Rachel Lauer, PhD, joined the Geoscience Department at the University of Calgary in 2015, after completing her PhD, in Geoscience at the Pennsylvania State University, and a postdoctoral position at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She also holds an undergrad degree in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College and an M.Sc. in Environmental Engineering Geoscience from Radford University. In addition to her academic experience, Rachel has worked as a consultant in applied geophysics on both local and international projects.
Rachel’s research is focused on both terrestrial and submarine geohazards (e.g. earthquakes, landslides) – she firmly believes that geoscience has a significant role to play in understanding and helping to mitigate the risk these natural hazards pose to people. Specifically, she has focused on submarine hydrogeology, or the movement of fluids in the oceanic crust beneath the seafloor, and their role in large scale earthquakes, such as the Tohoku Earthquake in 2011. This work has afforded her the opportunity to do research where few have gone – to the seafloor in Alvin, a deep-water submersible, to a depth of 4500m. Working in such regions gives Rachel a unique insight into the processes that are at play beneath the oceans, as well as giving her a new appreciation for the interconnected nature of geoscience and biology in the ocean crust.
In addition to growing her research program, Rachel is a passionate teacher who is driven to ensure that our undergraduate and graduate students are ready to meet the global challenges that they will have to solve. This passion has seen Rachel involved in creating new courses, providing outside mentorship to students and working diligently as a member of the Geoscience curriculum committee to ensure that we the UofC provides students a future focused experience that will ensure they get jobs when they graduate, but also careers they can grow.
Rachel sees the university as an ecosystem and recognizes the importance of work across niches. To that end she views service as a core component of being a faculty member – it is a way to give back to the university community and ensure the ecosystem remains healthy, she has been fortunate to be on multiple committees at the department, Faculty and university levels.