Department of Earth Sciences

Faculty Mentor: Will Jackson

Department: Earth Sciences

Contact Information: wtjckson@memphis.edu; (901) 678-2774

Project Description: Today the Mississippi and Ohio rivers merge near Cairo, Illinois, where the main channel continues southward along the eastern side of the Mississippi Embayment. However, in the recent past (~ 20,000 years ago) these rivers had different paths and merged south of Crowley's Ridge in western Mississippi. The Mississippi River occupied the western part of the Mississippi Embayment, while the Ohio River occupied the eastern part. Determining the timing of this river-reorganization is important to understand the influencing forces (climate change and paleo-seismology) responsible for this change. Two geologic cores, recently acquired near Memphis, contain sediments spanning the past ~ 20,000 years, presenting an opportunity to determine the timing of the river-reorganization. Detrital zircon uranium-lead (U-Pb) geochronology, using laser ablation induced coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS), will be used to identify the transition from an Ohio River signature to a Mississippi River signature in the eastern Mississippi Embayment. 

Requirements: Students that have some background in a physical sciences major and a keen interest in exploring basic geological processes and the geologic history of the Memphis region. This study will have implications for climate change and paleo-earthquake activity in the Memphis region, which may also align with student interests.

Application Process: Submit a resume and letter of interest/cover letter. Qualified candidates will be contacted for an interview. 

Hours per week: Flexible

Start Date: Flexible

Compensation: Volunteer

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Ryan M. Parish

Department: Earth Sciences

Contact Information: (901) 678-2606; rmparish@memphis.edu

Project Description: The research project entails compiling and categorizing a large geologic sample database of chert/flint that prehistoric people used to make stone tools. The chert/flint sample databse, or library, will then be analyzed using two reflectance spectroscopy techniques that helps archaeologists identify where people were getting their rock resources from on the landscape. The lab assistant will help organize the chert/flint database into boxes, bag and label samples, and be trained on the use of two spectroscopy instruments and software in order to analyze additional samples.

Requirements: There are no prerequisite skills but a patient and detail oriented person is preferred. All majors are welcome, however an interest in history and in archaeology would help the lab assistant enjoy the work.

Application or Interview process: Please write a letter of intent (cover letter) describing your interest in the project.

Hours per week: 4

Starting Date: ASAP

Compensation:  Volunteer

Faculty Mentor: Dr. David H. Dye, Professor of Archaeology

Faculty Mentor's Department: Department of Earth Sciences

Contact Information: daviddye@memphis.edu, (901) 678-3330

Project Description: Students may participate in archaeological laboratory research, including photography, artifact analysis, and database construction. Field trips and photography at local collections and museums may be involved from time to time. Research is currently underway on late prehistoric artifacts from the Memphis area, including pottery and shell analysis, with emphasis on ritual and cosmology.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Students should have one introductory course in Anthropology or Archaeology.

Starting Date: At student's convenience

Method of Compensation: Volunteer or academic credit through honors projects or independent study on a case by case basis.

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Hsiang-te Kung

Faculty Mentor's Department: Department of Earth Sciences, Confucius Institute, Asian Studies and International Trade Program

Contact Information: 678-4538; hkung@memphis.edu

Project Description: Environmental Hazards and Justice; Water Resources (Flood and Drought, Water Supply); Chinese Culture/ Economic Growth and Environmental Impact.

Requirements for Student Applicants: Any honors students who have interest in these areas

Starting Date: At Student's Convenience

Method of Compensation: Open

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Andrew Mickelson

Faculty Mentor's Department: Dept. of Earth Sciences

Contact Information: 901-678-4505; amicklsn@memphis.edu

Project Description: Students can participate in archaeological fieldwork and/or laboratory research and processing of archaeological samples and artifacts.  Research is currently being conducted at several prehistoric Indian sites within western Tennessee.  Transport to sites is provided and we return to Memphis at the end of each day.  Fieldwork requires the physical ability to walk long distances and carry heavy loads at times.  Sorry, special needs students cannot be accommodated in the field, but options exist in the lab on a case by case basis.

Requirements: Students must have taken at least one introductory course in Anthropology (preferably ANTH1100) or in Earth Sciences (ESCI 1103 or ESCI 2301 or ESCI 4352 or ESCI 4325)

Starting Date: Open, dependent on level of degree of participation by student

Method of Compensation: Volunteer or Academic Credit through honors projects or independent study on a case by case basis

Faculty Mentor: Dr. Esra Ozdenerol

Faculty Mentor's Department: Earth Sciences

Contact Information: 901-678-2787; eozdenrl@memphis.edu

Project Description: 1) West Nile Virus in Shelby County: I use GIS and Remote sensing techniques to explore the mosquito habitats and clustering analysis where the infected mosquitoes are and the effected human cases. I am working with the Shelby County Health Department on developing a model to lower the amount of cases in our county and explore ways how to do better intervention. 2) Low birth weight and infant mortality: Birth and death records from the Tennessee Department of Health are obtained. I am applying clustering analysis techniques to find out where the most vulnerable places are in Shelby County.

Requirements: Computer knowledge. GIS techniques a plus, but not required. I also prefer web and programming skills, if any.

Starting Date: At student's convenience.

Compensation: Volunteer with the possibility of future compensation (dependent on funding)