Erin Seagren

Erin Seagren

Meet Erin Seagren! 



1. How did you come to UTM? 

I came to UTM after reading a paper by Dr. Lindsay Schoenbohm on how river patterns can be used to figure out the tectonic history of these huge topographic features, like the Tibetan Plateau. I really liked the idea of using these surficial features to get a better understanding of long-term, deep-seated processes, with the added bonus of getting to do fieldwork in places like NW Argentina, so I applied to do a PhD!


2. When did you realize that you wanted to pursue a graduate study?

I think I realized I wanted to attend graduate school while working on my undergraduate dissertation. I really enjoyed taking seemingly disparate pieces of information (e.g., climate, rock types, seismicity) and weaving them together to tell the story of a landscape. Once I realized you got paid to do that in graduate school, I was sold on it.


3. What are your research interests? Tell us few exciting things about your research.

My thesis work looked at how climate and tectonics affect river patterns and how those changes in river patterns shape landscapes in NW Argentina.  For part of my work, I explored different potential controls on river erosion rates and found a strong relationship between erosion and vegetation patterns. As a geologist working in a very arid region, I was not expecting to see that connection, so I found it really interesting. Additionally, it’s not entirely connected to my research, but on field work I got to see Andean condors and puna flamingos, which I thought was pretty exciting!


4. What is your goal when you finish your degree?

After finishing, I'm hoping to continue scientific research outside of academia.


5. Do you have any advice for students considering to pursue graduate studies in research?

I think first and foremost, even though it’s difficult, it’s important to be forgiving with yourself in graduate school. Sometimes papers are rejected, models don’t work, you don’t get a grant, etc. So much of this is down to luck and not a comment on you or your abilities as a researcher.

Second, I found it really helpful to personalize my research. Is there a new modelling approach, lab technique, data source, or programming language you want to learn? Figure out a way to work it into your studies! It’s much easier to stay motivated when you’re really invested in your research.