Julie Brigham-Grette

Year:
1977
Major:
Geology
Graduate/Professional School:
Ph.D., University of Colorado
Residence:
Amherst, Mass.
Career:
Professor of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts
In a nutshell, what do you do?
I am a researcher, educator, and mentor in paleoclimate studies.
Please describe some of your research.
My research interests are on the stratigraphy, sedimentology, and chronology of geologic systems that record the climate evolution and sea level history of the Arctic since the mid-Pliocene. My research program is largely aimed at documenting the global context of paleoenvironmental change across "Beringia," i.e., the Bering Land Bridge, stretching across the western Arctic from Alaska and the Yukon into northeastern Russia and adjacent marginal seas.

I have served as U.S. Chief Scientist of the El’gygytgyn Lake Scientific Drilling Project, a multinational program leading to the first, unprecedented, recovery of a 3.6-million-year record of paleoclimate in 2009. In collaboration with colleagues, I also study sea ice proxies and paleoceanography across the Arctic-Pacific gateway.

Since 2005, I have collaborated with colleagues at Bates, Mount Holyoke, and Hampshire colleges alongside Northern Illinois University with a research program for undergraduate students on Svalbard tidewater glaciers. At home, I maintain an interest in the late Pleistocene paleoclimatic history and drainage record of Glacial Lake Hitchcock and the Holocene evolution of the Connecticut River. I've been at UMass for 25 years and teach courses in glacial geology, paleoclimate, and oceanography.
Why do you love what you do?
The pursuit of science and new knowledge is really exciting. And for most geologists, we just love the fieldwork in remote places. I have been blessed with projects in many parts of the Arctic. Moreover, the promotion and mentoring of science and sharing that experience with colleagues around the world is gratifying. I am sincerely concerned for the science literacy of our country and am motivated to try and make a difference in that regard.
How did Albion help you get there?
At Albion I was inspired by fabulous teachers and by the field opportunities that came along during my years there. Furthermore, I gained confidence in my abilities and developed leadership skills through many extracurricular activities. Having grown up in a small town, Albion was a great place to expand both my personal and physical horizons.
For me, Albion ...
... was a critical piece in my academic career that most likely paved the way to where I am now: always inspired, encouraged, and stimulated by new ideas. Albion nurtured for me a way of life.

Take It Further: Julie's research on YouTube, Geological Sciences, Field Opportunities