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Scott Samson to receive 2012 Wasserstrom Prize

April 30, 2012

Judy Holmes
(315) 443-8085

Scott Samson, professor of earth sciences in The College of Arts and Sciences, will receive the 2012 William Wasserstrom Prize for the Teaching of Graduate Students. The award will be presented during the 2012 Graduate School Doctoral Hooding Ceremony and Reception on Friday, May 11, at 5 p.m.

samsonThe prize is awarded annually in memory of English Professor William Wasserstrom to faculty members in The College of Arts and Sciences who exemplify Wasserstrom’s outstanding success as a graduate seminar leader, research and dissertation director, and advisor and role model for graduate students.

“Scott Samson is a highly respected geochemist with a very active research agenda and whose expertise in the classroom touches many students,” says George M. Langford, dean of The College of Arts and Sciences. “Likewise, the accomplishments of the graduate students he has mentored are impressive.”

Samson is internationally recognized for his research using geochemical approaches to study the evolution of the Earth’s crust, determining the origin of sedimentary rocks and unraveling the history of major tectonic events across the globe. The analysis work is done in his state-of-the-art, climate-controlled research lab, which houses two thermal ionization mass spectrometers. The National Science Foundation has continually funded his research since 1994. Samson is the author or co-author of more than 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, two book chapters and numerous abstracts presented during invited talks all over the world.

Samson brings his research into the classroom through graduate courses in radiogenic isotope geochemistry, geochronology and stable isotope geochemistry. He also teaches several undergraduate courses and combined undergraduate/graduate courses in advanced topics in geochemistry and the geochemical record of major events in the history of life on Earth. Over the course of his career, Samson has mentored six Ph.D. students, five master’s students and four postdoctoral investigators, all of whom have gone on to become successful professional geologists or faculty members at universities, both in the United States and abroad. Samson was a host scientist for Fulbright Scholar Abderahim Essaifi from Morocco, and with Essaifi, established the Morocco-Syracuse Earth Sciences Consortium.

Samson is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and received the organization’s Best Speaker Award (1987). He holds a Ph.D. in geochemistry from the University of Arizona, an M.S. in geology from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. in geology from Oregon State University.

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