Mary Urquhart
Fifth Year Grad Student & Research Assistant

The other great thing I was doing was attending, and eventually leading, field trips to all sorts of wonderful places that have features related to other planets. First was Meteor Crater in Arizona, next was Hawaii to study volcanos, then Yellowstone National Park to study hydrothermal systems (what I'm now doing research on was an idea born from that trip). In addition, I have led trips to Death Valley, the Mojave Desert and Rocky Mountain National Park. To me, these trips bring into clearer focus the similarities between our planet and its neighbors in a way that just looking at pictures or reading papers never will. If you can't actually go to Venus, Mars, or the Moon, why not do the next best thing?


My second year in graduate school my fiance came to Colorado and a year later we were married. Sean grew up in the suburbs of Denver, a mere 20-minute drive from Boulder, so for him it was coming home. He loves mountain biking and Boulder is ideal for that sport. Sean also loves his job as a computer scientist, developing programs that display weather data for forecasters. Together we enjoy hiking along the beautiful mountain trails. Now, my fifth year of graduate school, we live happily with our little black cat named Kassandra. I have even found the time to plant a small vegetable garden on the patio of our condo and join the University Singers here at CU. My husband and I plan to buy a house and have children after I graduate and find a job.

Why I Like What I'm Doing

Now that I am finished with my first four years in graduate school and have my masters degree, I don't have to take classes anymore. I still take one or two a semester, though, just because I enjoy learning. I plan on graduating with my Ph.D. in a little less than two years. The best part of my job is that I get paid to learn, and sometimes learn something that no one before me has ever known. Science isn't all in books, it's about discovering new things and looking at the world in new ways. For me, it's also sharing that experience with others.

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