Earth and Mineral Sciences graduate students recognized at research exhibition

April 22, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Two graduate students in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences were recognized for their research and presentation skills during the 2019 Graduate Exhibition, hosted by the Graduate School at Penn State in March. Kirsty McKenzie, a graduate student in geosciences, and Weiming Hu, a graduate student in geography, placed second and third, respectively, in the physical sciences and mathematics division of the exhibition.

Kirsty McKenzie, a graduate student in geosciences

Kirsty McKenzie, a doctoral student studying geosciences at Penn State.

IMAGE: Penn State

McKenzie, a third-year doctoral student, researches subduction zones where tectonic plates meet. Her research focuses on deformations caused by the interaction of these plates. She uses modeling and GPS observations to study slow slip events, a type of earthquake that happens in subduction zones over a longer time scale than regular earthquakes and which are often difficult to detect.

“I’m interested in understanding what is causing the deformation we see on the surface in subduction zones,” McKenzie said. “I’m interested in understanding deformation associated with earthquakes and their impact on society.”

Weiming Hu, a third-year doctoral student at Penn State.

Weiming Hu, a third-year doctoral student studying geography at Penn State. 

IMAGE: Penn State

Hu, a third-year doctoral student, studies uncertainties in weather forecasting, focusing on reducing computational requirements to run the models. His research aims to improve the computing time and efficiency of weather prediction. He is using his programming skills and statistics knowledge to determine how much data can be omitted while still retaining accuracy in weather forecasts.

“This was a really unforgettable experience,” Hu said. “I’m thankful I was given the opportunity to share my research with others so that they can understand and appreciate it. It was so encouraging.”

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Last Updated April 22, 2019