A hammer, a blue ribbon and $3,800—That’s how Sage Muttel proves her research is going well.
Awards and grants
In September, Muttel attended the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Student Expo in Houston, Texas, and was awarded first place for her presentation. She also earned $500 for her research.
“Sage competed against 300 other students from 30 universities, including PhD. students from some of the top geology programs in the country,” Dr. Matt McKay said.
Muttel, a geology graduate student, also wrote and won a grant from AAPG for $3,000. She used the money for travel and to analyze her samples.
“These external awards demonstrate that Sage is conducting powerful research at the highest level, on par with the top students in the country, and the judges thought her work was the best,” McKay said.
Most recently, Muttel was awarded $300 from the Association of Missouri Geologists (AMG) for a presentation she gave at the Missouri Academy of Science. The award came with an engraved hammer. AMG also paid for her to attend the AMG meeting Oct. 11-12.
About her research
Muttel is using the composition and age of individual sand grains made of zircon to determine the erosional source of sand.
“I’m bringing a new way of looking at something to the geology world,” Muttel said. “I’m taking a well-developed method and applying it on sediment that no one really touches because it’s ‘too mixed’ or ‘complicated.’”
Muttel is looking at the Missouri and Mississippi River drainage basin and studying the sediment. She wants to see how the sediment is transported down. She’s essentially going to the source to see why the basin is muddy or clean. This is important to oil exploration.
McKay, her adviser, speaks highly of Muttel and her research.
“Sage is a fierce scientist and an aggressive researcher,” McKay said.
Muttel said McKay, assistant professor of geology, is the reason she chose Missouri State for graduate school. She wanted to have him as a research adviser rather than go to another university on a full ride.
“My adviser is awesome,” Muttel said. “He cares more about what his students can accomplish than what he does. Without him, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Muttel got her bachelor’s in geology with a concentration in petroleum geo-technology from the University of Houston – Downtown.