Krista Rybacki was an exceptional student in high school and continued the tradition with a 4.0 GPA in her undergraduate years as a geology and geophysics major. Now, as a graduate student in geochemistry and environmental geology and a Chancellor’s Fellow, she is conducting research on soil contamination near a lead recycling smelter for her master’s thesis.
Rybacki appreciates the interdisciplinary nature of her research and believes it improves the quality of her work. “The ability to collaborate with people across several disciplines brings a new perspective to everything I do in my research,” she says.
A native of Nashville, Ill., Rybacki is an active member of the Sigma Gamma Epsilon Earth Science Honor Society, C.L Dake Geological Society and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. In 2012, she was a geoscience policy intern in Washington D.C., received the 2012 O.R. Grawe Award from the Association of Missouri Geologists, and was inducted into the Academy of Mines and Metallurgy as an Academy Scholar.
As an undergraduate, Rybacki also completed an Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences (OURE) project. Her project, an investigation of the flood sediment deposits from the 2005 failure of the Taum Sauk Reservoir, took second place at the 8th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference. “I evaluated the transport properties of the coarse sediment during the flood,” she says. “I studied three point bars to determine possible deposition ideas, which can help decipher how the reservoir broke.”
These days she keeps busy as a graduate teaching assistant. “I look forward to the time I spend every week educating undergraduate students in something that I’m passionate about,” Rybacki says. “I get to be the person educating the next generation of geoscientists and engineers.”
By Arielle Bodine