Wiess School of Natural Sciences
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Biochemistry & Cell Biology
Earth Science
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Physics & Astronomy

Emilia Koivisto

Graduate Student
Earth Science

Koivisto photoEmilia Koivisto came to Rice in the Fall of 2005 on a Fulbright Scholarship. She recounts her journey: “In 2004, I got a Fulbright grant to start my studies in the U.S. I knew about the impressive research that Professor Alan Levander and his colleagues do at Rice (I had heard about the BOLIVAR project), and I emailed him asking about the opportunities here. I was excited about the idea of a rather small university with well-known professors and a lot of classes to offer. I had done my Master’s in the field of seismology and at the time was thinking to continue with it. But when I came to Rice I was struck by the diversity of research opportunities. I began to realize that there was so much more out there than what had been introduced to me back home. Excited about all the new things I was learning, I started a little class-related project with Professor Gordon and somehow got totally caught up with global tectonics and paleomagnetism.”

Emilia quickly joined Dr. Gordon in conducting further research. “A fundamental problem of global tectonics and paleomagnetism is determining what part of apparent polar wander is due to plate motion and what part is due to true polar wander. One approach for separating these is available if the hotspots are tracking the motion of the mantle beneath the asthenosphere. To make progress on these questions and assumptions, high-quality paleomagnetic poles for the Pacific plate are needed, as well as estimates of Pacific plate motion relative to the hotspots and the uncertainties in such motion. My main research project focuses on addressing these questions,” says Emilia.

She is thrilled with her selection of Rice. What surprises her most? “The diversity such a little University has to offer!! Also the way professors work together in various projects is impressive. Especially in Earth Science, I think the cooperation between experts from different specific fields is crucial,” she adds.

When not conducting research, Emilia enjoys playing piano, reading, exploring Rice Village or the Galveston beaches and seeking out salsa dancing opportunities.  A native of Helsinki, Finland, Emilia holds a Master of Science in Geophysics from the University of Helsinki. She hopes to return to Finland and possibly become a professor one day in the future.

Emilia’s Favorite Websites: