Polar Palooza - North
Kathy LichtKathy Licht
Associate Professor of Earth Sciences
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

If Dr. Kathy Licht hadn't taken a captivating introductory geology course in college, you might have found her anywhere but remote field sites in Antarctica or the halls of the School of Science at IUPUI. What "expanded the imagination" of this once business major-turned-geologist is the very thing she aims to convey to her students today the relevance of geology to everyday life. "If students only take one science course, geology is ideal because it's so applicable," explains Licht, who divides her time teaching a graduate-level course in glacial geology one of her specialties and current research focus and several introductory geology classes. Licht also serves as an advisory board member for the Women in Science House, an academic residential community at IUPUI. Her role as an advisor and mentor is one she particularly enjoys, affording more time for her to interact with students one-on-one.

In early 2007, Kathy completed her third trip to Antarctica to study the history and effects of glaciers on the landscape and climate system. She first became interested in glacial geology as a graduate student at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she received her doctorate in 1999. "One of my main research interests is examining change in the Antarctic ice sheet over time. Antarctica represents the biggest unknown in predicting global sea level rise. Constraining the magnitude of the Antarctic ice sheet's future response to changing climate and rising sea level depend, on a large extent, to improving our knowledge and understanding of ice dynamics during the last glacial minimum (approx. 18,000 years ago.)"

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