The Jonathan O. Davis Scholarship

Jonathan O. DavisJonathan O. Davis

Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Desert Research Institute

The Desert Research Institute Jonathan O. Davis Research Scholarship is awarded annually to outstanding Masters and PhD students conducting research relevant to the Quaternary geology, geomorphology, and/or archaeology of the Great Basin. Awards will be made to the highest ranking Masters and PhD student proposals. A Masters student will be funded up to $5000 and a PhD student will be funded up to $7500. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a Masters or PhD program in the United States. Previous awardees in each category (Masters or PhD) are ineligible for subsequent submission in the same category. However, awardees at the Masters level are eligible for subsequent submissions at the PhD level. The scholarship funds are intended to support students conducting graduate research activities within the Great Basin. Students doing research on any aspect of the Quaternary geology, geomorphology, and/or archaeology of the Great Basin are encouraged to apply.

Jonathan O. Davis was a Quaternary geologist, geoarchaeologist, and DRI faculty member who was dedicated to research in the Great Basin.  The endowment that supports this award was established in his memory by his family and friends to support and promote Quaternary research that impacts the understanding of the Quaternary science of the Great Basin.   

Applications should include:

1. Cover letter: 1 page. A cover letter addressed to the committee should introduce the applicant, explain their eligibility, describe their research experience and interests, and demonstrate the significance of their thesis or dissertation research to Quaternary geology, geomorphology and/or archaeology in the Great Basin.

2. Summary of Thesis or Dissertation Research: Up to 2 pages of text and up to 3 pages of figures. The proposal should include a title and the following sections:

  • Summary: One paragraph that summarizes the proposal.
  • Introduction: Explain the background and significance of the thesis or dissertation research to the Great Basin.
  • Study area: Describe where the study takes place.
  • Hypotheses: Present the hypotheses or research questions that guide the research.
  • Methods: Explain how the study will be achieved and what activities will take place.
  • Anticipated Results and Significance: Describe the anticipated results. Explain how the data generated from the methods will be used to evaluate the hypotheses or answer the research question. Explain the significance of the anticipated results.
  • Figures: Up to 3 pages of figures with captions should follow the text.
  • References: Should follow the figures. No page limit.
  • Proposal formatting: Single spaced, 11-12 pt Arial or Times New Roman font, left justified, include a space between paragraphs. Reference formatting and style should be consistent and should follow that of a major journal in the discipline with which the proposal is aligned.      

3. Budget justification: 1 page. Describe how the funds will be used. Proposals that include detailed information on allocation of funds to support research activities are preferred. Include any other sources of funding to demonstrate feasibility of the project.

4. Curriculum Vitae: 2 page NSF-style biosketch.

5. Letter of support: 1 page. A letter written by the research supervisor should document the student’s abilities and potential as a Quaternary scientist, the advisor’s involvement in the development of the proposal, and the advisor’s role in the execution of the proposed research activities.

The application package should be submitted as a single PDF to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by February 15, 2018 for consideration. Email questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Current and Previous Recipients

2016
National Awardee
JD L Lancaster
Early Human Ecology in the Silvies River Valley, Northern Great Basin, Oregon
Oregon State University

UNR Stipend Awardee
Derek Reaux
Understanding Paleoindian Occupations in the Northwestern Great Basin: An application of the ideal free distribution model
University of Nevada Reno

2015
National Awardee
Alejandra Cartagena-Sierra
Holocene molecular record of hydroclimate and vegetation variability in the Mojave-Great Basin region
University of Notre Dame

UNR Stipend Awardee
Kathleen Rodrigues
Enhancing the resolution and quality of the tephrochronologic framework in the Lahontan basin using luminescence dating techniques
McMaster University/UNR

2014
National Awardee
Joe Dan Collin, Jr.
Paleoenvironmental Investigations of the Harney Basin, Eastern Oregon 
University of Texas, El Paso

2013
National Awardee
Adam M Hudson 
Investigating regional pluvial climate of the Great Basin using geochronology, GIS analysis, and hydrologic modeling of pluvial lakes
University of Arizona

UNR Stipend Awardee
Donald D. PatteeXRF Sourcing of additional artifacts from Northern Warner Valley, South-Central, Oregon
University of Nevada Reno

2012
National Awardee:
Aaron Katona
California State University Fullerton
"Minor and trace element analysis of the Nomlaki Tuff and the Wilson Creek ash beds by inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry"

UNR Stipend Awardee:
Stephen J. LaValley
University of Nevada, Reno
"X-ray Fluorescence Analysis of Artifacts from Paiute Creek Shelter, Humboldt County, Nevada: Assessing Late Holocene Hunter-Gatherer Technological Organization, Toolstone Procurement, and Mobility"

2011
National Awardee:
Anthony Taylor
University of Nevada, Reno
"Radiocarbon Dating of Coprolites from Elephant Mountain Cave and Last Supper Cave"

UNR Stipend Awardee:
Nathaniel E. Pepe
University of Nevada, Reno
"The Geomorpholgy, Petrology, and Eolian Activity of the Winnemucca Dune Complex"

2010
Liam Reidy
University of California, Berkeley
"Dating of Tephras in Sediment Cores from Big Soda Lake, a Maar Lake near Fallon, NV"

2009
Joanna Redwine
University of Nevada, Reno
"Study of the Quaternary History of the Mohawk and Sierra Valleys in northeastern California"

2008
Krista Reichert
University of New Hampshire
"Late Pleistocene Temperature Variability in the Lake Chewaucan Basin, Oregon, Using Amino Acid Racemization of Ostracode Fossils"

2007
Jonathan S. Grant
University of Nevada, Reno
"Holocene of the Northwestern Great Basin from Anthropogenic Deposits in a Dry Cave Environment"

Shannon F. Archer
University of Nevada, Reno
"The Influence of Lithology and Quaternary Geology on Soil and Plant Morphology in the Providence Mountains of the Mojave Desert "

2006
Richard D. Koehler III
University of Nevada, Reno
"Quaternary Geology, Pluvial Lake History of Lake Gilbert, and Neotectonics of Grass Valley, Central Nevada."

Lisbeth Louderback
University of Nevada, Reno
"Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Vegetation Change and Human Adaptation in the Bonneville Basin."

2005
Joy M. Giffin
University of Nevada, Reno
"Geomorphic study of storage, stability, and transport of sediment in desert basins during periods of paleoclimate change."

Geoffrey M. Smith
University of Nevada, Reno
"Logistical and residential mobility among early-period hunter gatherers in northwest Nevada."

2004
Deron T. Carter
Central Washington University
"A Large Late Pleistocene Outburst Flood from Pluvial Lake Alvord and Coyote into the Owyhee River, Oregon”

Barbara E Malinky
University of Nevada, Reno
"An Investigation of Late Prehistoric Mobility In Eastern Nevada: A Ceramic Study"

2003
Ronna Bowers
Humboldt State University
"Strategraphic Investigations of the Hydrologic History of Pluvial Lake Madeline in Northeastern California"

Kelly Graf
University of Nevada, Reno
"Geoarchaeological Investigations at the Bonneville Estates Rockshelter"

2002
Benjamin J.C. Laabs,
University of Wisconsin - Madison
"Late Quaternary Glacial History of the Southern Uinta Mountains, Northeastern Utah"

2002
Teresa Wriston
University of Nevada, Reno
"The Harney Basin’s Lake Chronology and the Weed Lake Ditch Site: Environmental Reconstruction of the Early Holocene"

2001
Kyle Nichols
Department of Geology
University of Vermont
"Quaternary History and Process Rates of Desert Piedmonts."

Tom Badger
Department of Geological Sciences
University of Nevada, Reno
"Geology, failure mechanisms, and timing of gigantic landslides, Summer Lake basin, Lake County, Oregon."

2000
Joanna Redwine
Geology Department
Humboldt State University
"Investigation of Quaternary pluvial history, paleoclimate implications, and neotectonics of Newark Valley, east-central, Nevada."

James Sutherland
Hydrologic Sciences
University of Nevada, Reno
"Eighteenth-Centry Logging and the Geomorphic Stability of a Selected Watershed in the Carson Range, Western Nevada: Implications for Impact of Land-use changes on Lake Tahoe."

1999
Sheryl Fontaine
Center for Neotectonic Studies, Mackay School of Mines
University of Nevada, Reno
"Quaternary Neotectonics of the Central Walker Lane Belt, Western Great Basin"

Leah Bonstead
University of Nevada, Reno
"Is the Western Pluvial Lakes Tradition hypothesis relevant to the Harney Lake site?"

1998
Yvonne Wood
Department of Soil & Environmental Sciences
University of California-Riverside
"Mesoscale Patterns of Desert Pavement Stone Mosaics: Linkages with Vegetation and Soil Distributions on a Single-Age Basalt Flow, Cima Volcanic Field, Eastern Mojave Desert, California"

1997
Joseph Licciardi
Department of Geosciences
Oregon State University
"Towards Developing a Numerical Chronology of late-Pleistocene Glaciation in the Wallowa Mountains, OR, Ruby Mountains, NV, and Yellowstone area, WY, using Surface Exposure Dating Methods"

1996
David Wilkins
Department of Geography
University of Utah
"Late Quaternary Paleoenvironments in the Trans-Pecos Closed Basin, West Texas and South-Central New Mexico"

Saxon Sharpe
Department of Geology
University of Nevada, Reno
"Late Quaternary Molluscs: Developing the Paleohydrology Link"

1995
Adam Light
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research
University of Colorado
"Amino Acid Paleothermometry: A North/South Transect of the Lake Bonneville Basin, Utah, Since the Last Glacial Maximum"

Stephen Metzger,
Geology Department,
University of Nevada, Reno
"Atmospheric Particulate Flux Contributed by Dust Devils"

1994
Hope Jahren
Department of Soil Science
University of California, Berkeley
"Chemical and Mineralogic Analysis of Hackberry (Celtis) Endocarp Indicating Quaternary Climate"

Kenneth D. Adams
Center for Neotectonic Studies
University of Nevada, Reno
"Isostatic Deformation of the Lake Lahontan Basin"

1993
Karl Lillquist
University of Utah
"Lacustrine geomorphology, chronology, and hydro-isostatic deformation of late Quaternary shorelines, Ruby Valley and northern Butte Valley, Nevada"

1992
Stan Soles
San Jose State University