Meet Elizabeth Heiny, Senior Major in Geology

Tell us something about where you grew up.

I grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and I lived on a double-sided cul-de-sac. All of the other families on the cul-de-sac had kids around the same age, and my neighbors are some of my favorite people ever. I have two siblings, but growing up on that street, I ended up with nineteen built-in best friends.

What do you like about the EEPS Dept?

My favorite thing about the EEPS department is the camaraderie. The students in the department are awesome – I’ve made great friends through classes, labs, field trips, and a little friendly competition. The faculty are also top notch. They’re not only passionate about their work, but also committed to helping students find what’s interesting to them. I might be biased, but I think EEPS is the best department on campus.

What’s something you don’t know about or how to do, but would like to learn?

I would love to learn how to grow basil indoors. I love houseplants and have a bunch of them, but I’ve never been able to keep basil alive for more than 3 weeks.

Tell us about your senior research thesis.

For my senior project, I’m working with Dr. Anne Omta. In recent years, there’s been a lot of debate over the best way to describe mortality at the highest trophic level in models of planktonic communities. My first goal was to analyze how redefining this mortality term based on empirical predator-prey relationship affected the model’s stability. With that model, I’m now working on assessing how different fishing strategies alter the system’s stability.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my freetime, I love to cook. My roommate is always supportive of my culinary experiments, and I’ve gotten much more creative with my recipes in the past year. My favorite kitchen appliance is the stand mixer that I found on Craigslist, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

What are you enthused about for your future?

I am really excited to be starting grad school somewhere next year. I’m trying to decide where I’ll go right now, but I’m grateful to be able to spend more time thinking about rocks wherever I choose!