Thank you Ed for those really kind words. Madame President, Members of the Society, Colleagues, and Guests: Thank you for this incredible honor. I felt extremely humbled when I found out that I would be receiving this award and then even more so when I looked at the list of previous awardees. I am truly honored to be in the cohort of such a remarkable group of scientists.
I can’t say that I was one of those people that always knew what they would become. The only thing I knew as a child was that I loved math but that most of all I loved to learn. My goal was to stay in school as long as possible as I loved nothing more than opening a crisp new notebook at the beginning of the school year and writing down pages and pages of notes that my teachers would recite. I couldn’t think of anything better. I was an engineering major in undergrad but had no clear path forward until I started hiking around the Ithaca gorges for a few years and I suddenly became very curious about them! So during my junior year in college, I took mineralogy with Sue Kay and it changed everything. We were assigned a project where we had to find any mineral and figure out what it was. I found a beautiful green mineral, powdered it and put it in a diffractometer. Within minutes I knew what it was. I was amazed! It was then I realized that the only thing better than taking notes about someone else’s research was taking notes about my own research. I became extremely enamored with mineralogy and was lucky enough that Professor Bassett offered to teach me advanced mineralogy the following year. It was then that I learned more about crystal structure as well as what a synchrotron was, what a diamond anvil cell was, and amazingly what the Geophysical Laboratory was. Little did I know at the time how much that year would influence my future path.
Since then I have taken several paths through stable isotope geochemistry, experimental petrology, cosmochemistry, mineral physics, and planetary science. Throughout this time there have been many people that have mentored me, listened to me and educated me. I am thankful to Dave Mao for giving me the opportunity to come to GL as an intern, 14 years ago. I am grateful to all of my Professors at UCLA and, in particular, Ed Young and Craig Manning, for giving me freedom, support, and guidance while I was a graduate student. Ed’s enthusiasm for science is contagious and I hope to always be as excited about science as he has been throughout his career. He has been a true mentor and friend to me and I can’t thank him enough. One of the most painful parts of graduate school, however, was spending countless hours making assemblies for piston-cylinder experiments and I thank Cam Macris for being my partner in crime during those long nights and for being a great friend.
Most recently, I have had the honor of being a Staff Member at the Geophysical Laboratory and being surrounded by dedicated colleagues at both GL and DTM. I would like to thank Rus Hemley for taking a chance on me as a young postdoc and hiring me onto the staff. I am thankful for all the mentoring and guidance I have received from everyone at BBR, and in particular to Yingwei Fei, Doug Rumble, George Cody, Andrew Steele, Steve Shirey, Bob Hazen, Rick Carlson, Mary Horan, and Tim Mock. Being successful in science is definitely a team effort and I am appreciative to be surrounded by such a great team at the Carnegie Institution. This team of course, is also full of a network of hard-working postdocs, students, and interns with whom I have had the enormous pleasure of working with over the past seven years. I would like to thank all of them for teaching me to think in new ways, for making science more fun, and for teaching me how to be a better mentor. It has been a privilege to work with all of you.
I would also like to thank Marilyn Fogel, Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Roberta Rudnick, Abby Kavner, Sonia Esperanca, and Vera Rubin for being strong female role models at different points in my career thus far. There have been times where their advice or even just their presence has helped me immensely.
I would like to end by thanking my family. My parents have always pushed me to work hard and do my best while my kids have pushed me to places I did not know existed! In both cases they have helped me to be a better person. Raising a family is the most challenging experiment I have ever conducted and like all difficult tasks, it is also the most rewarding. With that in mind, I would like to thank my husband Aaron, for being my best friend and my partner in life. Again, I thank you very much for this honor.