Geography & Environmental Studies
2022 LAS Awards
Outstanding Undergraduate Students
Outstanding Graduate Award
Austin’s MA topic looked at permafrost in the context of climate change in alpine environments. He looked at the kinematics of a rock glacier high in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado. What made his project unique was his strong mentorship and dedication to UCCS undergraduate student research. Austin trained four undergraduate students in surveying, environmental data collection, and he shared his knowledge of cryosphere processes and climate change science with the group. The students, two of whom were completing Undergraduate Research Academy (URA) projects, have all presented their independent research projects at conferences and are on their way to earning advanced degrees and geosciences-related careers. Austin served as a teaching assistant for an upper-level remote sensing course, a teaching assistant and tutor for a landforms and soils course, has given guest lectures on permafrost to an upper-level geomorphology course, and has competed (and placed) in graduate student research competitions. Austin recently returned from an intensive glaciology course in Svalbard, Norway, where he wrote a comprehensive research proposal, and worked alongside international cryosphere scientists. Austin’s career plans are to become a college professor in a geosciences program. He is well on his way toward achieving this goal – with an arsenal of academic experience on his CV, he was recently accepted to a PhD program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (his top choice), with a fall 2022 term start.