Mr. President, members of the society, and guests,

It is a tremendous honor for me to receive the MSA award. I am both humbled and inspired by it. Looking back, there are many people who have helped me along the way. But in the interest of not diminishing their importance, I would like to just mention four. These are my principal scientific mentors.

Still very wet behind the ears with a geological sciences B.S. in hand, starting graduate school in Bob Bodnar’s lab at Virginia Tech was a real eye-opener. Among many other things, he exposed me to a wide...

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