Kim Lau receives division pre-tenure award from Geological Society of America

August 20, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kimberly Lau, assistant professor of geosciences and an associate in Penn State’s Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, received the Pre-tenure Excellence Award from the Geobiology and Geomicrobiology Division of the Geological Society of America. The award recognizes Lau’s accomplishments in the fields of research, mentoring, service and leadership in the geobiology and geomicrobiology community.

Kimberly Lau

Kimberly Lau

IMAGE: Kimberly Lau, Penn State

“It’s an honor knowing that my colleagues recognize my work and appreciate what I do,” said Lau. “Science can be slow, and there’s a lot of rejection, so it’s always rewarding to know that the work I’m doing is making an impact in my community and among the people I really admire and work with. It’s especially validating and rewarding to have this sort of recognition early on in my career.”

Lau’s research includes using uranium isotopes found in sediments and sedimentary rocks to understand how and why the environment has changed throughout Earth’s history and how scientists can improve environmental reconstructions and interpretations. In particular, she studies marine environments and how oceanic oxygen levels change in response to large changes in climate.

She has published more than 20 peer-reviewed book chapters and articles in the top journals of her field, including in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, and the Geological Society of America Bulletin. She also is a co-founder of the community-building and support organization Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Geosciences.

“I feel really lucky to have mentors, advisers and colleagues who believe in me and nominate me for these awards,” said Lau. “The other people who are receiving awards this year and the individuals who received these awards in previous years are scientists I admire and look up to, so it feels really special to join the other folks who have been recognized for these honors.”

Lau will receive the award and give an invited talk at the Geological Society of America Connects 2021 annual meeting in Portland, Oregon, in October.

Before joining Penn State in July 2020, Lau was an assistant professor at the University of Wyoming and an Agouron Geobiology Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Riverside. She received her bachelor’s degree in geology and geophysics with honors from Yale University and her doctoral degree in geological sciences from Stanford University.

Last Updated August 20, 2021