Post-baccalaureate Research Assistant
B.S. in Geology, University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Las Vegas, NV (2013-2016, magna cum laude)
As an aspiring planetary scientist who is constantly discovering new subfields of space studies, Dara’s research interests are broadening daily. Based on undergraduate and post-baccalaureate research experience, she has a strong interest in meteorite petrology and chemistry and planetary geology. Thanks to senior year research focused on the petrogenesis of martian poikilitic shergottites, she was introduced to the study of differentiated meteorites to decipher the magmatic processes that formed them. She is also interested in studying chondrites to better understand the origin, age, and conditions of the early Solar System as well as the secondary processes that affected their asteroid parent bodies. In addition to meteoritics, the use of remote sensing to determine chemical and physical weathering processes occurring on planetary surfaces is another avenue she hopes to pursue. She is familiar with using microscopy, SEM/EDS, in-situ Mars rover data, ArcGIS, and computer programming to conduct research. In the long run, Dara intends to earn a PhD in the planetary sciences and welcomes the opportunity to work with physical samples, orbiter data, and in-situ rover data during graduate school to expand her knowledge of the field. For a more detailed description of Dara’s academic achievements and research experience, please see her CV.
Aside from planetary science research, Dara has a passion for science communication, education, and outreach. Knowing that a critical part of a scientist’s job is to make complex information clear, accessible, and relatable to the public, she hopes to utilize her background in theater to help accomplish this during her graduate studies and future career.
Research experience (Internship):
NASA Planetary Geology and Geophysics Undergraduate Program
Louisiana State University; Dr. Suniti Karunatillake
Project: Halogen signatures in Gale, Gusev, and Meridiani Soils: Evidence for surface-atmosphere interactions (see PGGURP_Abstract)
Geomorphology Lab Assistant
Rahib, R. R., Laczniak, D. L., Combs, L. M., Udry, A. (2017) Insight into the martian interior using quantitative textural analyses of poikilitic shergottites. 12th Annual UNLV Geoscience Geosymposium (Las Vegas, NV; April 2017)
Laczniak D. L., Combs L., Rahib R. R., and Udry A. (2016) Textural Analysis of Enriched Poikilitic Shergottites, Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 48, n. 7, p. 227 (Denver, CO; September 2016). See abstract here.
Blazzard K., Grove S., and Laczniak D. L. (2016). Human-induced seismicity in Oklahoma: An illustration of the relation between seismicity and injection wells and an analysis of infrastructure risk. 11th Annual UNLV Geoscience Geosymposium (Las Vegas, NV; April 2016). Received invitation to present at AEG Southern Nevada Section meeting
Laczniak D., Buck B. J., and Metcalf R. V. (2015) Evaluating Naturally Occurring Asbestos in Desert Pavements from Las Vegas and Ivanpah Valleys. 1st Annual OUR-UNLV Fall Undergraduate Student Research Showcase (Las Vegas, NV; October 2015)