Baylor Grad Student Accepted Into Prominent NSF Program

April 25, 2007
News Photo 4069Julia Kahmann

by Frank Raczkiewicz

A Baylor University graduate student has been accepted into the 2007 National Science Foundation's East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Program, an honor given to just a few graduate students in the country. Julia Kahmann, a geology doctoral student, will spend the summer in Beijing, conducting chemical analysis at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. As part of the award, Kahmann's round trip airfare is paid and she will be given a financial stipend.

"I was surprised beyond belief," said Kahmann, who is from Spokane, Wash. "China has a wealth to offer. Doors are opening wider and wider in that part of the world, and with that will come untold knowledge and opportunity."

The goal of the program is to provide graduate students with first-hand research experience in Australia, China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan and introduce them to the culture and language of the region. In Kahmann's case, she will work with Dr. Zhengtang Guo, chairman of the China International Geosphere-Biosphere Program. She will seek to prove her hypothesis that trace element chemistry of ancient soils that developed on the Chinese plateaus about 2.5 million years ago can record the changing strength of the Asian monsoon.

"If this hypothesis proves correct, the method will be a great tool in interpreting past climate change," Kahmann said. "It could lead to the creation of more robust climate models for future global climate change."

Kahmann will leave in June and will return in mid-August.

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