GSA Foundation

El-Baz GSA Student Research Award - 2014

won by Ms. Elizabeth Rozar and Mr. Abdel Mawgoud Mohammed


Elizabeth Rozar


Boise State University


For her study, “Modeling structural controls of antecedent topography and their effect on antecedent boundary conditions at Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Kane County, Utah.


Abdel Mawgoud Mohammed


Western Michigan University


For his study, “Hydrochemical Characteristics and Potential Tectonic Influences on Groundwater Quality of the Continental-Scale Nubian Sandstone Aquifer System (NSAS).

GSA Student Award named for professor Farouk El-Baz


farouksmThe Geological Society of America (GSA) Foundation has established the “Farouk El-Baz Student Award” to encourage and promote desert research in the broadest sense. “Deserts have received far less attention than other types of landforms in geological studies. This award will encourage more students to pursue investigations of arid lands, which constitute over one-third of the land surface of our planet,” said El-Baz.


The award fund of $100,000.00 was generously provided by the Qatar Foundation as an endowment. It will be considered principal and only income will be disbursed as awards; the GSA Foundation will accept and acknowledge additional contributions to the fund. Up to 2 students will be awarded an honorarium each, based on a proposal for arid land research and a recommendation by an advisor. Recipients will be selected from a special Committee appointed by the GSA International Division.


In 1999, the GSA Foundation established the “Farouk El-Baz Award for Desert Research,” to award excellence in arid land studies. An annual distribution of $10,000.00 has been awarded to leading experts in desert research from the international scientific community. The new award is designed to encourage students to enter the field of desert study.


The Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a private, chartered, non-profit organization. It was founded in 1995 by the Emir of the State of Qatar to develop centers for progressive education, research and community welfare. It is chaired by H.H. Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, consort of the Emir of Qatar.


The Geological Society of America is a non-profit, professional organization with over 20,000 members in 85 countries. Among its aims is the promotion of the geosciences in the service of humanity. Its awards are managed by the GSA Foundation at 330 Penrose Place, Boulder, CO 80301, U.S.A.


Dr. El-Baz, a veteran of NASA’s Apollo program, is Research Professor and Director of the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing. He is renowned for pioneering research in the applications of satellite images to study deserts worldwide, with emphasis on the location of groundwater resources. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and serves on its committee to identify “Grand Challenges for Engineering” in the next century.

goldsteelearthglobe1 More info about the Farouk Student Award

Student Research Award


El-Baz GSA Student Research Award - 2013

won by Ms. Michal Ben-Israel and Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim El-shenawy


Michal Ben-Israel


Hebrew University of Jerusalem


For "Tracing Saharan dust in Negev desert loess sequences and implications for global dust provenance studies"


Mohammed Ibrahim El-shenawy


McMaster University


For "Paleoclimate reconstruction of the Northeast Sahara based on speleothems from Sannur Cave, Egypt"

El-Baz GSA Student Research Award - 2012

won by Ethan G. Hyland and Omer Yetemen


Ethan G. Hyland


University of Michigan


For "Assessing spatial variability and calibrating paleosol moisture proxies in dry environments"


Omer Yetemen


University of Washington


For "Modeling the Role of Solar Radiation on Catchment Development in Semi-arid Ecosystems"

El-Baz GSA Student Research Award - 2011

won by Jessica R. Norman and Ahmed El-Sayed Gaber



Jessica R. Norman


University of South Florida


For “The role of biogenic versus lithogenic carbon in pedogenic carbonate formation.”



Ahmed El-Sayed Gaber


Tohoku University


for “Assessing the natural resources at some localities in Egypt by using the optical / microwave remote sensing and 3D GPR.”

El-Baz GSA Student Research Award - 2010

won by Justine R. Cullen and Stefan Thomas Knopp



Justine R. Cullen


University of the Fraser Valley


For “Determining an optimal protocol for optically-stimulated luminescence of sand dunes in the drylands of central Canada.”



Stefan Thomas Knopp


University of Calgary


For “Near-surface diagenetic processes and their implication for landscape evolution in desert environments: an example from the late Jurassic to early Cretaceous of the western interior U.S.A.”

El-Baz GSA Student Research Award - 2009

won by Christopher J. Hein and Sarah W. Keenan




Christopher J. Hein


Boston University


For “Sea Level Changes and the Regressive Wadi Infilling of a Pharaonic Harbor.”



Sarah W. Keenan


University of Bristol


For “Rare earth elements and rates of fossilization in dinosaur bones from various depositional environments of the late Cretaceous of Montana.”

El-Baz GSA Student Research Award - 2008

won by Alexander Rohrmann and Amanda Williams

WilliamsStudentAward1Amanda J. Williams, a Geoscience Ph.D. student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, has won the GSA Student Award for her work on Biological Soil Crusts in the Mojave: (An interdisciplinary approach to develop a predictive model) Her dissertation research will identify environmental factors controlling biological soil crusts within the Mojave Desert and attempt to model their distribution effectively. She will employ a novel, interdisciplinary approach (combining biology, ecology, soil science, hydrology, statistics, chemistry, geomorphology, GIS, and remote sensing) to investigate and model a complex, natural system. This work will examine the ecology of primitive organisms under extreme conditions and will have implications for understanding basic requirements of life. Furthermore, her research will help unravel the complex feedback systems involving biological soil crusts, soils, geomorphology, and land stability.

Rohrmann1Alexander Rohrmann, a Geosciences student from the University of Arizona, is the recipient of the first Farouk El-Baz Student Research Award from the Geological Society of America, to encourage and promote desert research.


GSA presented him with an award check, a certificate, and a ribbon at the GSA Annual Meeting in Houston.

more info and comments

GSA and GSAF leadership responses:

Former GSA President - Stephen G. Wells


"The Geological Society of America is very excited about this new award and the scientific contributions to desert science it will support," said Dr. Stephen G. Wells, GSA President and President of the Desert Research Institute, Nevada System of Higher Education. "We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the Qatar Foundation and for the leadership of its chair, H.H. Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned. We are also very appreciative of the remarkable efforts of Dr. El-Baz, a trustee of the Geological Society of America Foundation, in advancing and promoting desert research by GSA members."

Former GSAF Chair - Robert D. Hatcher, Jr.


Robert D. Hatcher, Jr. described Dr. El Baz as, "An internationally known geoscientist whose goal is to better understand desert landforms and the processes that create them.  Besides being an outstanding scientist, Dr. El Baz is a person of great integrity, and this endowment from the Qatar Foundation is a symbol of both his scientific prowess and a desire to return some of his success to his professional community.  I cannot think of a better way to honor him and his professional accomplishments than through an endowment that will encourage future generations of students to enter geoscience careers in desert research." (800) 472-1988 x 1054GSAF - P.O. Box 9140 - Boulder, CO 80301

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