Veterans’ Memorial Scholarship For Any Veteran or Current Member of Any Branch of the United States Armed Forces

The Veterans’ Memorials Scholarship is awarded to a graduate student at any accredited college or university who is a veteran or who is currently serving in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.  It seeks to reward excellence in geologic achievement and has few restrictions.  The Foundation welcomes applications in all earth science-related sub-disciplines, many of which are listed on the application page. This scholarship was created in memory of geologists who served in the Armed Forces and have sacrificed time and life to preserve freedom in our country.  It has been supported primarily by World War II veterans who are member of RMAG and their families.

The 2024 Veteran’s Memorial Scholarship was awarded to:

Elisa McGhee, Ph.D. candidate, Seismology & Geophysics, Colorado State University

Elisa McGhee, Ph.D. candidate, Seismology & Geophysics, Colorado State University

Elisa’s primary dissertation topic is “Oceanic Controlling Mechanisms of Swell-Induced Micro-icequakes Recorded at Three Near-Ice-Front Stations on the Ross Ice Shelf, Antarctica,” and her work is under the supervision of Dr. Richard Aster. Elisa is analyzing seismic waveforms to deepen our insights into the predominant forces influencing the stability of the world’s largest ice shelf, focusing on signals of calving and fracture at the ice-front. She is compiling a two-year catalog of ocean swell-induced seismic events through matched filter, peak amplitude, and cross-correlation methods to create icequake subevent types. She will investigate the coupling of icequakes to various ice, ocean, and atmospheric conditions to determine the primary controlling mechanisms which induce seismogenic ice-front damage. Additionally, her minor dissertation topic leverages Distributed Acoustic Sensing technology to acquire seismoacoustic signals generated by natural and anthropogenic sources. She will examine the ambient noise in this dataset with Los Alamos National Laboratory as a Graduate Research Associate later this year. 

Elisa completed a P.S.M. degree in Environmental Geoscience, an M.A. in Education, and a B.S. in Applied Research Meteorology from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She spent 15 years as a C-130 pilot in the U.S. Air Force, where she served on 3 combat deployments and in multiple international exercises for interoperability and readiness. She is currently a part-time U.S. Air Force Reservist, where she is an instructor of orbital mechanics.

Recent winner of the Veterans Memorial Scholarship:


Patricia Standring, Ph.D. candidate, Geology, University of Texas, Austin

Patricia Standring, Ph.D. candidate, Geology, University of Texas, Austin

Patty’s dissertation topic is “Ocean circulation changes in the western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico during the Eocene-Oligocene transition.” Patty’s work is under the direction of Dr. Chris Lowery. She plans to use foraminiferal population and geochemical analyses to reconstruct deep-water flow, surface water circulation changes and foraminiferal turnover. She will be working with existing sediment cores collected by the Deep Sea Drilling Project and the Ocean Drilling Project from a number of drill sites. She will analyze oxygen isotope ratios which will help provide paleoenvironmental data for both deep and shallow water environments. X-ray fluorescence scanning of sediment cores will reveal abundance of major, minor, and trace elements that can reflect changes in oceanic processes through time.

Patty has a B.S. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas, Austin, and an A.A. in Persian-Afghan from the Defense Language Institute. She is a veteran of the United States Air Force. The Foundation Trustees thank her for her service.


Wade Aubin, PhD candidate, University of Texas at Austin, Jackson School of Geosciences
“Unraveling the thermal evolution of the pyroclastic density currents from the Crater Lake climactic eruption”