Sierra Victoria Petersen

Principle Investigator

Sierra received her undergraduate degree from Caltech (Geochemistry) and her Masters/PhD from Harvard (Earth & Planetary Sciences), before coming to University of Michigan, first as a postdoc then a faculty member.

Outside the lab, she enjoys running, knitting, skiing, beach vacations, and spending time with family. She tries to keep a healthy work-life balance and encourages the same in her group members.

Click here for CV.

Cick here for ORCID

Click here for Google Scholar

Julia R. Kelson


Julia joined the group in Fall 2019. She was awarded the prestigious NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship to fund her postdoc project reconstructing paleoclimate and paleohydrology in the Paleocene/Eocene using clumped and triple oxygen isotopes (in conjunction with the IsoPaleo Lab). Julia brings expertise in clumped isotopes and paleosol formation gained through her PhD at University of Washington, and a UM is expanding her geochemical toolbox with the new triple oxygen isotope proxy.

Her website can be found here:

Click here for Julia’s Google Scholar page

Jade Z. Zhang

Graduate Student (PhD)

Jade is a 4th year PhD student in the SCIPP Lab, working on reconstructing Interglacial climate in Bermuda at the subannual scale by applying the clumped isotope paleothermometer to gastropod and bivalve fossils. To ground-truth these paleoclimate studies, Jade is also calibrating the clumped isotope paleothermometer in modern specimens of the same marine gastropods and bivalve species she studies in the fossil record. She is also investigating modern variability in d18Owater around Bermuda and along the US East Coast to put her paleoceanographic results into better context.

Allison N. Curley

Graduate Student (PhD)

Allison joined the group in Summer 2019 as a master’s student after finishing her bachelor’s degree in Earth Sciences at Dickinson College. In 2021, she officially switched from the master’s to the PhD track, so although she is technically a 1st year PhD student, she’s been around the block.

Allison started out using clumped isotopes and strontium isotopes to study freshwater inputs to the Late Cretaceous Western Interior Seaway. This work focuses on reconstructing paleosalinity and has implications for other interesting questions in paleohydrology. After interruptions to new data collection due to the COVID shutdown of our lab, Allison has been reinvestigating older isotopic datasets that show vital effects in extinct bivalves, potentially indicating something about metabolism mechanisms in different species.

Besides the lab, the kitchen is her favorite place to run experiments. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, weaving, and watching bad movies.

Alex Quizon

Graduate Student (PhD)

Alex joined the group in 2021, bringing in a new angle of expertise with his degree in Chemistry from Williams College. He will start out working on calibrating clumped isotopes in modern marine gastropods, looking for vital effects using d18O, d13C, D47, and D48.

Outside the lab, Alex enjoys engaging with music in various capacities (e.g. piano, songwriting/production, theater), listening to podcasts about current events, and exploring different kinds of TV shows and video games.

Lucas Gomes

Graduate Student (PhD)

Lucas joined the group in 2021 from UC Berkeley. He will be working on reconstructing Pliocene climate on the shallow Florida platform using sclerochronology and clumped isotopes. As an undergraduate, he worked on comparing and aligning climate records across the 8.2 kyr event with Professor Jim Russel at Brown University.

Jon Hoffman


Jon joined the group after taking Introductory Oceanography with Sierra his freshman year. He is working with Matt to reconstruct climate in the Western Interior Seaway during the Cretaceous Thermal Maximum. In particular, Jon is performing high-resolution isotopic measurements on fossil oysters to reconstruct seasonal-scale climate cycles. Jon is interested in oceanography and hopes to continue on to graduate school after graduating UMich. He is currently writing up his findings in a first-author manuscript and senior thesis.

Cecile Phillips


Cecilie is freshman who joined the lab as a UROP student for the 2021-2022 academic year. She will be working on Last Interglacial aged shells from South Carolina, collected by lab members as part of recent field work. Her data will be combined with Jade’s studies of Last Interglacial Climate in Bermuda to describe climate in the western Atlantic region as a whole during this time period.

Sabrina Lanker


Sabrina is a junior who joined the lab as a UROP student for the 2021-2022 academic year, she previously received an associate’s degree in Math & Natural Sciences from Washtenaw Community College. She will be working with Jade on Last Interglacial-aged shells from Bermuda, looking at bivalves from the lagoonal side of the island to compare to Jade’s gastropods from the South Shore.

Outside of the lab Sabrina enjoys everything that has to do with nature. She can often be found tending to her indoor and outdoor gardens, caring for her animals, or exploring the woods.

Manmeet Singh


Manmeet is freshman who joined the lab as a UROP student for the 2021-2022 academic year. He will be working on Late Cretaceous fossils from multiple locations in the Gulf Coastal Plain to define paleoenvironmental tempeatures leading up to, and across, the Cretaceous Paleogene Boundary. His results will contribute to paleo-ENM (ecological niche modeling) simulations run by collaborators at University of New Mexico.

Outside the lab, Manmeet likes to go on bike rides, go bird watching, and stay inside once in a while to watch Survivor.

Samantha Davies


Samantha is sophomore who joined the lab as a UROP student for the 2021-2022 academic year. She will be working on Late Cretaceous oysters from a newly defined Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary section in Mississippi called the Ellis Sand Pit. Her work will define seawater temperatures leading up to the end of the Cretaceous in a new area of the Gulf Coastal Plain.

Ashling Neary

Lab Manager

Ashling joined the SCIPP Lab in Fall 2019 and instantly became a key member. She can generally be found in the lab, keeping our two mass spectrometers running and consulting with students about data processing. She brings expertise in stable isotope and trace element analysis, technique development, and data analysis to our group gained while completing her Bachelor’s at MIT and master’s at Brown University.

Alumni Members (Grad/Postdoc)

Matthew M. Jones

Postdoc 2019-2021

Current position: Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.

Click here for Matt’s personal webpage or his Google Scholar page

Heidi O’Hora

Master’s Student 2019-2021

Current position: just graduated!

Serena Scholz

Master’s Student 2019-2020

Undergraduate Researcher, 2017-2019

Undergraduate Researcher, UROP program 2016-2017

Current Position: CNA Institute for Public Research

Kyle Meyer

PhD Student, 2014-2018

Current position: Postdoc at Portland State University

Alumni Members (Undergrad)

Steve Wedel

Undergraduate Researcher, 2019-2020, Senior Thesis 2020

Ziwei Xiang

Undergraduate Researcher, 2019-2020

Rebecca Heaman

Undergraduate Researcher, UROP program, 2018-2019

Tiana Kilgore

Undergraduate Researcher, UROP program, 2018-2019

Alberto Aguilar Martinez

Lab Technician, 2018

Liz Oliphant

Undergraduate Researcher 2016-2018, Senior Thesis 2018

Hector Ochoa

Undergraduate Researcher, UROP Summer Program, 2015