Jane Wadhams & Jeremy Owens

Questions for the student:

Where are you from?

"Jacksonville, Florida."

In a few sentences tell us about your Honors in the Major project! How would you describe it to someone not in your academic field?

"Our project focused on an ancient climate event that occurred 56 million years ago called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (quite a mouthful!). During this time, massive amounts of greenhouse gases were rapidly released and led to global temperatures increasing several degrees. When the Earth warms so severely so quickly, there are lots of resultant changes in Earth System conditions including ocean acidification, hydrologic cycle changes, and permafrost loss. An additional effect is that the ocean cannot hold as much dissolved oxygen and there is more area on the seafloor without oxygen. For this project we used thallium isotopes to constrain the timing of this loss of marine oxygen over this rapid climate event."

How did you choose your mentor, and what do you recommend students interested in starting an HITM project look for in a mentor?

"Dr. Owens taught a class I took my sophomore year and his love for Earth Science was so apparent and contagious that I couldn’t help but get excited about it too. I dropped by his office one afternoon and asked if he had any research projects available and this led to the HITM project and ultimately the paper we are working to publish. I’d recommend looking for a professor who inspires you and has a compatible personality and work style. If possible, it may be beneficial to volunteer with your potential advisor a semester before the project begins to ensure you work well with them and will remain invested in their research area."

What are your plans after you graduate from FSU?

"As it turns out I loved working with Dr. Owens so much that I decided to stay on and complete a masters project with him."

Image of Dr. Jeremy Owens, Thesis Director for Honors in the Major student, Jane Wadhams. Professor has long brown hair and beard, is smiling. He is wearing a black short-sleeved shirt and arms are folded. He is standing next to photo display of geological finds (rocks, mountains, landscapes.)

Jeremy Owens, Ph.D.


Thesis Director


Questions for the mentor:

What motivates or inspires you to mentor undergraduate students?

"It is always inspiring to have the enthusiasm and joy from students as it is infectious for everyone. It is always amazing to witness the exponential growth of a student over a year or a particular project as they push their boundaries and comfort zone to learn new aspects. But my favorite aspect is when a mentee starts to interpret their data and realizes that they have come up with something new which means they might be the first person to ever have data to support such a hypothesis – always an amazing time."

What do you think characterizes a good mentoring relationship between student and honors thesis mentor?

"Good communication, mutual respect, hard work, and a good attitude from all make this project highly successful and more fun. It is always stressful for everyone but it can also be a fun experience if the right perspective and expectations are put in place. There are always obstacles and unexpected hurdles but that is part of the learning process and usually becomes the most interesting aspect of the project. It is always fun but a challenge which is what makes it so special."



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