Early Career Achievement Award

Early Career Achievement Award

The Near-Surface Geophysics Early Career Achievement Award is given annually and recognizes significant contributions to the field of near-surface geophysics by an early career researcher. The award has been given since 2020. Below you can find some information on the outstanding early-career near-surface geophysicists that received this award.

Awardee 2020: Anja Klotzsche (Forschungszentrum Jülich, University of Cologne)

In 2020, Anja Klotzsche was the inaugural winner of the AGU Near-Surface Geophysics Early Career Achievement Award. Anja contributed significantly to the Near Surface Geophysics community by combining theoretical methods development with meticulous and creative applications to a range of geological, hydrogeological, and biogeological problems. She has been on the forefront of developing cross-borehole ground-penetrating radar (GPR) data analysis from ray tracing into full-waveform inversion. Full-waveform inversion offers significantly higher resolution, facilitating a decimeter-scale resolution of the subsurface that opens the door to a range of problems waiting to be solved. Using her developments in this field, Anja addressed questions related to flow in porous media, peatland processes, agricultural monitoring, Mars analogue soils, and more. Anja’s commitment to mentor young scientists is also shown by her co-supervision of 11 Ph.D. students and nine M.S. students. On top of her exceptional collaborations and mentoring, she has been a steady and active contributor to the near-surface geophysics community, within both AGU and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Her impact is a testament to her remarkable ability to solve both theoretical and practical problems and to collaborate productively with investigators from around the globe.

Anja received a PhD from RWTH Aachen in 2013, and is currently a research scientist at the Forschungszentrum Julich, and she holds a professorship in hydrogeophysics at the University of Cologne.

Awardee 2021: Ryan Smith (Missouri University of Science and Technology)

In 2021, Ryan Smith was the winner of the AGU Near-Surface Geophysics Early Career Achievement Award. Ryan’s work is at the intersection of satellite, airborne and ground-based geophysics. It deals with developing new models that can better integrate these datasets to improve understanding of groundwater systems. In particular, Ryan’s work has been instrumental at integrating InSAR data with ground-based and airborne geophysics. Ryan’s work is both fundamental and applied in nature. Ryan has a passion for developing novel scientific methods that better enable the sustainable use of groundwater, including improved monitoring of groundwater use and storage, as well as improved modeling of fluxes into the groundwater system. Its relevance to groundwater availability has led to a number of collaborations with local water agencies and management districts, including in Arizona, Utah, California, Colorado and Mississippi, where this research can help support groundwater sustainability plans. Ryan is also passionate about mentoring young scientists. As an early-career assistant professor, he is mentoring one postdoctoral scholar, three PhD students and three MS students.

Ryan received a PhD from Stanford University in Geophysics in 2018. The same year, he took the role that he has currently as Assistant Professor in Geological Engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Ryan’s research is funded by NASA, NGA, USGS, NIH and NSF. He was awarded the NGA New Investigator Proposal in 2020. As a graduate student, he was awarded the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and the Outstanding Thesis Award from the Geophysics Department at Stanford University. Ryan serves as an Associate Editor for Hydrogeology Journal, and as a Guest Editor for Remote Sensing in Earth Systems Sciences.