PhD student selected as 2024 Graduate Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award

Categories: News

Dr. Monica Rasmussen, a May graduate of EEGS was awarded the 2024 Graduate Dean’s Distinguished Dissertation Award in the category of Mathematics, Physical Sciences, and Engineering at UNC Charlotte.

Dissertation title: The Influence of Time, Rock Properties, and Climate on Mechanical Weathering

This dissertation presents a field, laboratory, and modeling analysis of rock cracking as rocks are exposed to natural environmental conditions for hundreds of thousands of years. I determined that rock cracking slows down over time, regardless of rock type and environment, due to rocks reaching a level of “squishiness” that allows them to survive the daily stresses to which they are accustomed.

What’s next for the contest: In addition to a cash award of $1,000 and a plaque, this dissertation will be submitted to the Council of Graduate Schools/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award competition where nominees may be considered for the CGS
award and be eligible for an award of $2,000 and a certificate of recognition, which will be presented at CGS Annual Meeting Awards Luncheon in December 2024 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Dr. Rasmussen’s future plans: In September I am moving with my husband and cat to Rome to work as a Postdoctoral Researcher studying Martian geology at the Italian¬†Institute of Space Astrophysics and Planetology.