Brandon Schmandt
University of New Mexico Assistant Professor Brandon Schmandt conducting research at the Grand Canyon.

Brandon Schmandt, an assistant professor in the University of New Mexico’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, earned the Young Scientist Award (Donath Medal) for Outstanding Achievement presented by The Geological Society of America (GSA).

“I am honored to receive an award from GSA because the main motivation for my research in seismology is to address geologic problems,” Schmandt said.

Schmandt received the award at the 2015 GSA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Baltimore, Md. recently. He was nominated bv Professor Karl Karlstrom, a colleague in the UNM Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Karlstrom said of Schmandt: he cites "demonstrated technical innovations, keen intellectual curiosity, drive and energy to produce at the highest levels, dedication to the new ethic of open access of data, and a gift for cross disciplinary collaboration and public outreach, all with a sense of humility," as the qualities that embody this outstanding young scientist.

Schmandt’s research interests are rooted in observational seismology, with a primary focus on resolving Earth’s seismic properties to gain insight into the evolving structure of tectonic plates and the convective processes that occur beneath the plates. He integrates seismology and geology to understand mantle dynamics, continental evolution, and volcanic systems.

The Young Scientist Award was established by GSA in 1988 to be awarded to a young scientist (35 or younger throughout the year in which the award is to be presented) for outstanding achievement in contributing to geologic knowledge through original research that marks a major advance in the earth sciences. The award, consisting of a gold medal called the Donath Medal and an honorarium, was endowed by Dr. and Mrs. Fred A. Donath.

Schmandt earned his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon (2011) and Postdoc at the Caltech Seismo Lab (2011-12).