Alison R. Duvall will receive the 2016 Luna B. Leopold Young Scientist Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “a young scientist for making a significant and outstanding contribution that advances the field of Earth and planetary surface processes.”
Thank you for the generous citation. I am deeply honored to receive the 2016 Luna B. Leopold Award and thrilled to join the list of esteemed scientists who received this award before me.
Looking back, I cringe a little recalling my master’s degree application. I think I checked almost every desired specialization—a classic mistake. Somehow, Doug Burbank and Eric Kirby looked past my greenness and took a chance on me. I am forever grateful that they did.
Through the next years, I sharpened my interests and learned much about rising mountains and the surface processes that act to shape them. But the greatest lesson they taught me was that it was okay, advantageous even, to cross disciplinary boundaries in order to chase big scientific questions.
And so I have.
Asking questions beyond a narrow subfield helped give me the confidence to say yes when Marin Clark offered me a Ph.D. tackling problems as heady and complex as the formation of the Tibetan Plateau. With Marin’s guidance, I gained a fuller appreciation for how what happens far below Earth’s surface affects the processes that we study above. She showed me how to meld geodynamics, tectonics, and geomorphology with a tool kit that stretches from the field to the lab to the equation on the back of a napkin.
Marin was also the first female geoscience mentor in my life. Her success and positive example influenced me profoundly as a young woman forging a path in a male-dominated profession.
Finally, I thank Greg Tucker for agreeing to take me as a postdoc, despite my glaring lack of modeling experience. His kindness, generosity, and landscape brilliance have contributed richly to my science and allowed me to interweave my core research pillars—rivers, hillslopes, and faults—using a single beautiful landscape model.
Thank you!—Alison R. Duvall, University of Washington, Seattle