UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — As Catherine Hanagan trekked across the rugged landscape of Iceland, lava rock crunching under her feet with each step, one thought constantly ran through her mind.
“Our planet is so amazing,” said Hanagan, a senior studying geosciences in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State.
Hanagan conducted fieldwork last summer around Hekla, a volcano located in southern Iceland, with funding provided by the Rodney A. Erickson Discovery Grant Program.
“Getting grants is a huge part of participating in geosciences research,” Hanagan said. “It’s so important, and it’s wonderful that Penn State is able to give that opportunity to undergraduates.”
The Erickson grant program, named in honor of Penn State's 17th president, supports undergraduate engagement in original research, scholarship and creative work under the direct supervision of a faculty member.
The funding allowed Hanagan to work with Halldor Geirsson, who received his doctorate in geosciences from Penn State in 2014. Hanagan and Geirsson, who is now a professor at the University of Reykjavik, shared the same adviser at Penn State, Peter La Femina, associate professor of geosciences, who introduced the two.