Meet our Geology Ambassadors

The Geology Ambassadors present the department to prospective students, alumni, and guests.  They also promote Geology at campus events.  If you would like to meet with an ambassador, email

Brian D'Souza

Curriculum Concentration: Geophysics
Bio & Career Goals:  Brian transferred to University of Illinois in Fall 2019 and is pairing his Geophysics major with English via dual degree. This summer he rode across the country to fight against cancer as part of Illini 4000’s Bike America team. Now he is pursuing research with Professor Anders studying predictive models for the glaciers of Washington’s Olympic National Park. Brian hopes to join the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) Commissioned Officer Corps after graduating and is excited about how the Geology department can prepare him for such a role.

Lily Lucas

Curriculum Concentration: Geophysics
Bio & Career Goals: Lily is from Plymouth, Michigan in metro-Detroit and is a major in Geology with a specialty in Geophysics. She plays for the University of Illinois Women’s Soccer Team and when she is not playing soccer or studying, Lily loves to go on hiking trips and try to find some cool rocks. Lily is currently working with Prof. Trish Gregg on a project studying subglacial volcanoes - specifically Westdahl in Alaska! As of now, she would like to be a professor. Lily enjoys talking about volcanoes and rocks with fellow Illini and prospective students!

Chloe Marks

Curriculum Concentration: Specialized Geology
Bio & Career Goals: Chloe transferred to Illinois in Spring 2020 from the University of the Pacific in Northern California. She loves all aspects of geology, and currently conducts research on reaction-based solutions for carbon sequestration and climate change. Chloe thinks climate and social justice are really important and hopes to continue to incorporate those aspects in her studies. She also loves field work and, in the future, would like to work on constructing geologic maps. In her free time, Chloe enjoys reading, making art, and spending time with her cats!

Sam Neumann

Curriculum Concentration: Specialized Geology
Bio & Career Goals: Sam Neumann is a sophomore in Geology from Wheaton, Illinois. He is interested in studying tectonic plates and orogenies in the future. Sam loves to read, listen to music, and he also plays the trombone as a member of the Marching Illini. Sam hopes to become a geoscientist and be a field researcher.


Dominik Rzeszutek

Curriculum Concentration: Geophysics
Bio & Career Goals:  Dominik is an undergraduate Geology major who is interested in Planetary Geology and Volcanology. He enjoys spending his time listening to indie-rock and being outdoors! Dominik is also the Treasurer of GeoClub and loves having a great time with everyone at the hikes. Ultimately, Dominik aims to one day be a researcher in the field and hopefully an astronaut! Feel free to reach out if you have any similar interests or goals!

KeMia Smith

Curriculum Concentration: Geology Science and Letters
Bio & Career Goals:  KeMia is an undergraduate from Kankakee, IL studying Geology with a minor in Chemistry. She has an interest in geochemistry and environmental geology. She currently conducts research in the Lundstrom lab and hopes to attend graduate school. In her free-time she loves collecting and studying crystals and maps. She hopes to one day travel and study how society can better use Earth’s resources.

Valerie Smykalov

Curriculum Concentration: Specialized Geology
Bio & Career Goals:  Valerie is a junior in Geology. She is working on research at the Illinois State Water Survey - where she does hydrological modeling, Illinois State Geologic Survey - where she analyzes rock samples for trace rare earth elements, as well as research on strontium fractionation with Professor Lundstrom in our department. She loves doing anything that requires hiking shoes, listening to podcasts, and sewing clothes!

Hayley Woodrich

Curriculum Concentration: Specialized Geology
Bio & Career Goals: Hayley is a returning undergraduate studying Geology. She holds two previous B.A. degrees from the University of Illinois in Political Science and Communication. Hayley has an interest in conducting research around geological disasters, such as volcanoes, and translating this knowledge to advocacy work for communities at risk. In her free time, Hayley enjoys sewing, working out, and playing video games!