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Graduate Students

Filipa Lopes Dias
Filipa Lopes DiasI have completed a B.S. and an M.S. in Geology in the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Porto, in Portugal. While working on my M.S. degree, I became interested in mineral resources, particularly in lithium (Li) pegmatites, containing Li-minerals such as spodumene and petalite and tin (Sn) minerals such as cassiterite. As part of my M.S. thesis, I conducted field work and petrographic studies on pegmatites from Northern Portugal. Based on these methods, we have developed a method to explore for Li-rich veins, integrating the Li- and Sn-contents of local stream sediments with ArcGis software. We have used the Sn and Li concentration in sediments to predict whether both petalite-spodumene and only petalite are present in the source pegmatites. This discovery impacts mining of lithium for the ceramics and lithium-battery industries.

Pegmatites are a type of igneous rock that continue to interest me not only for their economic potential, but also for their puzzling mineral textures, complex crystallization processes, and unusual geochemical enrichments in rare metals. Starting August 2017, I have become a PhD student under the advisement of Dr. Mona Sirbescu, in the Earth and Ecosystem Science Program, hoping to answer some of the many questions I have on pegmatite origins, using advanced analytical methods of geochemistry and mineral science. Besides studying geology, I have continued my karate practice, started since I was 8 years old. Karate has been my escape that has helped me focus on something else, at times when nothing else matters. I also like to read and enjoy the outdoors while running, swimming, and hiking.


Leah Jackson
Leah JacksonI'm currently a PhD student in the Earth and Ecosystem Science Program under the advisement of Dr. Lawrence Lemke. My research focuses on hydrogeologic and stratigraphic groundwater modeling to trace 1,4 Dioxane plume migration within a complex glacial aquifer system near Ann Arbor. Prior to starting at Central Michigan University, I earned my M.Sc. in Geoscience from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky with an emphasis on carbon sourcing and transport in telogenetic karst aquifer systems, and my B.Sc. in Geology from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In between earning my Bachelors and my Masters, I spent two years working as an MWD field engineer for Baker Hughes in the oil fields of west Texas and eastern New Mexico.  Upon completion of my PhD, I'd like to pursue a postdoctoral position where there is a need for abundant clean drinking water, followed by a professorship position in a research based university setting.  When I'm not buried in research literature or hammering away at my keyboard to meet manuscript deadlines, I'm out on a lake or river in my kayak, or traversing some backwoods trail, or publishing women's fiction. I also enjoy painting tropical landscapes and participating in local and regional 5k's.

​​Heidi Babos 
Heidi BabosAt the University of Mount Union, I completed a B.S. in Environmental Science with a Geology concentration. After graduation, I joined AmeriCorps, in Ohio Stream Restore Corps for one year of service. In collaboration with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, my tasks consisted in lab work, sample collection and visits to local public schools. The goal was to provide remediation and community awareness of acid mine drainage contamination of Appalachian streams from past coal mining. At the same time, I took on an internship at an environmental engineering firm, where I contributed to providing background reports and fieldwork for abandoned landfills. Interested in graduate school, I went overseas to achieve a M.Sc. in Environmental Archaeology (Geochemistry) at the University of Reading (England). Since 2015, I have been working as a Ph.D. candidate within the STARLAB under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Chappaz. My research focuses on studying chromium speciation and distribution in modern and ancient sedimentary records.

I plan to further academic research in molecular geochemistry intent on professorship, specifically by expanding trace metal research within natural systems. Ultimately, I aim to add geomorphology to my pedigree, as the union of both specializations would provide for much stronger and more robust analyses and interpretations of anthropogenic and climatic proxies.

When I'm not burning the midnight oil on manuscripts or lab work, I like to employ my musical talents (saxophone, piano, guitar), enjoy nature (bicycling, skiing, hiking), or make wonderful smells in the kitchen. I also volunteer around Central, assisting with cooking Sunday night dinners at Wesley and as a conversation partner to international students.

Maria Timmer

I am currently a PhD student in the Earth and Ecosystem Science Program. My research focus is extreme weather and climate. I have been interested in weather since I was 5 years old, when Category 5 Hurricane Andrew hit my hometown in South Florida. I graduated cum laude from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in meteorology and minors in mathematics and communications. I later attended Columbia University, where I graduated with a Masters degree in Climate and Society. 

My professional background has been somewhat diverse. I have worked as a middle school Earth and Space Science Teacher, a bilingual meteorologist for AccuWeather providing weather forecasts in Spanish and English, and a meteorologist for the Fox News Channel. During my time at Fox News, I covered natural disasters, such as Superstorm Sandy and the 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. Currently, I fill-in at the Fox Detroit station as a meteorologist.

I am a member of the American Meteorological Society, earning my Certified Broadcast Meteorologist designation in 2011. While at Florida State University, I was also a member of the Women in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Organization. 

During my spare time, I enjoy hiking, storm chasing, and photographing nature. While in Michigan, I hope to explore the Upper Peninsula, get hammered by lake effect snow, and see the northern lights. ​


Stephan Hlohowskyj

Stephan HlohowskyjI spent most of my early life growing up in fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada where I attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas and earned a B.Sc. in Geology. After graduation, I went to the University of California, Riverside where I completed a M.Sc. in Environmental Science with a focus on soil science. During the last seven years, I worked as a lab manager in charge of analytical instrument laboratories at three different academic institutions; UC Riverside, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Arizona. While at these institutions, I contributed to the success of several research projects ranging from the fate of aquatic contaminants in the environment to the paleoclimate of El Niño on eastern Pacific coral reefs. In 2016, I joined the Earth and Ecosystem Science Ph.D. program at Central Michigan University. Under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Chappaz, my research is aimed at elucidating trace metal speciation in natural aquatic systems (specifically molybdenum and rhenium).

After completing my Ph.D., I plan to apply for postdoctoral positions and eventually become a professor at an academic research institute. This is my first time living in the Midwest, and being an avid scuba diver I look forward to diving and exploring all 5 great lakes.​