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  • Ryan Pollyea

Annie Ray, Making Us Proud!

My faculty career began in August 2012 in the Department of Geology & Environmental Geosciences at Northern Illinois University. Annie Shillaber (now Annie Ray) started her MS degree program that same semester and soon became my first graduate student.


The scary thing about the "first grad student" is that they show up at the very beginning, when we're building our research labs, developing new courses, and generally panic stricken about everything. The awesome thing about "my first grad student" is that she was Annie Shillaber! As a first-year professor, I wasn't sure what kind of project we'd do together and I had no idea how to actually train and mentor a MS student. Nevertheless, we worked together designing a project to simulate a leaking carbon sequestration site. It was a terrific project - Annie installed a network of shallow vadose zone wells, injected food-grade CO2 into the vadose zone, measured CO2 concentrations at various depths, and calculated time varying CO2 gradients. Annie generated truck loads of data, developed a suite of computational tools, and completed a fantastic thesis that used Fourier analysis to analyze CO2 concentration gradients.


Since Annie graduating with her MS in spring 2014, I have watched proudly as her career has taken off (like a rocket!) . She started with an environmental consulting firm, earned her PG license several years later, changed firms, got promoted, and has just recently earned the title of Project Manager at Fehr Graham in Rockford, Illinois.


Annie started out as a superstar and she's only getting brighter! Here in the Computational Geofluids Lab, we're sending a big CONGRATULATIONS to Annie Ray and wishing her much continued success.



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