Jessica Badgeley ’15, who is the lead author of recently published research solving a 100-year-old mystery of an Antarctica waterfall, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She is one of six recent CC graduates to receive the award.
The fellowship will support Badgeley’s work at the University of Washington, where she is a graduate student in the Department of Earth and Space Sciences. Her research focuses on the Greenland Ice Sheet; although it has the potential to raise the global sea level by nearly 20 feet, the ice sheet’s response to warmer climates is not well understood.
“My work will bring together the fields of glaciology, weather forecasting tools, and paleoclimatology, providing me with the background necessary to develop as a leading scientist in this emerging multidisciplinary field — a field that is key to preparing society for the impacts of climate change,” Badgeley says.
Badgeley graduated magna cum laude from Colorado College with a major in geology and a minor in math, and was named a Goldwater Scholar her junior year at CC. She also worked with CC’s Geographic Information Systems (GIS) lab and notes in her NSF graduate research fellowship application that her experience in math, glaciology, and coding makes her well-suited to conduct the research.
Her research would advance understanding of Greenland Ice Sheet by combining cutting-edge paleoclimate reconstructions, ice sheet modeling, and geological constraints. She proposes to use a novel method — paleoclimate data assimilation — to combine Greenland ice core measurements with regional high-resolution climate model simulations.
“This will allow me to reconstruct past surface boundary conditions using the wealth of information in the ice core record while maintaining spatial consistency with regional ice sheet climate patterns,” she says. “Skillful paleoclimate reconstructions should improve our ability to combine numerical models with geological constraints to improve our ability to predict future Greenland Ice Sheet contributions to sea level change.”
The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines who are pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees at accredited United States institutions. It is a five-year program that includes three years of a $34,000 stipend for research as well as tuition coverage. During the 2017 awards cycle, the NSF received more than 13,000 applications and granted 2,000 fellowships.