Profile: Calista Guthrie
Stone County native Calista Guthrie says she always was the "outdoorsy type." The daughter of a forester, Guthrie developed an appreciation for nature early in life.
But it was during her time at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where Guthrie completed her freshman and sophomore years before transferring to MSU, that a physics teacher and faculty adviser suggested her environmental interests and strengths in the sciences might make geology a good major for the honors student.
"I have loved every science course I have ever taken," Guthrie says.
After completing her bachelor's degree in geosciences with a concentration in professional geology, Guthrie decided to stay at the university, going straight into her master's program this semester. She began working in the Biogeochemistry and Geoscience Education Research Group laboratory as a NOAA intern and undergraduate worker her junior year. A recipient of multiple scholarships and awards, she continues graduate research in the lab, studying the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill and its impact on Gulf Coast salt marshes. Her project looks at oxygen and hydrogen sulfide levels in marsh sediments, as well as the microbial community at contaminated sites.
Guthrie has presented research at several national conferences, including the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists, Geological Society of America, and as recently as this month, in San Francisco at the American Geophysical Union.
Her studies also have taken her to Montana, where she gained geologic mapping skills, and to San Salvador Island, Bahamas, where she studied karst geology.
Her college years have definitely had their ups, but also downs, like in April 2010, when the apartment Guthrie shared with her cousin burned. Guthrie said that despite the hardship, her MSU family was there to lend support.
"This department took such good care of me. Everyone wanted to help," she says. "It was easy to say I would stay here for the master's program."
Guthrie says she doesn't know what direction her career path may lead, but she's interested in working with people to promote environmental awareness.
"The reason I chose to study geosciences, Earth sciences, is because I want to take care of this amazing planet God has given us. In the future, I want to be involved in raising environmental awareness so that we as a society will live conscientiously."
Next week … Gary Packwood !