KU News Release

June 13, 2011
Contact: Rex Buchanan, Kansas Geological Survey, 785-864-2106

Kansas Geological Survey recognizes outstanding students

More Information

LAWRENCE — Four students at the University of Kansas have received outstanding achievement awards from the Kansas Geological Survey, based on KU’s west campus.

Scott Klopfenstein, a master’s student in geography from Lawrence, received the Jack Dangermond/ESRI Geospatial Technologies Student Award for his work in Cartographic Services. He has refined and documented procedures to improve map quality and efficiency. He also helped prepare several surficial geology maps, including the recently released Geary County map. Klopfenstein received a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies from KU in 2008. He is the son of Larry and Diana Klopfenstein and a Lawrence High School graduate. The award was established by Dangermond, president of the Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc., to recognize student accomplishments in the application of geospatial technologies.

Diana Ortega-Ariza, a doctoral student in geology from Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, received the Lee C. and Darcy Gerhard Field Research Student Award for fieldwork in Puerto Rico, where she is studying Miocene limestone systems in the Caribbean to help better understand how carbonate systems have formed throughout geologic history. Her findings may be applicable to other outcrop and subsurface studies, such as those in Kansas, and the development of models used to predict the location of oil reservoirs in carbonate systems. Ortega-Ariza received a master’s degree in geology from the University of Puerto Rico and a bachelor’s degree from the Universidad Nacional de Columbia in 2005. The award is named after the Kansas Geological Survey’s director from 1987 to 1999 and his wife.

Robert Zane Price, a doctoral student in geography from Bates, Mo., received the Norman Plummer Outstanding Student Award for his assistance in Cartographic Services in streamlining the process of creating the Kansas Geological Survey’s digitized maps, including the county geologic map series. He developed ways to improve the identification and classification of roads data, created documentation for mapping procedures and proofing, and digitized several county geologic maps and other Kansas Geological Survey map products. Price has a 2003 bachelor’s degree from University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. Plummer was a Kansas Geological Survey employee from 1936 to 1969.

Chong Zeng, a doctoral student in geophysics from Wuhan, China, received the William W. Hambleton Student Research Award for his study of seismic or sound waves of energy that travel through the earth resulting from events such as earthquakes or explosions, with an emphasis on two and three-dimensional near-surface seismic modeling. Zeng is a graduate research assistant in the Kansas Geological Survey’s Exploration Services section. Hambleton was the Kansas Geological Survey’s director from 1970 to 1986.

The Kansas Geological Survey studies and provides information on the state’s geologic resources and hazards, particularly ground water, oil, natural gas and other minerals. It employs approximately 35 students.

The recipients received cash awards and certificates at a mid-May ceremony.

The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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