Laura Taylor Receives UH Outstanding Senior Thesis Award

Research Used Oxygen and Carbon Stable Isotopes to Better Understand the Depositional Environment and Monsoons

Laura Taylor, a geology major who graduated in December 2020, was awarded the Outstanding Senior Thesis Award for the 2020-2021 academic year. Her thesis entitled “Stable Isotopes of Macrofossils and Bulk Carbonates from the Late Miocene to Pleistocene Santa Rosalia Basin, Baja California Sur, Mexico” used oxygen and carbon isotopes to better understand the depositional environment of these carbonates and track the progression of the North American Monsoon from the late Miocene to Pleistocene in Baja California.

Laura Taylor

She first started this project as part of the Baja Basins International Research Experience for Students where she completed three weeks of field work in the Santa Rosalia Basin, Baja California Sur and four weeks of lab work at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas. After completing the program, she continued this work for a senior honors thesis at the University of Houston where she was advised by Dr. Emily Beverly in the UH Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences.

While at UH, Taylor continued lab work and focused on writing, where she credits much of her success to Dr. Beverly.

“Dr. Beverly truly taught me how to write like a scientist, and I feel significantly more prepared for graduate school after working with her,” Taylor said.

She is currently a Ph.D. student and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at the MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography. At MIT-WHOI, Taylor will continue to use oxygen and carbon stable isotopes to investigate the history of storms in the North Atlantic.