Pennsylvania State University’s Kimberly Lau Is a Real “Rock” Star

Kimberly Lau, assistant professor of geosciences and an associate in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Pennsylvania State University, 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 Melds of research, mentoring, service, and leadership in the geobiology and geomicrobiology community. Dr. Lau will receive the award and give a presentation at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of American in Portland, Oregon in October.

“It’s an honor knowing that my colleagues recognize my work and appreciate what I do,” said Dr. 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.”

Dr. 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. She also looks to 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.

Before joining Penn State in July 2020, Dr. 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.

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