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Katelyn Lehman Franco

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Research Assistant

Currently resides in TX
klehmanfranco [at]
Areas of Expertise
Targets: Earth, Moon
Disciplines/Techniques: Field Work, Geochemistry, Geology, Meteoritics, Petrology, Planetary Interiors, Remote sensing, Volcanism
Instruments: Mass spectrometers, X-ray spectrometers

Research Interests

I am an enthusiastic geologist and educator who employs major and trace element geochemistry, isotope geochemistry, and remote sensing to unwrap planetary forming processes and the events that produce volcanic activity. Specifically, I use these tools to constrain the petrogenesis of ancient lava flows and reconstruct the tectonic setting in which the rocks formed. Currently, I am a Ph.D. student at Southern Methodist University under Dr. Rita Economos and Dr. Matt Siegler.  

Professional History

Research Assistant, Lunar and Planetary Institute (P.I. Matt Siegler), January 2022-Current

        • Petrologic modeling to reproduce heat production maps

Research Assistant for Lunar Regolith Project (P.I. Carolyn Crow), August 2019- Current

    • Located and mapped apatite in lunar regolith samples using Fe-SEM with WDS capabilities. 
    • Analyzed Pb isotopes for lunar regolith apatites using SIMS

Graduate Research Fellow, National Science Foundation,June 2016- December 2019

    • Performed original research that focused on major and trace element analyses of volcanic formations, which required extensive scientific writing, organization, problem solving, and project planning
    • Statistical analysis was completed with R and geospatial relationships were analyzed using GIS

Summer Intern, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Summer 2012

Honors and Awards

  • Richards-Goodell Award. Southern Methodist University. 2021
  • University Fellow. Southern Methodist University. 2019-current
  • 1st Place Graduate Student Geology Research Poster. McKracken Science Symposium. 2018
  • Ronald E. McNair Scholar. Ronald E. McNair Program, 2012-2014
  • Leroy Gideon Award for Excellence in Geology. Texas Christian University. 2014
  • TCU Honors Scholar Award. Texas Christian University. 2014
  • McDorman Honors Scholar Award. Texas Christian University. 2014
  • William Scott Award for Commitment to Outreach, Research, and Academics. Texas Christian University. 2013, 2014
  • Stephen E. Dwornik Award. Lunar and Planetary Space Conference. Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation. 2013.

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