The Office of Research Announces First Awardee of the Evan Millsap Memorial URCO Grant

Utah State University’s Office of Research announced the first awardee of the Evan Millsap Memorial Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunity (URC0) grant. Anna Paulding, a senior in the Geosciences department, will be awarded the named grant in the spring semester of 2020. Her proposal, mentored by Kelly Bradbury, is titled “Use of a portable handheld X-ray fluorescence unit (pXRF) to measure alteration in fault zones: Implications for hydrologic rock properties and injection induced seismicity.” 

The Evan Millsap Memorial URCO Award was created to honor the memory of a talented young researcher who passed away unexpectedly during the summer of 2019. Evan Millsap graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor’s in geosciences. He was vigorously involved in undergraduate research and was awarded an URCO grant for his original project titled “Age control for the buck tank draw mammoth site, Big Water, Utah.” Millsap’s project was among the top 30 percent of submissions in his application cycle, and the award follows that legacy of achievement. 

Paulding is the first Evan Millsap Memorial URCO awardee, as her geoscience research was placed among the top 30% of all submitted projects in the round. This award was especially meaningful to Paulding because she had known Millsap during his time at USU and credits him with supporting her decision to pursue a geology degree. 

“For my first year at Utah State, I always knew I loved geology, but I didn’t know if I wanted to get my degree in it,” Paulding said. “I remember asking Evan about his experience, and, after hearing his positive feedback, I finally decided to declare geology.” 

In the summer of 2019, Paulding received a summer College of Science mini-grant for her research into injection induced seismicity and “excelled while doing her fieldwork project in Gunnison, Colorado” her mentor Bradbury stated. The opportunity was able to give her the experience that she needed to submit her successful URCO proposal. With her URCO grant, she will be using a portable handheld X-ray flourescence unit (pXRF) as a rapid and inexpensive tool to measure whole-rock major and minor trace elements in an outcrop analog site near Gunnison, Colorado. Paulding plans using this experience to prepare for graduate school. 

“This experience has given me the opportunity to gain a strong foundation for future career opportunities,” Paulding said.