Behind the Rocks
Meet Emilie Gentry
Born and raised in the Rocky Mountains, I had a unique childhood that greatly shaped my life. While other kids were at summer camps, I spent three months camping in Wyoming with a keen awareness of how far away society was. When it came time to set my sights on a career path, the obvious decision was that I should pursue a career in a subject that sparked my interest. I entered undergraduate studies at the University of Texas, Austin (UT) as a geoscience major, and haven’t looked back.
The first subject that really sparked my scientific curiosity was Structural Geology. This class taught me to unravel the puzzle of regional geology to interpret how the Earth formed its present-day structures. Soon after, I was accepted into the Jackson Honors Program. My fascination with faults led me to Dr. Whitney Behr’s structural geology and active tectonics research group. My undergraduate research with Dr. Behr focused on the presence of pseudotachylites in the Whipple Mountains in order to place implications of seismicity along low angle normal faults. This project took my passion for geoscience and research to the next level and lead me to further my education and seek out Dr. Yvette Kuiper for a Master’s project focusing on structural geology.
When Dr. Kuiper presented me with the project she had in mind on the Norumbega fault, I was instantly intrigued. The project would involve mapping the southern extent of the Norumbega fault system, which was a large strike-slip fault that extended over 300 km. Then termination of this major fault was not mapped or understood. It amazed me that such a rudimentary geologic problem was left unanswered. I was intrigued by its simplicity and larger implications of understanding the tectonics of the New England Appalachians.
With Yvette’s help, we designed a project that allowed me to gain experience in field work, laboratory analysis, and modeling in order to answer this research question. Little did I know that I would be looking at some extremely beautiful rocks or that I would be using high powered laser technology and science to make conclusions on the ages of these rocks that would ultimately support a tectonic models that shape the way geoscientists think of the tectonics that formed the New England Appalachians!
In addition to exciting research, I have always had an enthusiasm to build a strong community for geoscientists. As an undergraduate, I helped establish Geoscience Leadership Organization for Women (G.L.O.W.) during my freshman year. This organization was founded to promote leadership, outreach, and community within earth sciences to encourage all undergraduate, graduate, and faculty members to work together to improve the retention of women in geoscience careers and encourage young females considering science as a future career option.
Upon arriving to Colorado for my graduate degree, I became the second re-establishing president of the Laramide Chapter of the Association for Women Geoscientists. This involved reviving the chapter and create a community for professional development to help women in geosciences continually grow. Creating a supportive community and giving back to the community through STEM outreach to educate future generations has always been a huge passion of mine.
Since graduating with my Masters, I have worked for Encana, an energy company located in Denver. My passions still lie within structural geoscience and scientific research. Working on this project to showcase the beauty of the rocks along the Norumbega fault system has been very special to stay connected and share these beautiful and interesting findings with so many others!