Ph.D. Student at UMass Amherst Wins Fulbright Grant

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts Ph.D. student Lyn Gualtieri, of Boxford, has received a Fulbright Fellowship to study glacial rocks in Iceland. Gualtieri earned her bachelor’s degree at UMass, and a master’s degree at the University of Alberta, Canada.

Gualtieri is a doctoral candidate in geosciences. Although the amount of the award has not yet been determined, the grant will pay for her living expenses while she spends nine to 12 months in Iceland, studying glacial "erratics." These are rocks, ranging from boulders to some the size of houses, which have been moved from one location to another by glaciers thousands and hundreds of thousands of years ago.

Specifically, Gualtieri will evaluate a new method of determining how long ago the rocks were moved. The new method involves chipping away the top two inches of a boulder, grinding it into a powder, and conducting chemical tests on it. This information helps scientists to draw conclusions about past climate conditions.

"The awarding of a Fulbright Fellowship to Ms. Gualtieri highlights the research strengths of our geosciences department," said Linda Slakey, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. "Her work, and that of others in the department, helps us to better understand how Earth’s climate has changed over millions of years. We’re very pleased that the quality of work at UMass is now beginning to get an appropriate level of attention when major competitive awards are given out."