of Arizona.