Joined ESS in 2008-2018
Undergraduate Program: Geology
Graduate Program: Geological Sciences
Staff Position: Research Associate
Hometown: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Prior Institutions: Mongolian University of Science and Technology
Research Area: Geomorphology, Paleoclimate, Remote Sensing
Classes Taught: 101-Introduction to Geology; 210-Physical Geology; 211-Physical Processes of the Earth; 326: Geomorphology; 421-Intro to Remote Sensing; 520: GIS for Earth Sciences
Favorite Class: Introduction to Remote Sensing; Cosmogenic Nuclides
Favorite Spot: Benches around Drumheller Fountain on sunny days
How did you "land" in ESS?
A series of unlikely events coincided in 2004 that led to my introduction to Professor Alan Gillespie at ESS. As a young lecturer of hydrology and engineering geology in the School of Geology, my teaching loads were usually high, but, somehow, there was no class for me to teach in the fall of that year. At the same time, Alan came to Mongolia to drill through lake sediments in October, because the cold weather of Northern Mongolia would allow him to keep the icy cores intact without melting. He needed a local assistant for the month-long expedition, but none of the students in my school were available due to the conflict with their cutting-edge applications of cosmogenic nuclides. After this trip, I helped in the analysis of the sediment cores and joined Alan for another field season in the Gobi. I immediately fell in love with what Alan was doing at ESS, and I decided to apply for the UW graduate program.
What is something that you surprised you about our community?
The scientific diversity of faculty and their cross-collaborations truly define the namesake of the department. I knew the research disciplines at the ESS would be broad, but I was still surprised to learn they ranged from solar storms to gravels in a landslide debris to everything in between. Additionally, the inter-disciplinary projects with other departments, such as Atmospheric Sciences and Forestry, exposed me to new ideas and techniques that I would not have learned in the department.
What has been your favorite part of the ESS department so far?
The welcoming attitudes and the helpfulness of people at all levels in the department greatly helped me in graduate school. The tight relationship between the students did not just stop among graduate students, but it was also extended to the undergraduate students as well. Beyond the academic and emotional support from my student peers, I benefited from the genuine care of the staff on the department as well.
What are your future plans?
There are two research projects I am developing in the near future: 1) Detect and map permafrost on a regional scale using satellite data; 2) Recover paleoglacial information from peneplain surfaces and establish their implications for the long-term changes in erosion and climate. I also love teaching, and I hope to created a research program that tightly integrates my lectures in the classroom with student-led field works.
Do you have any advice for new ESS community members?
Academic research is a highly creative process, and, therefore, do not hesitate to try something different from your background. Do not get discouraged by anyone's suggestion that your idea might take too long, or you don't have enough experience. You alone control the creative freedom of your pursuit in graduate school, and I bet you will find someone in the department with appropriate expertise when you need help.