The Jonathan O. Davis Scholarship

Jonathan O. Davis
Jonathan O. Davis

Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Desert Research Institute

The family and friends of Jonathan O. Davis, a prominent U.S. geologist and geoarchaeologist and a DRI faculty member, have established an endowment that provides 2 opportunities for students of Quaternary Geology, specifically (1) a yearly nationally competed Jonathan O. Davis Scholarship, and (2) a competitively selected stipend for a University of Nevada, Reno student.

Jonathan was tragically killed in an automobile accident in December 1990. It is the wish of his family and friends to support graduate students working on the Quaternary geology of the Great Basin, research close to Jonathan’s heart. The national scholarship is $7,500 and the University of Nevada, Reno stipend is $7,500.

The national scholarship, administered by the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences of the Desert Research Institute, is open to graduate students enrolled in an M.S. or Ph.D. program at any university in the United States. The stipend, also administered by the Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, is open to graduate students enrolled in an M.S. or Ph.D. program at the University of Nevada, Reno. Quaternary geology, as used here, encompasses a wide range of topics normally considered as part of the Quaternary sciences. The research, however, must have a substantial geologic component or demonstrate a strong reliance on geological techniques and must be focused on the Great Basin.

Applications should include:

  • A cover letter explaining how the individual qualifies for the award.  Please state whether you are applying for the national scholarship or for the UNR stipend.
  • A current résumé or vitae.
  • A two-page, titled, single spaced description of the thesis/dissertation research, which also clearly documents the geological orientation and research significance.  Figures, tables, and references do not count against the two-page limit.
  • A short statement on how funding would be used within the year.
  • A letter of recommendation from the thesis/dissertation supervisor, which emphasizes the student’s ability and potential as a Quaternary geologist/scientist.

Applications must be received electronically, or post-marked by February 17, 2017. 

Proposals will not be returned to applicants.  

Electronic submittals should be sent as attachments to an email addressed to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Mailed applications should be addressed to:

Executive Director
Attn: Davis Scholarship
Division of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Desert Research Institute
2215 Raggio Parkway
Reno, NV 89512

If you have further questions regarding the awards or the application process, please contact Barbara Jackson at (775) 673-7454 or 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