by Kaci Fowler
Amelia Paukert considers herself “environmentally inclined” because of her early exposure to nature and horseback riding in her native Napa Valley, California. Her fascination with the water cycle helped spark her passion for environmental science.
Amelia satisfies her scientific appetite by conducting research with the Earth Institute and Columbia’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences Ph.D. program. “I really like the diversity of the scientists at Lamont. They are great resources for my research,” she explains.
The Ph.D. candidate credits the Earth Institute travel grant program with providing her the opportunity to develop new solutions to environmental problems through a unique research experience. Under the guidance of Juerg Matter, associate research scientist at Lamont, Amelia was given the freedom to discover innovative research. She believes this gave her a “greater feeling of satisfaction by exploring the unknown.”
Amelia traveled to Muscat, Oman to collect and analyze water and mineral samples from wells and springs in order to study the natural mineralization of carbon dioxide, for her dissertation entitled, Enhanced in situ CO2 Storage Via Mineralization in the Samail Ophiolite, Sultanate of Oman. She constructed a model from her data that described the natural process, and subsequently recommended ways to enhance CO2 storage via mineralization.
“Studying what nature does on its own, instead of trying to engineer what hasn’t been done before,” is essential to research, says Amelia. A typical day of fieldwork in Oman consisted of camping in the desert, taking water samples from various well depths and analyzing geophysical logging.
Kaci Fowler is a student in the Master of Science in Communications Practice program in the School of Continuing Education at Columbia University.