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Student Awards

The Desert Symposium has two student awards: Adams Prize and Reynolds Award

Bob and Bobbe Adams Best Student Presentation Prize
Bob and Bobbe Adams helped found the Mojave Desert Quaternary Research Conference that has evolved into the Desert Symposium. Bob and Bobbe's influence continues through the scholarship they established for the best student paper presented at each year's symposium. Bobbe donated her husband's geologic field notes, maps, and photographs to the Mojave River Valley Museum in Barstow, where they are available for research.

Guidelines for the Adams Prize: First and foremost: Sound scientific research. After that, importance of the work, coherent story, good and readable graphics, knowledge of the broader field and previous work, poise at the podium or poster, ability to answer questions. Adams Prize will be judged and awarded at the meeting.

Robert E. Reynolds Desert Symposium Student Research Award

Bob Reynolds was the driving force behind the Desert Symposium for over 30 years. Beginning even before Bob Adams's 1989 gathering (see Jefferson and Budinger paper on our Publications page), Bob was organizing field trips, directing large fossil excavations, exploring for minerals, and mentoring anyone interested in the Mojave. He inspired students and PhDs to become desert rats, many of whom are still with the Desert Symposium today. In the early days, he singlehandedly solicited contributors, organized the meeting, and ran the field trip. Bob had a gift for finding interesting projects and motivating people to work on them.

This award is to acknowledge, honor and thank Bob for his decades of service. His leadership and many scientific accomplishments (e.g., Reynoldsite) are unparalleled. We are honored to have known and worked with Bob.


Bob Reynolds, biostratigrapher and field trip warrior

The Reynolds Award is a grant for a period of one year ($2,000). Students receiving the award are required to attend the meeting the following year and give a paper on their research. The application materials are found below.

Reynolds Award Application (PDF)
Robert E. Reynolds Award FAQ (PDF)

Proposal and faculty recommendation letter deadline: March 1, 2024


Student Winners:


Adams Award: Isabella Welch, "Structure and stratigraphy of the Barstow Formation adjacent to the Waterloo silver deposit in the Calico Mountains, Mojave Desert, CA"

Reynolds Award: Pryce Millikin, "From diapause to distribution: Climate change's effect on Yucca Moths and their mutualism with Joshua Trees."


Reynolds Award: Krishangi Groover, Selenium oxidation and partitioning in a cattail wetland following a controlled burn event.


Reynolds Award: Kimberley Schaefer, A Vascular Flora of the Sacatar Trail Wilderness


Reynolds Award: Rachel Surprenant, Ediacaran test tubes: constraining the taxonomy of Ediacaran nonmineralized tubular taxa to elucidate Earth's earliest experiments in multicellularity.


Reynolds Award: Cali Trammell, Basin Analysis of the Eocene Goler Formation, Mojave Desert, California.


Adams Prize: Kevin Rafferty, A mid-Cretaceous snapshot of retroarc shortening in the southern Sevier foreland fold-thrust belt, Bird Springs Range, Nevada, (with M.L. Wells and T.D. Craig)

Reynolds Award: Carolyn Mills, A Vascular Flora of the Nopah Range, Inyo County, CA


Adams Prize: Bian Wang, 1st Place, Ecological diversity of mammalian faunas of the Mojave Desert and the Great Plains, in relation to landscape history (with Catherine Badgley)

Adams Prize: Jenna Norris, 2nd Place, How long can desert tortoises, Gopherus agassizii , hide in their burrows from climate change? (with Jeffrey E. Lovich, Rafael A. Lara-Resendiz and Shellie R. Puffer)


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