Christine Y. Chen is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program working in Professor David McGee’s Lab for Paleoclimate and Geochronology. She graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University with a bachelor’s degree in geosciences in 2013.
As a geologist fascinated by the incredible history of Earth’s changing climate, Christine aims to reconstruct past changes in Earth’s hydrological cycle. These interests have led her to conduct field research in the desert drylands of the western United States and the central Andes of South America, places where relict shorelines of ancient lakes are remarkably well-preserved. By treating these lake basins and their shoreline features as natural rain gauges embedded in Earth’s landscape, she is working to build a rainfall record that covers time periods long before those captured by modern instruments. Christine hopes that by providing more complete information on what hydrological extremes are possible in these regions, her research will contribute to the intellectual capital that governments and policy-makers have at their disposal when drafting water management policies within the context of anthropogenic climate change.
For this research and its potential, Christine has been named a National Geographic Young Explorer, a Lewis and Clark Field Scholar of the American Philosophical Society, and a Mamont Scholar of the Explorers Club. Apart from research, Christine is also dedicated to teaching, science communication, public engagement, and promoting diversity within her community.