February Featured Grad - Kathleen Rodrigues

What brought you to DRI?

Kathleen Rodrigues headshotI was attracted to DRI because of its well-established and fully equipped luminescence lab (arguably the best in North America, but I’m biased!). My research in optically-stimulated luminescence (OSL) requires very specialized laboratory conditions and instrumentation, and there are a very limited number of institutions around the world that offer these facilities. I was introduced to my advisor, Dr. Amanda Keen-Zebert, while doing field work in Jordan during the summer of 2014 and she expressed an interest in taking on a new PhD student.

What are you studying?

Kathleen Rodrigues fieldword dig

Currently, I’m taking courses in isotope geochemistry and paleoclimatology. Over the last year and a half I have taken courses in statistics and regional geology. I’ve also taken a few professional development courses and have done independent studies on radiation dosimetry and thermoluminescence (TL) dating.  

What research projects are you working on? And who at DRI are you working with?

My PhD research aims to define the geomorphic history of the Buffalo National River, and test hypotheses about the role of heterogeneous lithology in bedrock channel incision and strath terrace formation. This will be done using a number of different geochronometers with a significant focus on OSL. The research is funded by an NSF grant awarded to my advisor Dr. Amanda Keen-Zebert. I’m working on a few other projects as well, but my favorite pet-project involves developing a technique for TL dating of volcanic glass.

Kathleen Rodrigues fieldwork hole

What are your short-term and long-term goals while at DRI?

Over the next month I’m hoping to finish my thesis proposal and coordinate a first committee meeting. I also have a publication in preparation that I’m hoping to have submitted within the next few weeks. My long-term goals are to wrap up existing research projects and publish as much as I can before I finish my degree!

Tell us about yourself. What do you do for fun?

I spend a lot of my free time watching movies or reading at home with my lap-cat. In the summer I spend a lot of my time outdoors. Hiking and road biking are some of my favorite activities. I also enjoy spending my free time playing piano and teaching students from the Reno area.