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Geologist Carol Frost Receives UW's Humphrey Award


April 18, 2008 — Professor Carol Frost, internationally recognized for her fundamental work in isotope geology and widely praised as a gifted teacher and mentor, is the recipient of the University of Wyoming's George Duke Humphrey Distinguished Faculty Award.

The Humphrey Award, named for UW's 13th president who served from 1945-1964, recognizes teaching effectiveness, distinction in scholarly work and distinguished service to the university and state.

After receiving her Ph.D. in earth sciences at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom, Frost joined the Department of Geology and Geophysics in 1983. Shortly after her arrival at UW, she began to build the UW isotope geology laboratory, which has evolved into a world-class facility that has played a key role in a variety of research projects based in Wyoming, the western U.S., and various foreign localities including the Caribbean, New Zealand, and Norway.

Frost's published research record is extensive, with more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals or books. Many of these publications have appeared in internationally recognized journals of the highest scientific standard. Her scholarly work varies from the origins of the Wind River and Teton ranges to the geochemistry of coalbed methane water.

Calvin Barnes, a geology professor at Texas Tech University, describes Frost as "an acknowledged international expert on the origin of granites, development and evolution of Precambrian crust, and the geochemistry of sedimentary rocks."

"She has used her particular research specialty, isotope geochemistry, to resolve many important, controversial geological problems," he says. "Her work has provided crucial data and insight into the processes and formation and modification of the Earth's ancient crust."

Recognized by colleagues as a lucid and enthusiastic speaker in the classroom, Frost has taught undergraduate and graduate students in courses ranging from introductory physical geology to advanced courses in geochemistry and isotope geology, and has served on many departmental and university committees.

The University of Wyoming has previously recognized her expertise in the classroom. The College of Arts and Sciences awarded her an Extraordinary Merit in Teaching Award, she received an Ellbogen Meritorious Classroom Teaching Award, and in 2001 she was chosen as the Carnegie Foundation/CASE Wyoming Professor of the Year.

Her student evaluations are filled with comments describing her as a well organized teacher, clear speaker, enthusiastic, thorough lecturer and caring instructor, tough but fair, approachable and friendly.

A former student, Wesleyan University Assistant Professor Phillip Resor, says, "Carol is an excellent teacher, mentor and role model, dedicated to helping her students achieve personal, academic and professional success. She listens to her students' aspirations and encourages them to achieve their very best, an example I am now trying to follow when I advise my own students."

In January, Frost began duties as associate vice president for research and economic development UW. She was interim director of the School of Energy Resources (SER) during academic year 2006-2007. In partnership with the SER's academic coordinator, Professor Andy Hansen, she laid the foundations for the new school, initiating course development and a summer high school energy institute, organizing existing faculty experts to incubate interdisciplinary energy research groups, establishing a matching grant program, and leading a number of outreach activities across the state.

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