Geology Student Research

Bartleson-Prather Research Scholarships

In 1998, we received a $10,000 donation from Paul Rady ('78) and Peter Dea ('76) to start a student summer research program. The Bartleson-Prather Fund for Excellence in Geology provides a scholarship and research stipend for students who are between their junior and senior year. The stipend enables students to focus on geologic research for a summer without worrying about finances. This fund has continued to grow since its inception and now has had over $105,000 of donations from 35 different Western geology alumni. 

The scholarships are competitive and are based upon research proposals written by students and reviewed by the geology faculty. Proposals are due in December at the end of the fall semester. When approved, the students have the spring semester to prepare for the summer field season and the following fall to compile needed maps and reports. As these are completed we will publish them on our web site. We encourage students to present the results of their research not only here at Western but at a professional meeting (GSA, AGU).

Research Scholars



  • Tom Jeute (sponsored by Dave Marchetti), Alluvial groundwater aquifers north of Gunnison toward Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, Gunnison County, Colo.
  • Brandon Shuck (sponsored by Rob Fillmore), Sedimentologic analysis of the Pennsylvanian Gothic Formation between Almont and Crested Butte, Colo.
  • Rob White (sponsored by Rob Fillmore), Sedimentology and petrographic analysis of the Pennsylvanian Gothic Formation: north Crested Butte and north Aspen regions, Colo.


  • James Haag (sponsored by Dave Marchetti), Stable isotope ratios of natural waters in the Gunnison Basin, Gunnison, Colo.
  • Jesse Pisel (sponsored by Rob Fillmore), Paleocurrent measurement and analysis of the Pennsylvanian-Permian Maroon Formation in Gunnison, Pitkin, Park and Eagle counties, Colo., to determine the presence of an ancestral Sawatch uplift. Rocky Mountain GSA poster May 2012 
  • Jonathan Tree (sponsored by Allen Stork), Volcanology and emplacement of the 9-mile Hill volcano, Gunnison, Colo. Rocky Mountain GSA poster May 2012 


  • Tyler Patrick (sponsored by Dave Marchetti), Preliminary characterization of the hydrogeology of the Van Tuyl Ranch, Gunnison County, Colo.


  • Andrew Payton (sponsored by Dave Marchetti), The glacial geology of East Beckwith, Gunnison County, Colo.


  • Christopher Dorion (sponsored by Jim Coogan), Gravity field modeling of possible subsurface faults near Jack's Cabin, Gunnison County, Colo.


  • Alex Csar (sponsored by Allen Stork), Interfingering ash flow tuffs comprising Tenderfoot Hill, Gunnison County, Colo. Final Report 
  • Casey Dick (sponsored by Rob Fillmore), Stratigraphic study of the Junction Creek and Entrada Sandstones, Gunnison County, Colo. Rocky Mountain GSA Poster 


  • Keri Nelson (sponsored by Rob Fillmore), The Elk Range Thrust system between Boston Peak and Cement Mountain, Gunnison County, Colo. Final Report 
  • Monica Stoeber (sponsored by Rob Fillmore), The composition of modern Gunnison River Basin gravels, Gunnison County, Colo. Final Report 
  • Andrew Wood (sponsored by Allen Stork), Petrologic study of Miocene lava flows on Flat Top Mountain, Gunnison County, Colo.


  • Jeff Jackson (sponsored by Allen Stork), Ash Stratigraphy in the Cochetopa Caldera Moat, Cochetopa Park, Saguache County, Colo. Final Report 


  • Drew Lockman (sponsored by Robert Fillmore), The Elk Mountain Thrust on Double Top and Cement Mountains, Gunnison County, Colo.


  • Ryan Murphy (sponsored by Allen Stork), Mid Tertiary Intrusive of the West Elk Mountains, Gunnison County, Colo. Abstract for GSA Denver Oct. 2000 - Final Report 
  • Rebecca Thompson (sponsored by Robert Fillmore), Eocene Telluride Conglomerate of the San Juan Mountains, Southwest Colorado.


  • Rebecca Bailey (sponsored by Robert Fillmore), Depositional Environment of and Provenance of the Eocene (?) Telluride Conglomerate.
  • Brian Coven (sponsored by Kurt Panter and Allen Stork), Absolute Age and Petrographic Analysis of the Inception of the West Elk Volcanic Field, Gunnison County, Colo. Abstract for GSA Denver Oct. 1999 - Final Report 

Thornton Research Projects

Geology students can also participate in the Thornton Biology Research Grants program through collaborative projects. This program funds biologically oriented research at Western Colorado University and is made possible by a generous bequest from Mrs. Jessie Thornton and her husband, former Colorado Governor Dan Thornton. Student Research Scholarships of up to $2,000 per year are awarded to students participating in research with Western faculty.