Arizona Geological Society

M. Lee Allison Scholarship

Lee Allison began his career in the oil industry but soon transitioned to a career in public service. Before his life was tragically cut short in August 2016, Lee served with distinction as State Geologist in Utah, Kansas, and Arizona, successively. A dynamic and visionary leader and a gifted mentor, Lee combined innovative scholarship and consummate people skills with enthusiasm and optimism to drive his passion for making geologic information available to the public and for rendering it understandable. He was an articulate spokesman on scientific issues of societal importance and was dedicated to communicating their significance and impact in ways that resonated locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. As a measure of his far-reaching public service efforts, Lee was honored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, the Association of Women Geologists, and the American Institute of Petroleum Geologists.

In recognition of his many contributions, the Arizona Geological Society Geosciences Scholarship was renamed in Lee’s honor following his death. Fittingly, the M. Lee Allison Scholarship is awarded to students who demonstrate exceptional achievement in pursuit of degrees in the earth sciences and who show balanced records exhibiting academic excellence, a passion for research, outstanding professional and general community involvement, and leadership in all of these areas.

For more details about this scholarship visit our Student Outreach Page.

Jessica Bersson

2022 M. Lee Allison Scholarship

Jessica earned her B.A. with Honors at Whitman College, where she won numerous academic awards, including the prestigious Kleinman Award for Volcano Research (USGS) in 2021. Currently a Ph.D. Candidate at the School of Earth and Space Science Exploration, Arizona State University, she has also been honored with ASU's Teaching Excellence Award in 2022.

In her own words, “Originally from Hawaii, I came to ASU to hone my skills as a petrologist and grow as a science communicator. During my time at ASU, I have pursued my passion for science communication through multiple community outreach and science education organizations, allowing me to share my geologic research and expertise with the larger Arizona community. As a geologist in an interdisciplinary department, I have had the opportunity to contextualize my petrology research within a broader framework, strengthening my skills as a geoscientist.”

Ms. Bersson’s research interest “centers on investigating the mechanics of volcanic eruption triggers to better predict future eruptive behavior.” Additionally, she’s examining explosive pits on a rhyolite lava flow at the Valles Caldera, New Mexico.

Emilie Bowman

2022 M. Lee Allison Scholarship

Emilie earned her B.S. at University of Texas at Austin in 2017, and a M.S. at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2019. Currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Dept. of Geosciences, University of Arizona, she has won numerous awards and student grants, including: the Spencer R. Titley Fellowship (April 2022), and Chevron Texaco Geology Fellowship (May 2020).

In her application for the M. Lee Allison Award, Emilie wrote, “I strive to earn a PhD studying the mechanisms that drive magmatism and topographic uplift along subduction zones. My career goal is to join the faculty of a research institution and lead a research group of diverse scientists. In particular, as a female geoscientist, I have had predominantly male mentors with experiences and opportunities that greatly differ from mine. This has made me passionate about using my success as a scientist to set an example for and mentor women motivated to become active in STEM fields.”

Ms. Bowman's research interest focuses on the study of arclogites and using geochemistry to constrain crustal thickness in the Andes through time.

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