Image: Science Instructor Rebecca MisslerGrowing up in northern Michigan, Rebecca Missler had always collected rocks and fossils along the shorelines. This eventually led her into geology, but not before briefly sidestepping into the art field. For the last two years of high school she actually attended a career technical school and studied commercial art. She had never planned to attend college or study science but changed her mind after realizing how difficult it was to find a job in commercial art. She enrolled in a small university a few hours upstate from her home and in the first semester changed her major from art to geology because she was so impressed by the introductory geology course and the professor’s passion for the subject. As an undergraduate student she assisted her advisor in picking out microscopic fossils from sediments and identifying them which helped with her acceptance into the graduate program at University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she is currently working towards a master’s degree in geology, with thesis defense planned within the next year. Her research involves collecting Devonian-age rock samples in the Rocky Mountains between Alberta and British Columbia, then transporting them to UAF for analysis. Her research is focused on correlating the rocks in her field area to rock outcrops and boreholes further east. Her team uses different stratigraphic techniques, including litho-, bio-, and sequence stratigraphy, as well as a new stratigraphic technique that addresses the magnetic susceptibility of the samples. Also tested will be her previous research that found a direct relationship between changes in paleo-sea level and the magnetic susceptibility signal in the rock record.

Missler is serving as a STEP Science Instructor in 2008, when the featured topic is Earth Science.