Dr. Ellen Cowan
Professor of sedimentary record of climate change, geoarchaeology and geomorphology
Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Geological Society of America Fellowship
The Geological Society of America
“Ellen Cowan is an exemplary geoscience teacher and researcher who has achieved an outstanding record of inspiring and mentoring students …”
Dr. Fred Webb Jr., emeritus professor of sedimentary geology
BOONE, N.C. — The Geological Society of America (GSA) has named Appalachian State University’s Dr. Ellen Cowan, professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, a 2018 GSA Fellow. She will be honored with the award at the society’s annual meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, Nov. 4–7.
The GSA Fellowship recognizes geoscientists who have made extraordinary contributions to the field through their research, teaching, leadership, public outreach and other activities. Cowan’s long record of mentorship of undergraduate researchers and integration of research into classroom activities were highlighted in her nomination.
Fellowship recognition is an honor bestowed on the best in the geology profession by election at the spring GSA Council meeting. GSA members are nominated by existing GSA Fellows in recognition of their distinguished contributions to the geosciences through such avenues as the following:
- applied research;
- administration of geological programs;
- contributing to the public awareness of geology;
- leadership of professional organizations; and
- taking on editorial, bibliographic and library responsibilities.
“Ellen Cowan is an exemplary geoscience teacher and researcher who has achieved an outstanding record of inspiring and mentoring students by actively involving them in her research projects, continuously directing senior honors theses and effectively teaching, while integrating her research experiences into content of her upper-level undergraduate courses,” Dr. Fred Webb Jr. said.
Webb, who is emeritus professor of sedimentary geology in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, nominated Cowan for the fellowship.
Cowan teaches a variety of introductory and advanced classes, including Introduction to Physical Geology, Introduction to Oceanography, Geomorphology and Geoarchaeology, but conducts research in glacial-marine sedimentology and climate change, as well as in transport of coal ash from spills into North Carolina and Tennessee rivers.
Next semester she will join a two-month expedition to Antarctica as part of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP), which will drill sediment cores into the seafloor to document the history of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
To learn more about Cowan, visit her faculty profile.
About the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Located in Western North Carolina, Appalachian State University provides the perfect setting to study geological and environmental sciences. The Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences provides students with a solid foundation on which to prepare for graduate school or build successful careers as scientists, consultants and secondary education teachers. The department offers six degree options in geology and two degree options in environmental science. Learn more at https://earth.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 20,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.
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