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Getting to Know ARCS Scholar Erin Peck

Posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Is there any surprise in learning that the first word spoken by scholar Erin Peck was “dirt”?

Dirt has figured heavily in this scholar’s rise to her current status as a scientist/researcher.  The focus of her research is “quantifying and comparing the carbon and sediment accumulation rates in tidal salt marshes within Oregon estuaries of differing sediment supply to sea-level rise rates”.

While in high school, Erin had been interested in history and biology.  The transition to geology was a natural one when a college class in analytical chemistry led to a research spot in her professor’s lab, studying sediment and discovering the vast number of chemical reactions that occur in it.

Erin’s parents, both of whom are mechanical engineers, strongly supported her interest in geology at Franklin and Marshall in Philadelphia, not far from where she grew up.  Upon graduating she knew she was drawn to a coastal area to attend graduate school, so she headed west to the College of Earth, Ocean & Atmospheric Sciences at OSU.  What she had not expected to experience was culture shock, and admits to not having been prepared for it.  Over time, however, the impact of just how connected people were to their environment in Oregon deepened Erin’s own connection to the very different culture she had entered and she is happy with both the school and her surroundings.

Her plan is to continue research around issues like the sedimentation change that occurs after massive earthquakes and tsunamis take place.  Her hope is to teach at a small liberal arts college.

When she isn’t teaching, reading or doing research, Erin will be rock-climbing - something that a geology major, whose first word was “dirt” is very good at.