Alyssa Olson Honored Twice, March 7, 2000

SOCORRO, N.M., March 7, 2000 -- Many New Mexico Tech students distinguish themselves while attending the university or do so later in their professional careers, but Tech graduate student Alyssa J. Olson is one of the few who can say she's done both at the same time.

Olson, who currently is pursuing a master of science degree in hydrology at New Mexico Tech, was named the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) "Student of the Month" in a recent issue of The LANL Newsbulletin. (Scroll about halfway down for article on Olson.)

In addition to being a Tech grad student, Olson also is one of LANL's graduate research students who is employed through the national lab's prestigious Pipeline Student Program -- an initiative developed to help talented and motivated secondary and post-secondary students identify and secure placement in progressively more challenging educational, student employment, and career opportunities in science, mathematics, engineering, technology, or other fields crucial to LANL.

The American Geophysical Union (AGU) also recently chose to honor Olson by naming her as one of the dozen or so nationwide recipients of the AGU Hydrology Section's "Outstanding Student
Paper" award.

Olson's research paper, "Convective Transport in a Cavity/Chimney System after an Underground Nuclear Test," done in collaboration with fellow LANL researchers, was presented at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco this past December.

"Alyssa Olson is one of the best students I have ever had the pleasure of working with," says Andrew Wolfsberg, Olson's research mentor at LANL, who also is one of the co-authors of her award-winning paper.

"This truly is an honor for the Laboratory to have Alyssa working here and bringing home such a distinguished award," Wolfsberg adds.

The research work which Olson presented in her paper at the AGU Fall Meeting involves the development of computer models that simulate groundwater flow and the transport of chemicals in groundwater.

Her thesis work at New Mexico Tech, being completed under the direction of Tech hydrology professor Fred M. Phillips, entails analyzing carbon and oxygen isotopes in lake sediments to determine ancient climate records for mid-continental regions.

When Olson isn't working on her thesis or research work at LANL, she also finds time to volunteer as a tutor at Santa Clara Pueblo in northern New Mexico.