Andrew Slater Memorial Awards

Andrew "Drew" Slater. The US permafrost community honors our colleague Andrew G. Slater (1971–2016). Andrew "Drew" Slater, land modeler extraordinaire, died on 9 September 2016. He was 44 years old.

Drew was a force within the land modeling community. He transformed our capabilities to simulate terrestrial processes and change in cold regions. He was best known for his noteworthy advances in modeling snow, permafrost, and hydrologic processes in Arctic and mountain regions.



2019 Award Winner

David Rey, Colorado School of Mines: As an early career scientist nearing the end of my Ph.D., attending AGU allowed me to highlight my research and develop new professional relationships. The Andrew Slater Memorial award provided essential travel funding that enabled me to plan future collaborative work with existing colleagues and give my first invited AGU presentation. As a scientist who works on topics that require multidisciplinary expertise, attending the AGU conference is always a productive experience. Specifically, it enables me to interface with multiple science communities and gain insight into recent research related to my field of study. The experience of attending the 2019 Fall meeting in San Francisco was an invaluable as I transition from a Ph.D. student to a more independent early career scientist, and I would like to thank the USPA and PYRN communities for making my attendance possible.


2018 Award Winner

Risa Madoff, University of North Dakota: With support from the USPA and PYRN through the Andrew Slater Memorial Award I was able to attend the AGU 2018 annual meeting and give my first oral presentation of research there. Receiving financial support to attend AGU to present research is a privilege for anyone. As an early career, completing my PhD in 2015, attending meetings has become much more difficult, as there are fewer opportunities for funding, yet to remain in research pipelines and on radar screens, attending them is ever more important. This year I discovered the permafrost community through USPA and PYRN and was delighted by the sense of fellowship at the annual business and reception meeting at AGU. Issues of permafrost grow in importance for understanding soil environments in cold regions and their response to climate change and for addressing the practical consequences of their thawing. Studying the response of permafrost as a feature in transitional environments also contributes significantly to modeling landscape evolution and environmental change. In my research I want to investigate the spectrum of transitions and thresholds that occur in sediment and soil at the landform scale to develop a framework for understanding how fundamental geomorphic processes - erosion, sediment transport, soil formation and weathering - respond to climate change. Permafrost regions are a key benchmark in this regard. I think we need to improve parametrizations of mechanical and chemical responses by studying and comparing surface processes and materials in a variety of climates to understand a full spectrum of responses to climate change. Such parameters can be used for landscape evolution modeling through past climate changes, using a space for time substitution approach. They can also be used for predicting threshold boundaries of surface processes at various scales, such as for determining the climatic conditions in various regions that will initiate mass movement. I look forward to being a part of the permafrost community and will be a strong advocate for researchers at all stages to join.


2017 Award Winner

Heidi Rodenhizer, Northern Arizona University: I am working on tracking subsidence at a permafrost warming experiment in Healy, AK and am interested in whether it is possible to track active layer thickness (the depth to permafrost at the end of summer) using various remotely sensed products. This year at AGU, I was able to present a poster quantifying the impact of permafrost warming on subsidence. Because of very fast subsidence at our warming site, we have been underestimating changes in active layer thickness, which means we have been underestimating permafrost thaw. I was able to meet a lot of scientists working on similar permafrost issues and get feedback to help with my future research.