Meet our Current EXPLORERS


Undergraduate students overlooking rock outcrop

The Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences Department is excited to introduce the participants of the new EXPLORE Program (Earth & PLanetary Opportunities in REsearch). Students will work with EEPS faculty or affiliates on research or experiential projects or internships, designed to enhance their knowledge of the field and understand the scientific challenges that we face today. Student projects can be tailored to suit student interests and may involve working in faculty labs, conducting field work, analyzing data sets of different types, or running numerical models of Earth and planetary processes.

Meet our 2024 EXPLORERS:


Calla Doh headshotCalla Doh - (Faculty mentor: Carrie Masiello)

Calla Doh is a freshman at Rice University from Northern Virginia. She is studying Environmental Science with a concentration in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and is minoring in Poverty, Justice, and Human Capabilities. She is interested in sustainable food systems transformation by bridging science and policy work related to sustainable agriculture, climate change mitigation, and global food security.



Rice owl with EEPS rock hammerMikeal Graham - (Faculty mentor: André Izidoro)

Bio coming soon

Project: Numerical simulations to study the origins and dynamics of co-orbital exoplanets in the habitable zone of sun-like stars




AdAdam Leff headshotam Leff - (Faculty mentor:  Julia Morgan)

Adam Leff is a sophomore majoring in Environmental Science and minoring in Creative Writing. He is interested in applying his knowledge of geologic and climatic systems to deepen our understanding of natural disasters. Eventually, he wants to use that predictive knowledge to help mitigate the damage caused by those natural disasters through a combination of scientific communication and research. 

Project: Analysis of 2018 earthquakes and eruption at Kilauea Volcano for natural disaster preparation


Valentina Osorio headshotValentina Osorio - (Faculty mentor: Mark Torres)

Valentina is a senior and will graduate with degrees in Chemistry and Environmental Earth Science. Valentina will continue her studies at CU Boulder to earn a PhD in Analytical, Environmental and Atmospheric Chemistry.

Project: Sources of atmospheric sulfate in rainwater from analysis of sulfur and oxygen isotopes.



Kathryn Phung headshotKathryn Phung - (Faculty mentor: Carrie Masiello)

Kathryn is a rising senior at Rice University majoring in Chemistry with a concentration in Organic Chemistry.  If she’s ever feeling down, you may fascinate her with a purified gram of azo dye.

Project: 13C - NMR Analysis of Composts: Implications for Emerging Carbon Markets


Lilly Pinkston headshotLilly Pinkston - (Faculty mentor: André Izidoro)

Lilly Pinkston is a freshman at Rice University, originating from Nashville, Tennessee. She is currently planning on majoring in astrophysics, but has always had an interest in Rice’s EEPS program. She is interested in the evolution of solar systems as stars age, and potential for habitable planets within solar systems.

Project: Exploration of the Trojan Asteroids, which are asteroids that exist within Jupiter’s orbit.



Nat Pujet headshotNat Pujet - (Faculty mentor: André Izidoro)

Nat Pujet is a freshman from Boulder, Colorado, majoring in Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences with a Planetary Science specialization and minoring in Physics. Nat is interested in planetary habitability, outer solar system icy moons, and the formation and evolution of planetary systems.




Charlotte Raymond headshotCharlotte Raymond - (Faculty mentor: Mark Torres)

Charlotte Raymond is a freshman intending to major in Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Science with a concentration in Planetary Science. She is interested in planetary habitability, astrobiology, and planetary cycles.

Project: Nature of planet-wide elemental cycles, e.g., water, carbon, and silica, and applications to astrobiology and planetary habitability.



Marlo Wilcox headshotMarlo Wilcox - (Faculty mentor: Kirsten Siebach)

Marlo is a senior majoring in Environmental Science with an Earth Science concentration. Currently, she is working on a senior honors thesis exploring the scale dependencies of satellite derived vegetation trends in Iceland. This summer, she will be in northern Sweden, collecting drone imagery of a thawing permafrost peatland and using it to leverage surface and subsurface ground measurements.

Project: Vikings, Volcanoes, and Satellites: An Analysis of Icelandic NDVI Trends and the Issue of Scale in Vegetation Remote Sensing 


Meagan Wright headshotMegan Wright - (Faculty mentor: Carrie Masiello)

Bio coming soon

Project: Sources and concentrations of organic carbon particulates in the oceanic sediments, applied to carbon sequestration




Jessica Xu headshotJessica Xu - (Faculty mentor: Melodie French)

Jessica is an undergraduate student from Dallas, TX interested in resource extraction's chemical and geological foundations. She hopes to develop an understanding of environmental on human health impacts, specifically in consideration of how energy production contributes to pollution impacting various communities in the United States.