Rachel is a PhD student working on the rheological properties of the mantle.
How did you get interested in what you study?
I was worked as a Science Assistant at NSF and as part of my job I was attending AGU. My only goal for the conference was to be inspired by something and instantaneously know what I wanted to focus on in grad school. I knew I was interested in something tectonics related, but not much else. So I was aimlessly wandering around the poster hall Tectonophysics aisle, hoping for something to catch my attention, and it did! I saw a postdoc's poster that looked really interesting, and made a mental note to come back in a few hours when the afternoon session started. Luckily, I made it back because that postdoc is now my advisor, Whitney Behr.
What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on writing, or rather, working on psyching myself up to writing. As for the science of it, I'm currently working on figuring out what conditions affect the development of olivine lattice preferred orientation in mantle rocks. This is important, because olivine LPO is what controls seismic anisotropy, a measurement that can tell us about the direction of mantle flow.
What advice do you have for people just getting started in your field?
My advice to undergrads interested in my field is to get some research experiences under your belt. It doesn't have to be anything that results in a publication, but a summer spent assisting in a research project will help you immensely when applying to grad school.
What is your favorite thing to do when not working?
My favorite thing to do when I'm not working is shopping, decorating my apartment, cuddling with my dog, and watching TV. I'm very intellectual.