Joining the Group

Welcome — I am always interested in recruiting folks to join my group, which is part of the UM IsoPaleoLab.

Research Opportunities

Understanding triple oxygen isotope variation in different systems, in application to questions about paleoclimate and paleoenvironmental change, will be a big focus of my research program in the next couple of years and I’m looking to recruit people to work on this.  This work is broad and there are many ways to pursue it, in both modern and ancient systems. 

The University of Michigan is a really unique place to to this work given the facilities in the IsoPaleoLab and the number of isotope geochemists working on paleoclimate problems right now (Ben Passey, Sierra Petersen, Julia Cole, Nathan Sheldon, Kacey Lohmann), in addition to a strong groups in paleontology, paleobiology, and geobiology. Students benefit from interactions among these groups.

For modern systems, there are exciting opportunities to focus on isotope hydrology and leverage the combined resources of the IPL group, other isotope geochemists in the department, and Chris Poulsen’s group. If you are interested in work on isotope hydrology, please contact me and/or Chris. My group and Chris’s group are already collaborating on building a 17O isoscape of North America, thanks to the work of PhD student Phoebe Aron, and there are many ways we can expand these collaborations.

For the geologic applications of triple oxygen isotopes, there is so much to tackle. There are clear links to my work in Africa but my students aren’t limited to Africa. There are other projects brewing in South America and North America that are ripe for student work.

There are also opportunities to work on questions related paleoclimate change and human origins in Africa, specifically in the Afar region of Ethiopia, in southern Kenya and/or in southern Africa. These projects aren’t restricted to triple oxygen isotopes but might include an element of it. All would involve a combination of lab work and field work. I’m particularly looking for a student to work on the Woranso-Mille project

I’m also open to ideas for other projects but I will prioritize those that take advantage of existing research expertise or analytical capabilities in the lab.

Potential Grad Students

The Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences has an extremely strong graduate program. To get a sense for what UM EARTH grad students are up to, check out the department’s Twitter and Instagram accounts and a list of grad student publications.  It’s a particularly exciting place for anyone interested in paleoclimate and stable isotope geochemistry, given the depth of expertise among the faculty and their groups. The UM EARTH grad students have a strong community. You can see some of their activities on the GeoClub webpage.

If you’re interested in the UM EARTH graduate program, take a look at the departmental website that has information on the application process. I have also compiled some things to think about and FAQs as you consider applying to grad school. I encourage you to read this before contacting me.

Applications for Fall admission are due in early January – see tips about applying to grad school on our departmental page.

Potential grad students who come from under-represented groups or who do active work to make science more inclusive should apply the Michigan Earth’s Fall Preview event. Applications are due each year in mid-September.

Postdoc positions

I encourage any potential postdocs to seek external funding like the NSF Earth Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship (proposals due in September).

There are also three different University of Michigan postdoctoral fellowships that you might consider: the Michigan Society of Fellows, the President’s Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, and the LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. All are very competitive but each has a different scope. The applications for these UM fellowships are due in the Fall, but successful applicants will start to develop their applications with UM faculty well in advance.

UM undergrads

If you are a UM undergrad interested in research, please send me (Naomi) an email with your resume or CV and articulating your interests and we can see if there’s a way to involve you. However, do note that the best way to get involved in the lab is to take a class with me first (and be an engaged student in that class!).