Student Faculty Research

We strongly encourage our students to engage in geoscience research from their first semester at Millersville.  Students learn how to ask scientific questions, make observations, design experiments, conduct literature reviews, and ultimately present their results.  Our students present at not only our own undergraduate research conference Made In Millersville, but also regional and national meetings of the Geological Society of America and Ocean Sciences meetings.  These experiences are invaluable and give students the edge when applying for graduate school or jobs after graduation.

Dr. Sam Earman

Dr. Earman focuses on water resources issues, including studies of groundwater and surface water.  His specialty is using stable isotopes and hydrogeochemical data to better understand water systems.  Recent research projects have included an analysis of pre-dam vs. post-dam flooding on the Schuykill River near Reading PA; how early COVID lockdowns impacted sewage plant discharge rates in the Lancaster area; and use of machine-learning algorithms to model water-quality impacts from the Susquehanna River on the Chesapeake Bay.

Dr. Lynn Marquez

Dr. Marquez specializes in hydrothermal systems of the oceanic crust as well as igneous and metamorphic petrology.  Her current work focuses on the origin and evolution of the Baltimore Mafic Complex which extends from Baltimore into southeast Pennsylvania. Field and petrographic studies suggest that the complex intruded a sedimented margin during the early stages of Appalachian mountain building.


Baltimore Mafic Complex

Jessica Hetrick '23 conducted field and petrographic studies for her senior thesis.

Dr. Talor Walsh

Dr. Walsh's research focuses on structural geology and the relationships between structural geology and geologic fluid flow.  He is broadly interested in faulting and fracturing in rocks, the evolution of mountain belts, and the relationships between subsurface fluid flow and geologic structures.  His approaches include field-based studies at multiple scales, microstructural studies, experimental modeling, and integrating geological and geochemical data.  He also studies the kinematics and physical evolution of mountain belts using field mapping and physical modeling (sandbox and claybox modeling experiments).  


Structural Geology

Dr. Walsh conducts field and laboratory studies on rock deformation. Cory Grudovich '23 conducted box modeling...

Dr. Robert Vaillancourt

Dr. Vaillancourt is a biological oceanographer with research interests in the initial stages of the ocean's food cycle, namely the fate of sunlight after it has passed from the atmosphere into the ocean and how that radiant energy is used by the primary producers, the phytoplankton.  His recent work focusses on the use of underwater robots, Webb Slocum Gliders, to survey the outer continental shelf of the U.S. east coast and study how the ocean's physical and chemical properties vary with the season and create ideal conditions for the growth of phytoplankton communities.